17" MacBook Pro Battery: How does Apple get 7-8 hrs and I get 4 hrs max?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by thiagos, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. thiagos macrumors 6502


    Dec 20, 2007
    NYC (Manhattan)
    I truly do not understand how can Apple get up to 8 hrs from this "special battery" when all I get is 4 hrs. I know usage, screen brightness, wifi etc do make a difference with the battery life.

    After going to Apple's website and reading the small print at the bottom of the page that states:

    The wireless productivity test measures battery life by wirelessly browsing various websites and editing text in a word processing document with display brightness set to 50%.

    I did just that, in fact, I reduced the screen less than 50%, used iWork instead of Office and browsed websites without video and I got 4 and a half hours of usage, that is almost half than what they advertise.
    So basically if they tell me that the battery can get up to 1000 cycles it means that I will get 500 cycles out of it if I am lucky?

    Not right! Apple gets sued back and fourth for their false advertisements and they still keep on doing it?

    Same thing with the iPhone, iPods etc...

    What do you guys think?
  2. crazyrog17 macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2009

    Before anything else, go to System Preferences > Energy Saver > (make sure that) Better battery life (is selected)
  3. thiagos thread starter macrumors 6502


    Dec 20, 2007
    NYC (Manhattan)
    It is selected, it has been selected since I got the machine.
  4. L0s7man macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2009
    They probably set it to lowest-usable settings and test it in a very cold room ;-) (batteries are less capable in hot environment).

    All manufacturers do this. You've got ZILLION hours battery life written on the packaging, you plug it in and huh? It's 4-5h max...

    Such is life...
  5. ViciousShadow21 macrumors 68020


    Mar 11, 2009
    To your left or right
    i think its all relative. if i see apple say that a product gets 7 hrs of battery life i say cool im going to get 4hrs. if i see that it says 5 i say cool 2.5 hrs. and so on and so on.
  6. kousuke18 macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2008
    you might wanna check if the cpu usage on your mbp is unusually high which could explain why you are getting lower battery life.

    i remember some guy on these forums who also has a uni 17" mbp claimed they got 9 hours of battery life on full brightness and using the 9600m gt, but I personally find that hard to believe...
  7. thiagos thread starter macrumors 6502


    Dec 20, 2007
    NYC (Manhattan)
    LOL, maybe the new 17" MacBook Pros should come with a fridge as part of the package.
  8. bossxii macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    Kansas City
    While I agree, Apple and every other laptop manufacturer boast of battery life and in real world usage most people only get about 60% of it. I have had my 17" UMBP now since March 9th, so just about 2 weeks. I have timed it a few different ways.

    1st set of setting tested:

    Keyboard backlighting at 25%
    LED screen backlighting at 50%
    Bluetooth off
    Wifi ON

    Reading posting to forums, no video's such as Youtube, Hulu etc.. I've topped 5h 45m +/- a few mins

    Second test I've run a few times are these settings:

    Keyboard backlighting 25% (off while watching video's)
    LED screen backlighting 80%
    Bluetooth off
    Wifi ON

    Watched Hulu for 2h 25m, watch various Youtube video's for an hour, approx 30 to 35 mins of actual video playing. Web surfing, email the rest of the time and it lasted 4h 20m +/- a few mins.

    I've also watched 2 full lenth movies from Netflix totalling around 3h 45mins and when they finished I was sitting at 28% batter, which according to the timer was 1h 15m but was basically idle at that point.

    I don't keep allot of tabs or programs running in the background while I surf, don't see the need to have 15 tabs up and running or 12 other programs sucking up battery life while I'm not using them.

    It's by no means 8 hours, but I never expected that based on how companies advertise their battery life.

    Making the move from a Macbook Air it seems like I have a never ending batter though lol. One movie from Netflix and the MBA was dead or on reserves about to shut down. It's not perfect, but the new 17" battery is the best I've ever used in a laptop.

