Slimbook Pro2 battery replacement - It's alive, it's alive!

Updated: August 17, 2023

Believe or not, but until a few days ago, I have never had a need to open a laptop case. It's not that I'm clueless. I've done all sorts of hardware assembly and part replacements in all manner of devices, including desktops and cars and whatnot. It's just that I never had to really do anything with any laptop before. So far, my gadgets had served me faithfully until the last moment of their usage.

However, about a month ago, my Pro2 battery started inflating, prompting me to power off the machine immediately, and buy myself a new laptop. The end result of that adventure is the glorious Executive, which is now my primary productivity device. However, that leaves the Pro2 unaccounted for. And if you look at its spec, eighth-gen i5, 16 GB of RAM, 500GB SSD, this is more than useful for any practical purpose. It would be silly to abandon a laptop that is only five years old. A good machine ought to last a decade. So I decided to replace the battery, and see if I could make it work again.

Teaser

The Slimbook team sent me a free replacement!

To make the whole misfortune of an inflated battery less unfortunate, the Slimbook team decided to surprise me and send me a brand new battery pack along with the Executive. This is splendid, because we're talking roughly 150 Euros worth of kit. This also meant I couldn't not attempt to replace the battery.

How did it go?

Extremely smoothly, I must say. I did watch a ProX battery replacement tutorial (by Slimbook) on Youtube, a first time I ever found a video tutorial handy, plus a bunch of you also emailed me suggestions and recommendations on how to approach this wee surgery. So I knew what to expect.

I used a magnetic-head Phillips 0-size screwdriver to open the case. All of the screws came out without any issues. The back cover did take a bit of "force" popping out. Underneath, there was a spotless laptop, with not a grain of dust. I was amazed actually. I had run the Slimbook quite a bit outside and on the road, but I guess the correct airflow and a properly-sealed case did the magic.

Case open

Next, the battery. I worked carefully, gently loosening the screws. There was a bit of tension, because of the inflated pack. Then, I inserted the new unit in, plugged the connector, and followed a reverse process until the case was closed shut again.

Now, the big moment. I powered the laptop (I know most batteries will not work until they receive the first electric reset from the mains), and it started just fine. No weird signals or beeping in BIOS, no overheating. The case is still a bit warped, but once the naughty battery has been removed, some of the warpage is gone. You can't really see the uneven gap from the front anymore. Not bad, not bad.

Side by side

The old and the new, side by side. The Pro2 is charging, just before being repurposed, whaaat.

Re-slimming the Slimbook

Well, I had the Pro2 up and running, but now that I've made an almost identical work setup copy with the Executive, I didn't really need it anymore. So I decided to repurpose it. In fact, my wife expressed an interest in using a Plasma desktop, for good.

She ain't a typical Windows user, mind. She's done a Linux system administration course for fun some fifteen years ago, and she's used her fair share of distros, ranging from openSUSE to CentOS to Ubuntu and flavors. Even now, she frequently uses a Kubuntu 22.04 virtual machine. Now that we have a spare machine, idling about, I decided to wipe the disk clear and reinstall Kubuntu, complete with encrypted LVM.

This was a trivial 10-minute process, and at the end of it, the Slimbook Pro2 was purring, nice and ready, as though nothing had happened. In fact, apart from mild scuffing on the case edges, you can't really say this is a five-year-old machine. It runs great, it's fast and capable, and the ergonomics are excellent. With a new battery, it has a fresh lease of life, and I bet at least five more years.

Pro2 ready

Speaking of the battery ...

Before the reinstallation, I charged the battery to the max. The counter stopped at 98%, and the battery showed 93% health, at least according to Plasma. After the reinstallation, the battery indicator in Plasma has reset itself, and now shows drainage and percentage as it should. I guess the unit needed one complete charge cycle, and a subsequent reset to begin working "correctly". I don't remembered what happened the last time I changed a laptop battery, though, as that was a removable unit, and years ago. Remaining time wise, the numbers are similar to what the Pro2 reported early on back in 2018, 2019. With lightweight usage, you can probably get around 5 hours of juice.

Battery before reinstall

Battery, after reinstall

Conclusion

This was a most happy exercise. One, I got to dabble in something I've not done before. Successfully. Two, I learned that the Slimbooks offer a reasonable deal of flexibility and modularity when it comes to hardware replacements, which is excellent. Hint, the small 500GB disk can easily be replaced, for instance. Three, the whole thing was quick and painless. Four, the Slimbook Pro2 is now fresh and youthful, just like when I bought it. Fifth, if anything, this exercise vindicates my choice to go with the Spanish laptop maker. Sixth, now that this powerful laptop is back in the game, it also serves a new purpose, and that's daily usage in the hands of a non-hardcore Linux user, ergo someone from the normies rank who loves Plasma for its beauty, precision and finesse.

So, a great day by all measures. The Pro2 does not need to be sent to the great electronics refill as all too often happens with modern hardware. The battery replacement also proves my point that there's no reason to discard perfectly usable gear just because "it's old" and companies want to make a quick buck. Nope. I still have the old guard of laptops, some now in their fourteenth year, and working well. They might not be pretty or ultra-fast, but they are usable. There's no need to waste money on pointless hardware upgrades. That ship has sailed around 2010-2011, and since the desktops and the laptops are more or less the same. Well, we're done. Thanks to everyone who chimed in and tried to help. Now, off I go writing about something else ...

Cheers.