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My laptop is slow and unresponsive when running in battery; it works fawless when connected to ac power. In the past I used to have tlp/laptopmode-tools but since Linux 3.x I have uninstalled both. Battery last long but usability is poor. This is happening on a dell xps 13 with ivybridge CPU and Archlinux x64 with either stock kernel or ck kernel, gnome shell.

Is there anything I can tweak in order to get better performance/responsiveness on battery (I'm willing to loose some battery life).

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You might want to have a look in energy-saving mode, as it can affect your performance while running on battery.

Unfortunately i can't give you an exact place to have a look, but from my experience i know that some ridiculous settings could be found on laptops with Windows.

For example: your system might have set-up a time that it turns off your hard drive to save energy and each time you change a folder it has to start spinning again, what causes a lag. This is of course only if you have a HDD hard drive.

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The first thing that comes to mind is to check the available BIOS/UEFI energy options. My Lenovo laptop's BIOS allows to select High-Performance/Balanced/Energy-Saving modes for both AC and battery power modes which impact CPU-frequency.

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