How long does battery last watching movies on an 11.6 MBA with hard disk plugged in?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by srkmish, Aug 2, 2014.

  1. srkmish macrumors regular

    srkmish

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2013
    #1
    Hi guys,

    So a friend of mine travels a lot and he is looking for a device to watch movies/series while commuting. He basically wants a laptop with huge battery life so he can plug in his hard drives and watch.

    So how long MBA 11 last while watching movies with a 2.5 in external drive feeding power from it.
     
  2. L T macrumors 6502

    L T

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    Not sure how long it would last but guessing he is running the movies from the external drive? He could try moving the movies on and off of the internal drive and then he can eject the external drive for the duration of the movie.
     
  3. Dweez macrumors 65816

    Dweez

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2011
    Location:
    Down by the river
    #3
    Suggest to your friend that he/she copy the movies to the internal SSD if he/she is concerned about battery life. Or consider an iPad, as that's the duty which my iPad performed for most of it's life, until my 13" MBA took over.
     
  4. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #4
    If you are using a bus-powered drive, I think that will substantially reduce battery life, since you are powering a constantly spinning disk. For your friend's usage, I suggest getting the 512gb SSD (although it is expensive). Watching movies on the internal SSD will provide impressive battery life - somewhere around 10-12 hours with the screen at reduced brightness.

    I have the 2013 11" i7/8gb/512gb MBA and it's an excellent movie player. No problem watching movies during a whole flight from Newark to Heathrow a few months ago for example.

    At home I have my iTunes library on a Mac Mini and watch movies on the MBA over 802.11ac wifi. The battery does not last as long for this kind of usage, but is still reasonable. On these warm days I sit on my porch and watch movies with the screen turned up to full brightness. Battery life is somewhere around 5 hours for this kind of use.

    If you want maximum battery life, you should probably get the i5 model instead of the i7 like I have. The 2014 i5 is supposed to yield the best battery life of any of the Airs. The 13" MBA should also have longer battery life than the 11". But I owned a 13" MBA previously, and the 11 is really much nicer for travel.
     
  5. Ronnoco macrumors 68030

    Ronnoco

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Location:
    United States of America
    #5
    I went with the 512 for this reason as well (13" 2013). Battery life while watching movies or tv series is simply phenomenal (with brightness set to about mid level and blue tooth off). The upgrade to the 512 was worth every penny to me.
     
  6. srkmish thread starter macrumors regular

    srkmish

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2013
    #6
    Thanks all. This is actually very simple and sound advice - to copy the files to internal SSD before watching.

    One more thing - How does the battery life hold up after say 1 -2 years of using it for 8-10 hours a day? If anyone can specify in terms of percentage, it would be great.
     
  7. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #7
    I got a 2011 13" MBA, used it as a primary computer, and sold it in 2013. I never did any scientific tests, but my impression was that the battery life changed very little during that period. The 2013 and 2014 MBA have significantly longer runtimes than the 2011 and 2012 models.
     
  8. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #8
    I bought my 11" MBA on August 4th, 2011. My 11.6" MBA will be exactly 3 years old tomorrow.

    Battery life has dipped from 4673 mAh to 4197 mAh, which means my battery life has dropped from 4.5 hours down to 4.0 hours --- a 10% drop. I noted the battery capacity in a Post-it note in Dashboard when I bought it, which is how I kept track. ;)

    I bought this machine BEFORE the 11" and 13" MBA models offered insane battery life, so 4 hours is pretty much on par with my expectations.
     
  9. Ronnoco macrumors 68030

    Ronnoco

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Location:
    United States of America
    #9
    CoconutBattery is a great free app for keeping tabs on battery life (among other things).
     
  10. srkmish thread starter macrumors regular

    srkmish

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2013
    #10
    Hi Guys,

    Thanks for all the replies. I had one more doubt. Does keeping the macbook off for a prolonged time (Say 3-4 weeks) deteriorate its battery? My friend might use it only while he is travelling ( 7 days every month) .
     
  11. srkmish thread starter macrumors regular

    srkmish

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2013
    #11
    Bumping this post again as i have few queries.

    So my friend bought the macbook air and is happy with the battery life while commuting. His only concern is that he takes it while on trips only and those happen now like once in 6 months and the rest of the time he uses company laptop and desktop at home.

    So does the Macbook air battery lose substantial charge while shut down at rest for extended periods of time ( say 5 months). He plans to use it for another 5 - 6 years for this purpose only.
     
  12. tdhurst macrumors 601

    tdhurst

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #12
    Mba 11"

    My 2012 MBA (128gig, i7, 8 gigs ram) was at 85% of its battery capacity after two years of hard, every day use when I sold it to my dad a few months ago.

    He's never once complained about battery life while taking it on trips.
     
  13. motrek macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    #13
    Is it plugged in or not?

    All batteries slowly lose charge whether or not they are in use. That's why Apple says the MBA has a 30 day standby time when not plugged in -- after a while the computer turns itself off but the battery slowly loses charge anyway.

    Lithium batteries like the ones used in all laptops these days can't be charged once they are completely discharged. (If your laptop says you have 0% charge left and turns itself off, it actually has a fair amount of charge left so you can get it to a power outlet before the battery is ruined.)

    So if you leave a MacBook sitting for over 2 months it wouldn't surprise me if the battery stopped working and you had to get it replaced.

    But, if you keep the laptop plugged in, the battery should be okay indefinitely... or for many years at least.
     
  14. srkmish thread starter macrumors regular

    srkmish

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2013
    #14
    What if i charge it to 100% and then shut it down and leave it idle for 6 months.
     
  15. motrek macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2012
    #15
    Why not just leave it plugged in and not worry about it?
     

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