Wondering Why the New Macbook Pro's Seem to Offer Less Battery Life?
"Now that the news about the new MacBook Pros is out there, one thing that may disappoint someone just reading the spec sheet is battery life. Across the board, the Pro is now rated at 7 hours. While still very solid, this is actually a step down from the previous versions which were rated at 8 to 9 hours for the 15 and 17-inch models, and 10 hours for the 13-inch model. So what gives?"
When I was looking at the battery life on the new Macbook Pros, I noticed something curious: they're all listed as "up to 7 hours". I couldn't recall what the exact battery life specs were for the previous Macbook Pros, but I knew it varied from model to model. As the above text shows, Apple had quoted the battery life on previous Macbooks from 8 to 10 hours. Sandy Bridge processors are supposed to be even more power-friendly than the first-gen Core series processors. So what gives?
Turns out Apple has changed the way they rate their battery life: their new test involves putting the display at 50% brightness and surfing the top 25 Web sites out there today. Each Macbook Pro size has a progressively larger screen, but also a larger battery and more powerful CPU, so it's not surprising that they all end up being around the same in terms of battery run time.
This particular test that Apple has chosen to benchmark battery life with is quite interesting because about two months ago a little project that Darius Wey and I came up with was unveiled in a limited fashion and it essentially performs the same task. I never announced it on the Thoughts Media sites because it's still in beta form and needs some tweaks before it's ready for the general public, but suffice it to say that I think measuring laptop battery life in this manner is an excellent real-world test and I applaud Apple for taking this step.
For too long now laptop OEMs have used ridiculous, unrealistic tests to measure battery life - minimum brightness, WiFi off, doing nothing - and it's time the industry standardizes around a test that gives consumers a battery life number rating in hours that they'll actually see.