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Standardized Battery Test Results for the MacBook Air

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Anandtech provides more standardized battery results for their 1.8GHz MacBook Air (HDD).

They setup 3 tasks of varying intensity with the MacBook Air's display set at just above 50%, and not to go to sleep, though the hard drive was allowed to spin down if able. The tasks and battery life times are listed as follows:

1) Use Wifi to browse 20 pages in a loop, spending 20 seconds on each page, while playing MP3s in iTunes. 4hr 16min
2) Play a DVD image (off the internal hard drive) in a loop. 3hr 25min
3) Download 10GB of files, Web browsing loop from #1, play two 480p Xvid videos in a loop. 2hr 25min

As expected, the battery time varies greatly with use, and helps explain the discrepant battery life times seen by various users. Andantech summaries:
Apple's 5 hour claim is laughable but not as much as I expected. If I wanted to I suspect I could hit 5 hours by making the web browsing test less stressful, but my focus was on real world usage scenarios, not proving Apple correct. Regardless, 4 hours and 16 minutes doing what I consider to be the intended usage model of the Air is respectable. It's not great, but it's not terrible either.



Article Link
 

michaelfengdayu

macrumors member
Jun 22, 2007
71
0
But there's great difference among webpages. It drains the battery very fast when I watch Youtube and the computer becomes extremely hot.
 
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furious

macrumors 65816
Aug 7, 2006
1,012
0
Australia
I could have told them the same thing.

The main factors I can see for battery life of a notebook computer is wifi access, disk read/write, and display brightness.

If you manage those three things efficiently you should be able to reach close to apples claim of 5 hours. Admittedly you would struggle to operate a computer like that day to day.
 
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a1016neo

macrumors regular
Nov 10, 2006
121
0
Hmmmmmm...

Apple under weights their ipod's battery life but over weights their laptop's battery life. :confused:
 
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CaptainScarlet

macrumors regular
Jul 25, 2002
137
0
CheeseLand
Not sure how to take the tests,really. Does someone actually sit there and refresh a page every 20sec for over 4 hours? Never stopping to read an article? Never stopping to hit the can?

I'd like to see "Real World" testing and not just loops...

---Meh
 
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firstapple

macrumors 6502a
Sep 25, 2007
991
19
I would say these tests are pretty accurate. I don't tend to just sit on one site for very long when I am online. When I am online, I am searching the forums, looking up finance/business news, searching other sites... Yea, I do stay on some pages for more then 20 seconds, but when I search the forums for instance or I am doing research, I am constantly refreshing pages and booting up new ones.
 
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arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
15,498
3,966
Not sure how to take the tests,really. Does someone actually sit there and refresh a page every 20sec for over 4 hours? Never stopping to read an article? Never stopping to hit the can?

I'd like to see "Real World" testing and not just loops...

The point is these are standardized tests. We've had "real world" results reported... you want to know what those were?

2hrs 30mins
3hrs 45mins
5hrs 00mins
4hrs 15mins
2hrs 50mins

With reported use being described as "typical" for all of them.

I think the browsing,mp3 playing test is very indicative of use for many people.

arn
 
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notjustjay

macrumors 603
Sep 19, 2003
6,052
159
Canada, eh?
4.5 hours on a charge with Wifi on, 50% brightness, playing mp3's on the speakers and actively browsing the web, in a device that small, and you people call that LAUGHABLE?!

I was happy when my 12" PowerBook got me 5 hours, and that was with Wifi and bluetooth off, 1 bar of brightness and speakers off, doing little more than taking notes with Microsoft Word.

Sounds pretty darned good to me.
 
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applefan69

macrumors 6502a
Oct 9, 2007
570
188
Alberta
honesltyy i think 4+ hours is phenonomal... for the size of the device and size of battery.

Steve said that other ultra portables generally get 1-2 hours of battery life... and here apple is pwning ANOTHER aspect.

I have a regular macbook, and with listening to music, web browsing, Instant messanging, and downloading, i only get about 3 and a half hours.
 
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CaptainScarlet

macrumors regular
Jul 25, 2002
137
0
CheeseLand
The point is these are standardized tests. We've had "real world" results reported... you want to know what those were?

2hrs 30mins
3hrs 45mins
5hrs 00mins
4hrs 15mins
2hrs 50mins

With user reported use being described as "typical" for all of them.

I think the browsing,mp3 playing test is very indicative of use for many people.

arn
Interesting...Not too bad for times...Just wait a few more years and 8 hours will be the norm.
 
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MacFly123

macrumors 68020
Dec 25, 2006
2,340
0
I think that is a lot longer than I have ever gotten on any of my laptops including my MBP too.

P.S. The MacBook Air is cool, but I am sooo sick of all the stories about it. Can we get some real rumors please? Cinema Displays? Newton 2? Apple Televisions? MacBook Pro? Multi-Touch? iPhone 2.0? iPhone Nano? Etc?
 
