powerbook battery life (all new models)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Sigma B, Jun 20, 2004.

  1. Sigma B macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2004
    Hey guys!

    I was wondering where I could find out the exact battery life (with wireless on and off) for all the new models of powerbooks?

    I'm trying to decide and battery life is a very large factor. Oh! And this is my first Mac too, and first offical question here at macrumors!
  2. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    I guess if you want comparisons you need the same people to run the same test on each one... :) You might try something like CNET:


    They always run a battery test as part of their review (but no wireless on/off). Macworld did a review of them recently too, but didn't have very detailed battery info:

  3. Sigma B thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2004
    very much appreciated, but all i've seen is an est. 4.5 hrs. Seems like I've heard several people barely claiming over 2 hours with the 15 and 17, but the 12 has stellar battery life.

    I'll be carrying my notebook to school daily and I'm just trying to make sure it can hang with me all day!

    I've always wondered - most people that don't carry the 17 daily, because it's a "lapzilla". Is that because the notebook is big in relation to them? or just in general? I'm a big guy (6'5'') and I've always carried a bag that's easily 15 - 20 lbs daily. Just wondering!
  4. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Apr 26, 2002
    I'm lucky to get 2.5 hours on my 15" AlBook. I do have the settings at the least powerfriendly though. I bought a spare.
  5. OziMac macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2003
    15" - 3.5 hours on conservative normal use

    I have had XCharge running on my new 15" 1.5GHz Powerbook since I received it. Since them I have run numerous charge cycles and have noticed the following things:

    With the screen brightness at 3-5 bars, bluetooth off / airport extreme on, and display/hard drive sleeps at 3-5 minutes, and moderate use (iTunes, Safari through Airport, some DVD playback, Word and some light Photoshop) I regularly get battery life of just over 3.5 hours. An hour of DVD playback at similar settings (screen a little brighter and airport off) set me back about 40% charge, so a two hour movie is definitely watchable off a fully charged battery.

    This person also did very comprehensive tests on the Rev A 15", and achieved similar results:


    I still feel that given that it sports currently the most powerful Apple portable CPU and GPU, widescreen dimensions and significant portability (obviously not as invisible as the 12", but no brick either), the 15" is the pick of the litter.

    Obviously the 12" has the superior battery life, since it uses the same rating (50 Watt-hours) as the 15" (whilst the 17" uses 58 Watt-hours), but the 15" is not crippled by the smaller battery - used conservatively, it can still do quite well and is terrific for watching DVDs given the substantially larger and wider screen than the 12" (which in turn would be trumped by the 17").

    And once plugged into a power socket, the 15" blows everything else away ;) Of course, I'm biased, but like to think that that bias is slightly informed :D

    [EDIT] I also considered getting a spare battery, but Lithium ion batteries start deteriorating the moment they are manufactured, and would thus die off at the same rate as the original battery - PLUS Apple only sells the old 46 Watt-hour batteries for the 15" at this stage. It would make perfect sense if you are out and about all the time (and thereby partially eliminate concerns about limited battery life) - but seeing as I'm not really away from a power point that often, it was probably best for me to make use of the current battery in a more efficient way.
  6. solvs macrumors 603


    Jun 25, 2002
    LaLaLand, CA
    Have you considered the 14" iBook? I've heard realistic times of around 5 hours. Also, there are some external batteries out there that can get you several extra hours. Electrovaya used to make one, but they are expensive.
  7. Sigma B thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2004
    I'm just looking at "real life" averages

    I'd specifically like to know the average battery life for the 17'' with 1.5

    and 12" are.

    If someone could donate that info, that would be awesome!
  8. Capt Underpants macrumors 68030

    Capt Underpants

    Jul 23, 2003
    Austin, Texas
    I have the 12" PB 1.33, and with full screen brightness, APX on and bluetooth off, I have been able to get just over four hours. I haven't really tested it with lower screen brightness, though.
  9. micvog macrumors 6502


    Sep 10, 2003
    Same here... with screen brightness 1-2 notches down from max with APX and Bluetooth on I am getting ~4 hours. That is using Safari, Mail, Word, Excel.
  10. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    I'm getting about 5 hours from my 12"/867, which is almost as good as my old Pismo (when it and the batteries were new). My original battery was bad, btw -- so I didn't start getting that life until Apple replaced it. I refuse to allow the battery to run down completely any more than absolutely necessary (that just shortens their life), so my numbers are projections from running it down to about 50%.

