Is the 11" MBA's battery THAT bad?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Terabit, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. Terabit macrumors newbie

    Dec 26, 2011
    I've heard it's about 5 hours with light usage (assuming everything is turned off and brightness is down to about 3 bars) but have also heard people complaining that they're only getting around 3 hours?

    To be honest I cant see myself paying £749 (with student discount) for something that's meant to be for portability but runs out that quick.

    I already have a 21" iMac so I have no need for the 13" and would like the 11" for portability (or if the 13" mbp could run sims 3 properly then I would sell the iMac and get that.. but that's another story).

    Also is it hard to read the screen?
    I use a friends iPad2 during lectures to read separate powerpoint slides just fine and I believe that's about 2" smaller than the air?
  2. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    Excuse me, but isn't it obvious that the battery life is different depending on what you do? How many hours does a tank of fuel last in your car?

    I heard of people complaining when they used for MacBook on battery to charge their iPod or iPhone over USB, and wondered what is going on in their minds.
  3. CC424 macrumors regular

    Mar 8, 2009
    I have an 11" and the battery life is not that bad but it is not extremely great either. If you are going on an extended trip be certain to take your charger.

    It is no where near the life of my iPad but I don't think it was meant to be. Remember it is more of a high powered netbook.
  4. 01jamcon macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2006
    I don't have firsthand experience with the MBA, however, judging by past experience, for general tasks (web browsing, music, word etc) I generally knock off about 1 hour from Apple's stated times and more if doing something more intensive (video, DVD etc).

    Personally, 4 hours for a laptop that is meant to be super portable (i.e. don't carry a charger with you) is too little and I wouldn't get one until they increase battery life to at least 6 actual workable hours.
  5. Terabit thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 26, 2011
    This is the problem I have with it.

    I'm by no means a heavy user, in university all i'll be using is a few safari pages, word/excel and if i'm in the library iTunes all at the same time.

    But I don't really want to have to carry a charger and worry about getting the seats near to the outlets in the lecture halls all the time or sit at the back of the library away from the books where the power outlets are.

    I think it would probably be best to wait for ivy bridge to make an appearance in the airs or wait for a 13" MBP (if it doesn't get discontinued) that can play the sims 3 comfortably.

    Thanks to you all so far.
  6. 01jamcon macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2006
    I'm in almost exactly the same position as you (regarding uni and power outlets) and hence why I chose a Pro instead of Air.

    Lol at your hang up over the pro being Sims 3, is the problem that the intel hd graphics aren't good enough? Or maybe you could try playing it under windows and bootcamp? Or if you have a games console play it on that instead? Sorry, not trying to interrogate, get the best computer you think you need.
  7. Terabit thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 26, 2011
    I only really want the laptop to be able to play sims 3 smoothly because it was a christmas present for my mum and my iMac is the only thing in the house that can play it.

    If I was going for the 13" MBP i'd sell the iMac just because I couldn't really afford to buy it outright, which is why i'm looking at the air which will run about £150 less.
  8. Robyr macrumors regular

    Feb 21, 2010
    My 11" gets plenty of life for a day trip. No, you can't sit on it the entire day, but that is just the way it is. Open it when you need it, sleep it when you don't. I bring my charger to work, and work only, and when I am out for a day of meetings I leave the charger at my desk.

    I think I average around 4.5 hours. For what its worth, this is the same as my 09 MBP with which I was ASTOUNDED at its incredibly long life.

    I think people are getting jaded with their iPad's/Tablet's battery life in general. If you just need to read lecture info, use the iPad, then crack open the Air when you need to get to the creating. Seriously this is not that hard.
  9. KylePowers macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2011
    Maybe it's the fact that I'm an engineering student, but I don't use my MBA in any of my classes... there's just no need. The only students that do are the ones not paying attention (on Facebook, reddit, etc).

    I typically get anywhere from 3.5-5.5 hours (wide range, I know), but it obviously depends on what I'm doing. I seldom go to libraries, but ~4.5 hours of battery life is a good amount of time to do work in a library. If you still haven't finished your work in 4.5 hours (which isn't that uncommon, I suppose), you'll certainly be able to find a seat next to an outlet within that time span.

    So yes, carrying around the charger is a must if you anticipate usage beyond 4 hours... but it's not like it's a giant cinder block. The darn thing is like 2.5in x 2.5in x 1in. The cord wraps up neatly and it's really not a hassle at all. You can throw it in your book bag and not have to worry about it taking up too much space.