    One last thing to note, you do have your 17" listed with the 2.93ghz and a 500 gig drive. (5400 or 7200, stock or not?) These upgrades or changes probably effect power usage and overall run time vs Apple's claims are likely based on the stock MBP.
  9. bossxii macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    Kansas City
    I remember that thread too, he's full of it :) Also claiming his battery capacity was over 17,000 mha vs the standard 13,000 mha setting people in a frenzy to find these 17k+ phantoms :) Unless of course they somehow changed physics and how solid materials are compressed into a specific space. Apple is creative but not that good. :p
  10. shoppy macrumors 6502a

    Mar 4, 2007
    I get average 6hrs to 6hrs 30 on mine. but I do not do much apart from web browse, brightness 2 up from none and itunes.
  11. Pagga macrumors 6502


    Feb 21, 2009
    Closer to the Artic circle than I like to be
    I get more than seven hours with using Word and Finder only.
    Settings are: 9400 card, bluetooth off, Airport off, brithness 1 from max, keyboardlighting 0-50% (tha latter don´t seem to matter much anyway).

    I´d like to call out to everyone claiming bad battery life: Are you timing it yourself, or are you only watching the machine indicator - bacause that is not entirely reliable.
    I also recommend running a few cycles, maybe calibrate once or twice - it seems these batteries get better with a little use.

  12. Minimoose 360 macrumors 65816

    Minimoose 360

    Jul 7, 2008
    As said before these tests are done at the lowest brightness with all networking (AirPort and Bluetooth) off and no applications running. I get 7 hours and 50 minutes of time while just browsing in Safari on the lowest brightness level...
  13. nuccadoc macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2007
    Calgary, Canada
    I'm getting great life

    I'm constantly getting between 7-8 hours of battery life. I am mostly using mail, pages, safari and calendar. I have brightness at half, wifi on, bluetooth on. I'm on the better battery life, and I'm not constantly typing, mostly taking notes in various meetings etc. I've been really happy with the battery life. No calibration done, just out of the box.
  14. m85476585 macrumors 65816

    Feb 26, 2008
    Extreme cold also reduces battery capacity (or at least power output). Think about cars not starting in cold weather.

    Some more tips for maximizing battery life: turn off any visual effects like the magnification on the dock and the effects for minimizing windows. Make sure nothing is using CPU in the background (Firefox is especially bad if you leave several tabs open). Make sure no maintenance scripts run (I am not sure how to check this, but you will see high CPU or disk usage if they are running). Another thing you can do is disable one of the CPU cores. Install Onyx and Xcode, then in Onyx, install the Processor preferences pane under Preferences, then go to system preferences and deselect one of the cores. It might also help to turn off automatically adjust backlight for ambient light.
  15. rayZorX macrumors newbie

    Apr 2, 2009
    When I bought my MBP 17" Unibody last week, I used to get 8-9hrs on the battery indicator on full charge while using firefox on wifi. A couple of days ago, I dropped my MBP (had a soft landing though). Here is what happened after the drop:

    1. I used the MBP that day, battery power still 8-9 hrs.

    2. Next day, I installed iAnti Virus Free Edition from cnet.com then the battery started showin 4.5hrs on full charge and when it did, the MBP heated up and I could hear the fans on high speed.

    3. I unistalled the anti-vius and the battery power went up to 8-9hrs again. The MBP didn't heat up like before.

    4. Installed the anti-virus again and the battery went down to 4.5hrs, plus the overheating.

    5. Decided to do away with the antivirus( macs dont really need them anyway)

    6. Happy to get 8-9hrs again!!

    7. Installed Windows Vista on Boot Camp. Same problem again: 4.5hrs and overheating!!

    8. Removed Windows Vista.

    9. Battery power went up again but not quite!! Now, it shows 7-8hrs instead of 8-9hrs on full charge and heats up slightly more than normal but does not overheat.