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nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,546
1,196
Any company's battery numbers are essentially "up to"--a BEST case. Many wouldn't even measure with WiFi on.

But these results look good to me--more life than I need. I think I'll spring for the 1.8 HDD :)
 
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kuwisdelu

macrumors 65816
Jan 13, 2008
1,323
1
I agree that these are pretty good times. I don't see what people are complaining so much about. These times own the current MacBook and MacBook Pro's.

15 min short of three hours while downloading 10GB, browsing, AND watching movies? That's damn good.

Turn the speakers off like I have in class and turn down the brightness in the first test, and I could get 5+ hours on this thing easy.

BTW, does anyone know how music through headphones vs. music through speakers drain the battery comparatively?
 
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MacTheSpoon

macrumors 6502a
Jun 19, 2006
514
0
These results look good to me. And I'll bet the author didn't even condition the battery first, either!
 
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Jiddick ExRex

macrumors 65816
May 14, 2006
1,469
0
Roskilde, DK
Steve said that other ultra portables generally get 1-2 hours of battery life... and here apple is pwning ANOTHER aspect.

Someone just made an Applefanboi stinker. Phew.

When Steve tells you something in his keynote is he per definition correct?

What kind of statement is this? :rolleyes:
 
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chrisbolt

macrumors newbie
Oct 18, 2007
3
0
The quoted numbers are wrong. The graphs say 4.27, 3.42, and 2.43 hours, not 4 hours 27 minutes, etc. The time quoted at the end of the article, 4 hours 16 minutes, equals 4.27 hours.
 
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arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
15,498
3,966
The quoted numbers are wrong. The graphs say 4.27, 3.42, and 2.43 hours, not 4 hours 27 minutes, etc. The time quoted at the end of the article, 4 hours 16 minutes, equals 4.27 hours.

Oops. apologies. corrected.

arn
 
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PeterSmith

macrumors member
Nov 12, 2006
46
2
Cambridge, UK
I wonder how these battery tests do translate into real `real world use'. Say by academics/students.

A couple of hours in the office/library, writing a lecture/writing an essay, consulting a couple of online resources along the way. Twenty minute coffee break in a campus cafe with wifi, checking emails. Lecture driving a data projector (just humdrum slides, no video)/taking notes. Back to the library ....

No vid watching while 'on the road', no iTunes, modest use of wifi ...

Now, that would be a realistic test for many potential MBA users. And if that sort of use gets around five hours battery use, then I'd be very tempted!
 
Comment

Undecided

macrumors 6502a
Mar 4, 2005
696
150
California
So what?

This is a stupid test, and hardly standardized, if they're not going to compare it to other laptops, by Apple or others. Without that, what's the point? Apple's estimate is "laughable"? So what, if everyone else's is too, and in the end Apple's is "less laughable"?
 
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gnasher729

macrumors P6
Nov 25, 2005
17,373
4,602
This is a stupid test, and hardly standardized, if they're not going to compare it to other laptops, by Apple or others. Without that, what's the point? Apple's estimate is "laughable"? So what, if everyone else's is too, and in the end Apple's is "less laughable"?

The third of their test was designed to empty the battery and not related to real life in any way. You don't watch videos in a loop. You definitely don't watch _two_ videos in a loop. And you don't watch two videos in a loop while browsing the internet.

Now a big danger with a test like this is that people will say "this Apple laptop says 5 hours battery life but it only lasts 3 1/2, while this XXX laptop lasts 7 hours, that's twice as long", and they don't realise that the 7 hours is advertised with the extra says battery that adds two pound weight and costs extra, and that the 7 hours is an unchecked, advertised number. This test is pointless without putting the other laptop through an identical test.
 
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quantumbits

macrumors member
Jan 15, 2008
58
0
LOL. I love reading the subjective tripe.

Here's the deal: the TZ, which even Jobs himself admitted was the MBA's rival, has a real-world battery life ranging from 4-7 hours. Reports vary. For example, I remember one reviewer reporting a battery life of 6 hours using a screen brightness of 75%. I have yet to read any report of the MBA coming close to 6 hours.

So, let's call a spade a spade: the battery life of the MBA is nothing to boast about, especially when factoring in the price and compromised feature set. Oh yeah, one of those compromises is a readily swappable battery.

Objectively, this is yet another reason why the MBA is an overpriced, gimmicky piece of flair. Its not a sound investment; it simply enables another form of conspicuous consumption. Queue the litany of perfunctory, subjective responses (e.g. Its right for ME, not for YOU. Then don't buy one. Blah blah blah). :rolleyes:
 
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BongoBanger

macrumors 68000
Feb 5, 2008
1,920
0
Good tests there and pretty fair - these are pretty standard light, medium and heavy usage stats. A 3 to 4 hour battery life is a realistic figure and comparable with its peers.

However, if it's just going to be used for browsing and playing tunes then why not just get an iPhone or iPod Touch and save yourself some cash? The more I think about it the more the Macbook Air seems to be a deluxe iPod rather than a functional notebook.
 
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