    Recently I used the PB for a Keynote presentation and the guy who was setting up the AV directed me to where to plug in the power. I informed him it wasn't necessary because the PowerBook would run unplugged for hours -- to which he rolled his eyes. He was using a Compaq Flotilla or some such.
  11. ToastCabbit macrumors member

    Feb 21, 2004
    Centre College
    4 to 5 hours for battery life on the 12"? Wow! :D

    This is great news for someone who had a TiBook and is now moving to a new 12" powerbook. I never actually timed my battery life, but my tibook's range couldn't have been much more than 3 or 3.5 hours. :(

    However you look at it, Sigma B, you're going to get a powerful machine whichever new pb you choose. And like the others have said, the 12" is going to have more power for a longer period of time than a 17" will (battery power, i.e.). But if battery is, as you say, "a very large factor" for you, I would point you towards the 12".

    Here's a thread on the 12":
    12" pb thread

    While here's a thread on the 15":
    15" pb thread

    I haven't read through all of the posts, but I bet somebody in there has covered battery life. Hope that helps and good luck on your buying decision!
  12. Sigma B thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2004
    i new the 12" was pretty good....

    now I'd like to hear from 17" owners..... anyone want to break the silence?
  13. macnews macrumors 6502a


    May 12, 2003
    17" 1.33 running wireless on and bluetooth on (for keyboard and mouse) typically run mail, calendar, word, excel and preview I can get 3.5 to 4 hours battery life. The one thing that can make a difference is downloading things off the net. The more I have to run the hard drive the more battery life decreases and downloading off the net seems to drain it faster than just saving files from word or excel. I say seem because I don't have actual tests.

    And when not in frequent use, like may be the case in a classroom listening to lecture, not taking notes - I can get great battery life. Just this morning with I was at home and forgot to plug it in - used wireless, mail, internet, and word off and on for over 2 hours before I pluged it in and I still had 60% battery. This wasn't constant use but using it at least every 15 minutes or so, not to mention checking mail every 5 minutes (automatically).
  14. Sigma B thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2004

    is the 15 or the 17 more durable than one or the other? Either one more prone to dead pixels? This is going to be a long term investment so I don't want to be dissappointed for the long haul.
  15. OziMac macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2003
    That's a tought call - I'm guessing only Apple Support can give you a decent answer. The rev A 15" had a lot of issues with white spots, but they've been resolved mostly in the new rev B's. I's say they're both fairnly durable, but the 17" is larger. Though I've also found that the screen hinge is a lot smoother on the 17" - really, I think the issue is ultimately which one you like using the best, because I can't see there being a huge gaping chasm of durability :)
  16. King Cobra macrumors 603

    Mar 2, 2002
    "I was wondering..." is a statement, more specifically, a declaration of a state of mind. So you're first question here is: "Is that because the notebook is big in relation to them?"

    First off...hold off on Powerbooks until WWDC, as there have been some rumors on possible updates. In other words, don't buy anything until after WWDC so you don't possibly buy a product that gets updated the day after. (Some people here know what that's like...)

    Second, you should also pay attention to more than battery life if you seriously want to invest in a Powerbook. I'm going to break down some details into the pros and cons of working with each model Powerbook in situations...

    Powerbook 12 inch - Pros: For being able to use it at college for English/Literature classes, or for almost all internet browsing and word processing, you don't need anything bigger. Even if you plan to work a bit in Photoshop, a lot in iTunes, or a bit in iPhoto, you can do it well on that little screen, as long as you're sitting right in front of it.

    Powerbook 12 inch - Cons: If you're going to do a lot of audio/video/Garage Band work, then a 12 inch model will probably make working with applications like FCP (or FCE), Garage Band, iMovie, iPhoto, and just about any 3D software needlessly straining on your eyes.