    MBP 17" Unibody stock configuration with Anti-Glare
  16. satrycon macrumors member

    Feb 1, 2009
    ive had mine for a week, with wifi on and low brightness setting, i only use the 9600, with the usual webpages open etc im getting at least 5hrs. the battery display says 3 hrs but i get 5. actually got 5hr 40 min last thursday, wifi on, mail on, firefox on, and apple shake running for 1 hr.
  17. Blaker macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2009
    I easily get seven hours, closer to 8 with the test settings Apple set out. You either have a bad battery, or you have a lot of crap in your Dashboard and haven't gotten the 'stop dashboard' widget. Or some other background process.
  18. xoggyux macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2008
    The thing is they make the "tests" with the optimum conditions which are far from the conditions you will have, the same happens with for instance cars, manufacturers tell you they get 45mpg and then you struggle to get 30mpg, or when food says it has low calories (e.g. ~100) but then the serving portion they suggest is ridicusly small (couple of spoons) all designed to make you feel conftable with your the product (mac/car/food etc) so a good rule of thumbs is always take 30% off the suggestion e.g. 8h -> ~5.5h (which probably is much more reasonable)
  19. JtheLemur macrumors 6502

    May 13, 2002
    I get an easy 7 hours & change just browsing the web, IM client online but idle, bouncing between 30% and 50% screen brightness depending on what I'm reading. It all depends on what you're doing.

    PROTIP: Install ClickToFlash to cut way down on CPU usage.


    No joke.
  20. m85476585 macrumors 65816

    Feb 26, 2008
    Or Flashblock for Firefox.
  21. LintHart macrumors newbie

    Apr 3, 2009
    Hi guys,

    I'm about to make the jump from windows to mac after i fell in love with my girlfriends macbook.

    I'm an architecture student so i do alot of cad/3d modeling/photo rendering and am used to 17" laptops of the windows variety.

    My big question is about the battery life of the 17"uMBP and my upgrade options.

    I'd like to try and avoid lugging around a power cable to school seeing as this thing is big enough already and it wont be a problem if i can get 4-5 hours of simple use.

    If i choose to upgrade my HDD to 7200RPM, will this destroy the battery life?
    i'm happy with 2.66Ghz and dont need to blow the extra cash on 2.93 so that should help the battery a bit and make it closer to apples claims.

    also do the 7200 get alot hotter than the 5400? noisy?

    heat is an important factor for me as id like a couch/bed worthy laptop if i turn off the graphics card and my current/previous laptops have all been beasts with burning hot cards in them.
    I'd like to try and keep fan speed down too when not in power mode.

    would the increase in speed be worth it to me as a graphics person?

    also will 8gb RAM heavily affect the battery?

    i'm sure its all been said before but i kinda need to settle my head quickly

    thanks guys
  22. mikes70mustang macrumors 68000


    Nov 14, 2008
    i bet it gets 8 if you were sitting in a class no wifi just taking notes on pages
  23. gr8tfly macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2006
    ~119W 34N
    My first full "cycle" was 6:25

    Set to 9400; BT off; brightness 60-63%; no display sleep.

    Mostly Safari.

    4 iPhone syncs, but that was probably offset by 3 periods of ~25min idle (screen dim only, no display sleep)

    I think this is a pretty fair number. Apple's number was for lighter browsing and word processing (I don't remember if they give percentages), and display at 50%. The capacity came up slightly after recharge, so I imagine I'd get a bit better time out of the battery.
  24. Cynicalone macrumors 68040


    Jul 9, 2008
    Okie land
    I kinda had a feeling 8 hours was only a dream. My Late 08 Air is supposed to get 4.5 hours according to Apple. It gets on average 2.5 hours.

    I leave the Airport off most of the time and instead use my 3G card, it has it's own battery so I know it's not drawing much power. Even with only Safari/Firefox, Mail, and iWork running it dies a quick death. I would figure that if they say 8 hours with the Pro you can expect nothing more than 5 to 6 hours under normal use.

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