12" vs 15" PB: Battery life

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by gallivant, Apr 22, 2005.

  1. gallivant macrumors member

    Dec 14, 2004
    I think I"ve probably spent more time debating 12" vs 15" than most people have on presidential candidates. The 12" gives me better portability and price; the 15" gives me that magnificent expansive screen and isn't really all that less portable, since I have to fit it in a bag anyway and the bag's built to hold a 15". So now I'm debating whether the 15" has a good enough battery for my purposes.

    With my basic usage pattern: backlight on about halfway, AirPort on, Reduced performance - ie, web-browsing and paper-writing mode - how much time can I expect on each model?
  2. toezter macrumors regular


    Jul 12, 2004
    Madison, WI
    i've used a laptop thru most of my college days (still going), and have never really encountered a power problem (with my 12").

    are there outlets near you while working? i'd assume you'd lose 30mins to an hour with the 15", but don't quote me on that. but extra memory and a faster HD will help with battery life.
  3. shane-o-mac macrumors regular


    Jan 24, 2005
    Here is my imput.

    I am a pround owner of a 15" powerbook I purchased about a month ago. One of my best buds puchased a 12" powerbook a week after I got mine. I do LOVE the screen on my 15", it is wide, chrisp and amazing. Not too mention at night with the keyboard to lit up, it is just a most beautiful machine. The deal with the battery is I end up with about 3.5 hours maybe a little more....which can really suck at times. Portability has been an issue, in that due to the wideness of my laptop it can be cumbersum and a little heavy in my bag. I did purchase a crumpler sleeve with it which adds ever so slightly to the bulk.

    I have to admit I am jelous of my bud in that his computer rocks when it comes to portability, and the size makes it ideal for carrying it around all day. I sense he is jelous of me cause of my screen and a few other high performance features I have. As far as battery life he beats me out by maybe thirty minutes tops, so really that is not that big of a factor.

    So, in retrospect, if my current laptop was not going to be my only computer I would have gone with the 12"ibook, if nothing else for the portability and the kick ass battery life which is right at 5 hours. Of course owning a powerbook is an experience all onto itself. My next move will probably be to buy an ibook to carry around on campus or consider upgrading my current pc laptop to a 12" ibm think pad...the gist is either way you go, you will be a winner! Though if portability is key, def closley consider the 12" eitheir powerbook or ibook. Good Luck!
  4. gallivant thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 14, 2004
    In classrooms, I definitely can't count on outlets. So I'm looking at around 3.5 hours for the 15", and 4 for the 12"? Hm. That's acceptable, if only barely. Portability isn't as major an issue because my laptop bag's a Timbuk2 Commute; it holds my TiBook perfectly. Since I don't plan on carrying a *smaller* bag, there's no tremendous portability advantage to the 12", outside of its weight. I think I need to take a trip to an Apple store and play with both for a while.
  5. Sox macrumors regular

    Feb 9, 2005

    That's definitely what you should do; check out both models for yourself. I was struggling with the same decision back in February. I had originally targeted the 15", since I figured that 12" would simply be too small. After testing both at an Apple Store, I found that not only was the 12" screen bigger than I thought, but I preferred it to the 15", in regards to both portability and price. The 15" isn't that much bigger, and you can max out the 12" with RAM and HD space and get a better value.

    A nice setup for school might be the 12" for notetaking/papers on campus and then a nice external display to hook into back at home. A 20" or 23" display (Apple, Dell, whatever) will blow away the 15" PB screen, and you still get the mobility and battery life of the 12".
  6. gallivant thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 14, 2004
    The at-home screen issue is nicely solved by a Linux desktop with a 17" Dell display, so the 12" seems more sensible, but the extra pixels on a 15" may just be too much to resist.
  7. spriter macrumors 65816


    May 13, 2004
    All the attractions of the 15" dazzled me too and I plumped for one. After a while, I was wishing it wasn't so cumbersome to carry around but I put up with it. What ended it for me was the battery... 3-3.5 hours at best on reduced with reasonable, everday settings for everything else. Having the display on anything above 1 'tick' really hampered the battery. If I kicked in Highest Performance and took it to Photoshop or FCE, it lost an hour and it was like it was never away from the wall socket. In the end, I sold it and got a 12" instead.

    No doubt the 15" is a wonderful machine but the ease of travelling with a 12" and, more importantly, the extra battery life made me realise what a portable could and should be.
  8. Ringu macrumors member

    Mar 20, 2005
    I also just switched from a 15" to a 12" PB. No regrets at all so far. I loved the 15, but a 12+20" display is proving a better solution right now.
  9. j26 macrumors 65832


    Mar 30, 2005
    Putting the backlight at 2 ticks (you can push it down to 1 tick if you want) from the bottom and with Airport turned of and not using a USB mouse, I find I'm getting about 4 hours and a bit from the 12" PowerBook. I'd say with Airport on you're looking at 4 hours, provided you're doing nothing too taxing on the processor.

    I saw in another thread that you can hotswap batteries in the PowerBook, so getting a second battery could be a good option if you need power all day in either the 12" or the 15"
  10. tamara6 macrumors regular

    Apr 28, 2004
    It really depends on what programs you are using. I have office X, and if I have word or excel open, even if they are hidden and I'm not using them, my battery will drain way too fast. I don't know if office 2004 still does this.

    Another thing that will drain your battery is having classic running.

    If you are trying to maximize usage while on the battery, my advice is to use a text editor (not word), to turn off airport if you don't need it, and to quit any programs that you really are not using.

    I have a one year old 15" powerbook and I get about 2 - 2.5 hours of continuous use out of it, doing what I mentioned above but leaving the brightness at 3 or 4 ticks below maximum (I didn't buy this beautiful, bright screen only to make it darker than my 4 year old Pismo's screen, after all).

    It is enough for me, but if I were trying to live all day with just this battery, I wouldn't make it.

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