    Powerbook 15 inch - Pros: This is an above average machine for just about any software you can think of...FCP, DVD Studio Pro, Maya, Photoshop, Garage Band, Mail, Safari, Office 2004. You can negotiate between applications that require high resolutions without straining your eyes as long as you have the resolution to its 2nd highest setting, or if you keep the screen close to you. You also get a bit of a memory booster - 2GB as supposed to 1.25GB - and that works out very well for working with multiple apps at once. And, the keyboard and trackpad seem to be placed at just the right positions for a 15 inch or larger monitor notebook

    Powerbook 15 inch - Cons: If the apps that you plan to use a lot require high screen resolutions and have small text, then you'll find yourself straining from time to time to read some of the text. Though it's not a big deal.

    Powerbook 17 inch - Pros: This is a nice machine if you want to watch DVDs and absolutely must work with a lot of video/audio/etc. production software that has a lot of fine print. It's also faster than the 15 inch model, so your productivity will be even faster.

    Powerbook 17 inch - Cons: The keyboard may seem like a bit of a reach, and it's not ideal for bringing/using at college, because you not only need a large bag to hold it, but you need to be careful that it doesn't keep bumping into chairs/people.

    Third, if you're a professional working with audio/video, then power usage is of little concern. Pro users with portables will keep them plugged into an outlet. But since you're concerned about power usage (the technical issues already explained in the above cement mixture of posts), then it sounds like you won't be working a lot with audio/video/etc. for professional production. Also, since you're going to use your Powerbook for a while, you'll eventually run into some software (maybe out of interest, maybe as a requirement) that requires a fairly high resolution. So if you're planning to use the Powerbook for email/internet/chatting/text/music purposes only, then the 12 inch model should do. But if you want to work with a bit of software from time to time that takes up a bit of space on your monitor, then the 15 inch model should do.
  17. OziMac macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2003
    See below.

    Amen to that.

    Respect to you King Cobra, but since you called the other person out on the declaration, I have to call you out on the 'as supposed to' - you meant 'as opposed to', right? ;) And 'boost'? No one's perfect... :)

    How is the 17" faster?

    Excellent post though - you should pin that somewhere on the board for all the prospective PB buyers who end up posting threads asking for comparison. Very useful.
  18. King Cobra macrumors 603

    Mar 2, 2002
    Ahh, touché...see below.

    1.5GHz for the 17 inch as opposed to 1.33GHz for the 15 inch model.
  19. OziMac macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2003
    But what about the 1.5GHz 15" Powerbook? :)
  20. King Cobra macrumors 603

    Mar 2, 2002
    Ahh, f***er, here's what I saw in the tech specs:

    "15-inch models

    * 1.33GHz PowerPC G4 processor with Velocity Engine, 512K SRAM on-chip L2 cache, 167MHz system bus"

    It's actually:

    "15-inch models

    * 1.33GHz or 1.5GHz PowerPC G4 processor with Velocity Engine, 512K SRAM on-chip L2 cache, 167MHz system bus"

    OziMac, quick, correct the rest of my post before I go offline for the night.
  21. OziMac macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2003

    lol, I think you're okay, have a good night mate :)
  22. Sigma B thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2004
    dumb question but, Should I get the Super Drive if i get the 15"? I don't think I would burn DVD's on the go. Maybe I'm wrong. But I think I would rather have a faster external or dual layer burner....
  23. OziMac macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2003
    If you don't think you will, then you probably won't... so why not just save some money and get a faster Combo drive? And you can always opt for the external later if you change your mind...

    I got a superdrive because I like being able to take my laptop around to various places and burn off DVDs for archives and presentations, and occasionally make some video DVDs whilst travelling. To me the faster CD burning was not that big of an issue, but if you're interested in dual layer, then definitely consider saving the money for that...
  24. yinyang macrumors regular

    Aug 14, 2003
    sunny brisbane
    just to let you know that apple are now selling the 50 watt-hour batteries. not sure when that happened but it was recent...

  25. veedubdrew macrumors regular

    Oct 14, 2002
    Los Angeles, CA
    See my signature for my Mac. I get about 2:45 if I have everything going crazy with the screen brightness up. If I'm in a dark room with the screen dimmed and the keyboard lit up I get about 3:45. I always have WiFi on and Bluetooth off.


Share This Page