Apple MacBook Pro battery benchmarks

“I did my first real test of the controversial MacBook Pro battery today… When I first got to a desktop the battery menu bar item was estimating that I had 3 hours and 7 minutes of run time available, but the actual results were less impressive. I got the first low battery warning after exactly 2 hours and 30 minutes of run time and the involuntary sleep after 2 hours and 38 minutes,” Jason O’Grady reports for O’Grady’s PowerPage.

“This test was not exactly a scientific test as I wasn’t actively using the machine (which should help battery life) yet I had both wireless technologies on and the monitor set not to dim (which should hurt battery life),” O’Grady reports. “Next I will do a test of the battery running on the minimal settings to playback a DVD. (50% brightness, Airport and Bluetooth off). Then I will probably do a more real world test, where I use the machine the entire time.”

Full article here.

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36 Comments

  1. To get an idea of how the MacBook Pro stands up against the PowerBook’s 5-6 hours claimed battery life, you’ll have to do the following:

    – Properly condition and calibrate the battery by fully discharging and fully charging once or twice.
    – turn off AirPort and BlueTooth
    – set the brightness to 50%
    – turn off keyboard backlighting
    – make sure the iSight camera isn’t on
    – turn off IR port (if possible, not sure how you’d do that)
    – eject any optical disc
    – unplug any FireWire and USB devices
    – Use the system under light loads
    – Processor set to low performance (if this option is available)
    – Hard drive allowed to sleep when possible

    Once I’ve had a chance to do the above with my own MacBook Pro, then I’ll have a good idea of how long the system lasts on battery compared to the older PowerBook. I have a PowerBook 12″ (5 hour claimed battery life) and with all of the above, my battery would last 4.5 hours at most.

    If the MacBook Pro can last that long under those conditions, then I’ll be happy. I think it should be able to come close given the info from O’Grady’s PowerPage. BlueTooth and AirPort suck up A LOT of juice.

    I’m curious to see how Apple rates it, assuming they use the same methodology as they used for the 15″ PowerBook.

  2. That is pretty bad. I can use my powerbook g4 15″ 1.67 ghz for about 3 hours if i’m actually using it. That number is even less scientific than ogrady’s, because I haven’t actually timed it in months and forget the exact value but since my 3 hour estimate includes active use I think it’s safe to say that the old powerbooks get better battery life. Odd considering the other article on MDN about how the iMac core duo is the most energy effecient desktop the author can find.

  3. “Odd considering the other article on MDN about how the iMac core duo is the most energy effecient DESKTOP the author can find.”

    Emphasis on the word ‘desktop’. You can’t compare the power consumption of a laptop to a desktop. With a desktop, power is cheap, and the only power consideration is heat dissipation.

  4. My old 17″ PowerBook 1.67Ghz got 2 hours at max brightness, and over 3 hours at half brightness, with minimal use. My girlfriend’s 12″ PowerBook 1.5Ghz gets 4 hours with the screen dimmed a bit.

    Battery life is all about screen size and brightness.

  5. If this is one of the first times the battery has been discharged it isn’t surprising to see low battery life. Li ion batteries need to be fully charged and drained a few times to calibrate and break in the battery. That’s what happened for my iPod. The first couple times i used it I had really short battery life (around 4 hours). After charging and discharging a couple times it lasts pretty much the advertised time (I haven’t checked exactly how long though)
    anyway….

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