New MBA 13 only lasts 3-4 hours using MS Word!

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by johngwheeler, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Location:
    I come from a land down-under...
    #1
    I'm on my first business trip with my new 2013 MBA 13 (i7/8GB), and I was unpleasantly surprised to find that the battery doesn't last anywhere nearly as long as I had expected.

    I started with a 100% charged battery (only 2 recharge cycles), and saw that after about 20 minutes use that it was showing a little over 5 hours left. After about an hour's use, it was down to a bit over 3 hours remaining, so I estimate that if this "non-linear" discharge continued, that it would be flat after 3-4 hours total usage.

    The only apps I had open were 4 (quite large) MS Word 2011 docs, Evernote, Stickies & Finder. Wi-fi was turned off. Screen brightness was at 50%

    A quick look at Resource Monitor didn't show any "rogue" processes eating CPU, but MS Word was occasionally peaking at 70-80% CPU, which in my experience with MS Word on Mac, is unfortunately normal.

    At first, I thought my battery must be faulty, but after closing all the Word docs, the remaining battery time estimate leapt up to 11 hours.

    Whilst this fairly clearly shows that MS Word is the culprit, it also means that the 12-hour battery life claim is probably only valid if the computer is being very lightly used - i.e. a couple of text files or browser tabs - and not playing video, running Flash, compressing files, encoding video/audio or anything else that uses more than a few % of CPU capacity.

    I read another thread comparing i5 & i7 battery life, with some test results that showed only a couple of hours remaining charge after playing a single HD movie.

    So basically if you plan on using your MBA for viewing movies or word processing (!) you can count on maybe 4 hours. If you don't actually do anything, the battery will last much longer :).

    [In case anyone suggests I don't use MS Word, this is not an option for me as I have to share work with Windows users, and nothing except MS Word for Mac is sufficiently compatible!]
     
  2. macrumors 68000

    \-V-/

    Joined:
    May 3, 2012
    #2
    I would take it back.
     
  3. Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Location:
    Boston
    #3
    Given what others are stating about the battery life, I agree with \-V-/ - that's not normal and you should take it back
     
  4. mattferg, Jul 8, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2013

    macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 27, 2013
    #4
    Judging by MS's release cycle for Office, hopefully Office 2014 will be released next year and be a bit more resource friendly. Maybe Bootcamp and Office 2013 would work a bit better?

    Although, saying that, I'm running Word now (updated ofc) and it's running just fine, no more than 5% CPU usage for my whole system, on lots of text and photo heavy docs. Maybe it is an issue with your machine?
     
  5. Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    May 3, 2009
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    Boston
    #5
    I'd also look at perhaps activity monitor to see how ms word is consuming resources and use other apps to see if its localized to one app or is system wide.
     
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2009
    Location:
    Australia
    #6
    I have Office 365 installed on the 2013 13" MBA and Word does chew up CPU cycles, but nowhere near as much as your 2011 version seems to.

    I opened a 40 page document, typed in another 3 or 4 pages today and at the end the battery had gone from 100% to 90% in about 45 minutes. Thats about what I would have expected, given it was also connected to WiFi, Bluetooth mouse connected and screen brightness was a little over 50%.
     
  7. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 27, 2013
    #7
    Office 365 for Mac = Office 2011
     
  8. macrumors G5

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #8
    Viewing movies is fine. As long as you don't use Silverlight (another fine Microsoft product). 10 hours of h.264 movies should be no problem.
     
  9. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    #9
    Something is wrong. While I don't use word, I use 2011 Excel all the time. I am getting way more than 4 hours using excel. Now, I did have a massive problem with my battery because of a Java Applet that didn't close and caused my CPU to run full tilt draining my battery very quickly. I would open up Activity Monitor and see if you have some run away process zapping CPU cycles as has been previously stated.
     
  10. WMD
    macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2013
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #10
    MS Word has always been the bane of my Mac existence, since Office 2004. It's the only app that ever took out OS X in its entirety for me. It also crashes a lot by itself, or does crazy things. Not surprised they still haven't fixed it. It makes switching to Mac, for heavy Office users anyway, that much more irritating. At least I've saved the money/trouble of upgrading from 2004, which I still run in SL from time to time, when I must.

    It's a real shame, after the legendary Mac versions of Word from eras past. Word 5.1a, anyone?
     
  11. macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    Pa
    #11
    I can get over 4 hours of (light) word use on a 2011 MBA... Either your machine is bad, or you have a bad install, or you're a super hard-core word user :p
     
  12. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 27, 2013
    #12
    Wait, you're complaining about Word being unstable, crashing and doing crazy things... and you haven't ever upgraded from Office 2004, which was coded for an entirely different processor architecture?

    This forum worries me more and more.
     
  13. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    #13
    so is using word a no go if your trying to save battery power? has anyone tried using pages instead or another writing app?
     
  14. macrumors 68000

    \-V-/

    Joined:
    May 3, 2012
    #14
    Yeah... same here.


    I don't think any word processor is dramatically draining anyone's battery.
     
  15. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2013
    #15
    The power estimates are way off. I have safari, unity, monodevelop, word, and outlook open and i get between 10-12 hours of battery life. My estimate says 6.
     
  16. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    #16
    I ran a test the other day on my MBA (i5, not i7) and got exactly 12.5 hours of use. Most of it was web surfing, but I had Excel open the whole time (to track what the battery meter was saying at various intervals) and Outlook. I did have Word open for about 20 minutes. Screen brightness was at 50% and of course wifi was on.

    How large were your Word documents and were you working in them, or did you just have them open? I'd like to try to see if I can duplicate your usage fairly closely to see if it's a problem with Word or with your MBA.
     
  17. WMD
    macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2013
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #17
    In theory, you're right... but I don't find it to be any more or less crazy than it was on my PowerBook. It's also the only Rosetta app I have that much trouble with. I will admit, though, that the worst thing I ever saw it do was, indeed, on the emulator.

    I don't use Word very much any more, I guess, so it's not enough for me to buy a newer version. But from this, and from things I've seen at work with various versions, it has seemed, for years now, that MS has got Mac Office "rigged" to be slightly annoying. Either that, or its development is done begrudgingly.
     
  18. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    #18
    anandtech has documented their battery test criteria, which approximates Apple's. What you have listed is clearly wrong.

    Do you have Word set up to interactively spell check as you type?
     
  19. macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2012
    #19
    Apple gives u long lasting battery, leave it to MS to mess it up.
     
  20. JAT
    macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2001
    Location:
    Mpls, MN
    #20
    You mean Word, right?
     
  21. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2011
    #21
    Such a helpful post. :rolleyes:
     
  22. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2011
    #22
    This is why I got Pages :)
     
  23. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2011
    #23
    Therein lies the folly of Haswell. Power savings are at idle (lower clock speed), but when TurboBoost kicks in, the clock speed essentially doubles, and poof, there goes your battery! Probably MS Word is causing T/B to kick in every time it autosaves or spell-checks.
     
  24. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    #24
    While this might not be available for everyone --

    Have you tried Libre Office or any of the open source alternatives? I've had zero problems with CPU hogging from these guys in a Linux environment. It's worth a shot...
     
  25. macrumors 68000

    \-V-/

    Joined:
    May 3, 2012
    #25
    That too, lol.
     

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