It must be a southern hemisphere thing, but in dark rooms I have the level up high, so I can see the screen. In bright rooms or outside it's at its minimum setting.
And yet, going by everyone's posts above, you guys do the opposite...
As for battery life, I've had mine for a week now. I charged it initially. I'm waiting to see how long it can go for before it needs charging. Otherwise, after that I may leave it on max brightness and plug it into the beside charger when not using it.