    Shoddy battery life is a sucky tradeoff for portability, but the fact is there's just not enough room in an 11in MBA to fit in a bigger battery. Battery technology hasn't particularly developed at the pace of many other technologies and that's something that affects everyone and everything. What can you expect? Yes, the iPad gets ~10 hours, but there isn't nearly as many components sucking up power, nor does it do anything nearly as computationally demanding. Yes, an MBP gets ~7 hours, but the thing is gigantic compared to an 11in MBA.

    Will Ivy Bridge help the situation? Yes. But more than likely Apple will still be using the exact same battery... It's just that Ivy Bridge will be slightly more efficient in using it. Your mileage will still vary depending on what sort of applications you run and how bright you like your screen.

    And no, the MBA screen is not hard to read lol
  10. eric/ Guest


    Sep 19, 2011
    Ohio, United States
    Why not just get the 13inch MBA? Yeah, it's larger, but it's really portable and you get great battery life. With the brightness turned down, wifi on, and a few applications open (word, mail, safari) I generally get at least 5 hours of battery life of constant use. I've seen the estimated time left reach over 8 hours when it's on but I'm not constantly using it. I carry my MBA with me to class everyday, it's like a very, very thin textbook.
  11. boy-better-know macrumors 65816

    Jun 30, 2010
    Did they buy it for you on a CD? Because you would need to factor in buying a disc drive too. As the air doesn't have one.
  12. cedwhatev macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2011
    It's not that bad, but it's not that great. It's not like a netbook, which gets 6-8 hours on average. I get 4-5.5 depending on what I do. I hate how people complain about the battery life, especially when they know going in that the MBA is not known for it's excellent battery life. Just using the Air makes up for the battery life, because it's such a pleasure. Best part is, the battery life will only get better as they come out with better technology.
  13. pscraig macrumors member

    Apr 9, 2008
    If you need battery endurance try a 13" MBP with an SSD. I put a 160GB SSD in a 2011 13" MBP and get about 12 hours of continuous use. I'd count on 10 hours at any case even under load. I don't use the optical drive much so I can't comment on its effect on battery life.

    I know it's not an Air, and it's much larger, but it might be what you are really looking for. I wanted an 11" Air badly until I used one and saw the battery life for myself-as stated here it's neither great nor terrible. I went with the 13" MBP since that battery alone probably weighs as much as the entire MBA.

    Also don't by SSDs from Apple, they are slow and expensive.
  14. Booji macrumors 6502a


    Nov 17, 2011
    My reasoning as well - if you have to carry the 11" plus the MagSafe adapter, you have lost any weight advantage of the 11", so if you want the extra 2-3 hours of use, in effect the 13" is just as portable as the 11".
  15. ericDylan macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2012
    have you considered getting a 11 or 13 inch macbook pro to run the sims 3? I have the 13" 2010 with 1.86 Core 2 Duo and 2GB of RAM and it plays the TS3 beautifully!

    I can only imagine how well the i7 would run it; even with the slightly lower graphics capabilities.

    If i were you, i would consider the 13" MBA more seriously. Its extra 2 inches adds usability while maintaining much of the 11"'s portability.
  16. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    I own both the 11 and 13" ... what eric quoted above is good advice ...

    13" really isn't that much larger than the 11", there's a lot of benefits you get with the 13" MBA that you don't get with the 11, battery life being one of them.
  17. vitzr macrumors 68030


    Jul 28, 2011
    My 13" MBA returns far better run times than my 11" MBA. I spend a lot of time on it, and never carry the charger. It's the only Mac I've had last all day. Not having to carry a power supply, is a very freeing experience.
  18. KittyKatta macrumors 6502a


    Feb 24, 2011
    I returned a 13" for the 11". While I absolutely LOVE my 11" Air and have no regrets about going smaller, the thing that affects me most is that the battery on this is terrible in comparison to the 13". So I agree, if you care about battery life then get a 13".
  19. PBG4 Dude macrumors 68020

    PBG4 Dude

    Jul 6, 2007
    What do you consider "terrible"?

    Reading all these battery threads is killing my GAS for an 11" MBA, but at least I have last year's 13" MBA model to get me through this difficult time. :D

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