Battery life on the 11" MBA -- what's the final word?

RobbyIdol

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 20, 2012
203
125
I played with a 2011 MBA 13" for a day recently and loved everything about it except the size (itching for the super-portable 11" MBA myself). The battery life was excellent, with the battery monitor hovering within the "5-7 hours remaining" range throughout a days use until slowly dropping to about 2.5-3 hours juice left. I spent the day doing easy tasks: Word, iTunes listening, minor web surfing. Kept the screen light fairly low to preserve battery life.

I'm a little concerned about the the smaller battery in the 11" MBA. I read a lot of complaints about it not being enough battery to make the laptop worthwhile. Given the simple tasks I listed above (I'm not a gamer or video/photo editor or anything), how much battery can I assume to get out of an 11" MBA? The full 5 hours the item is listed as, or more like 2-3 hours?

I'm currently rocking a 2008 MBP that dies after 10 minutes of battery use when not plugged in, so honestly, anything is an improvement for me! :p

OH.. and when it comes to refurbs, is the battery power just as strong as a brand new MBA, or does it suffer from whatever prior use the previous owner gave it?

Thanks!
 

KylePowers

macrumors 68000
Mar 5, 2011
1,688
197
2011 version got me 3.5-4 usually. The 2012 is a tad more energy conscious, so maybe 4-4.5.

It was pretty hard to get 5, I'll be honest.
 

kristiano

macrumors regular
Mar 19, 2005
232
0
2011 version got me 3.5-4 usually. The 2012 is a tad more energy conscious, so maybe 4-4.5.

It was pretty hard to get 5, I'll be honest.
Just to check, the 3.5-4 hours on the 2011 version is with wifi on, right?

Thanks.
 

entatlrg

macrumors 68040
Mar 2, 2009
3,376
3
Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
Wifi on, bluetooth off, surfing the web, replying to emails, using evernote, pages, word, viewing short video, for example previews on automobile sites ...

in other words a *variety* of tasks ... brightness just over half in the daytime, two bars at night.

Expect to get around 3-3.5 hours 'real world' use.

Sure if you just type in pages all day, low brightness setting you'll come close to 5 hours. But for example if you go to an auto site, or a realtor website and view a brief virtual tour of a home it sucks the battery fast.

The 13" has noticeably better battery run time. Really wish better battery was one of the things the Air's got today.
 

Beau10

macrumors 6502a
Apr 6, 2008
728
102
Downtown San Diego
For my use case (software engineer, which is mostly low load with sprinkles of high low activity) coming from a 2k8 MBP -> 2010 11" Air the battery life was a solid improvement, although Apple rated them both at 5 hours. I believe Apple got more pessimistic with their battery ratings over time. For the MBA I was pulling over 6 hours on a charge when new, now maybe 5.5 hours now the battery is approx 90% strength. With the MBP the same type of usage was pulling maybe 4.5 hours tops on a new battery.

The most telling thing was comparing them both at lowest load use... monitor brightness all the way down, nothing running, just letting it sit for a minute or two on a full charge. The MBA could actually report over 10 hours in this state in estimated life. The MBP at best was showing a bit over 6 hours.

The difference closes significantly over high load, where say I'm watching a flash video they both seemed to perform about the same, perhaps around the 3 hour mark.
 

Nebrie

macrumors 6502a
Jan 5, 2002
573
66
Has anyone tested the 2012 yet? Better battery life was supposed to be an ivy bridge thing.
 

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