Still piss-poor battery in i7 MBA?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by cairene2011, Sep 5, 2014.

  1. cairene2011 Guest

    Dec 17, 2013
    I have a mid-2011 MBA 11" with 4GB and 1.8 GHz i7. Back then it was advertised with 5 hours of battery life, little did I know that these 5 hours were measured with the standard i5 core and don't apply for the i7 I chose at checkout.

    Since the beginning the battery never lasted longer than max 3 hours during very light browsing or note-taking in MS Word, quickly it decreased to 2 hours and therefor forced me to constantly recharge my MBA throughout the day. In the end I had over 3500 charging cycles in 3 years and unsurprisingly the battery eventually blew up and dislocated the trackpad and the bottom row of keys.

    Apple replaced the battery at their cost admitting that the mid-2011 batteries never truly harmonized with the i7 cores. Still, even the 4 hours on the new battery are not ideal for an ultra-portable machine, so I'll buy a new 2014 MBA 11". I want to max it out again with

    1.7 GHz i7
    8 GB

    but I'm wary that this might affect my battery life yet again. Any owner of this combination around? Do you still get your 9 hours with Wifi, light browsing, word processing and something acceptable (I'm thinking 4 hours+) during editing/rendering with iMovie?

    Thanks for your help!! :)
  2. scaredpoet, Sep 5, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2014

    scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    I have a maxed-out i7, 512GB SSD, 8GB RAM 2013 MBA, and with light use (MS Word, Web browsing, e-mail) I can get up 12-13 hours of usage.

    Anandtech did a fairly thorough comparison of the i5 vs i7 on the Haswell-based (current iteration) MacBook Air. They concluded that under light use, the battery life is roughly the same (with the i7 even lasting slightly longer). Under heavy load is when the i7 starts drawing more power and battery life suffers:

    Something to note: this test was done last year using OS X Mountain Lion, and using the older 1.3GHz i5 core. Since then: OS X Mavericks added some energy saving techniques that extends the battery life by an hour or so, and the i5 MacBook Air model is now the slightly-upgraded 1.4GHz version (the i7 is the same). But the comparison should still largely be relevant: the speed bump balances out any efficiency gains, making power draw similar.

    The real question though: do you really plan on stressing this MacBook Air? If not, and all you're doing is MS Word and web browsing, why get the i7? The i5 should be plenty, and that's coming from an i7 owner. I don't regret getting what I got; it's a great laptop with a lot of punch for its size, but at the same time, I think I might not have been too unhappy with an i5, either.
  3. cairene2011 thread starter Guest

    Dec 17, 2013
    Hi scaredpoet,

    thanks so much for your input, it's incredibly helpful!

    I'm keen on the i7, because the MBA is my main (only) machine. Whenever I'm home, I power an external 21" display with it. I also do the occasional HD video-editing in iMovie, as well as the occasional minecraft session - by far not often enough to trade the MBA's portability for the power of the rMBP 13", but I still worry that the 1.4 GHz could be a bottleneck in those instances.

    Considering all of that, would you still lean towards the 1.4?

    Thank you very much for the link, going to read it right away!
  4. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    I also have a MAXED out 2013 MBA i7/8/512 and get 8-10 hours of use and still show 30% battery left.

    You battery problems would be over! Mine last a week on and off and I never shut it down and just put it to sleep. Plus I am running BootCamp and on Win7 Pro 95% of my weeks use.
  5. cairene2011 thread starter Guest

    Dec 17, 2013
    Wow!! Not bad at all!! Thanks so much for sharing, this was exactly what I was hoping to read. :)

    (PS: Love your kitteh!)
  6. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007

    The 21" display is unlikely to make a difference; since the integrated GPU handles that (and is the same for both). Minecraft might see some marginal improvement. The HD video editing is probably your biggest argument for getting the i7.
  7. cairene2011 thread starter Guest

    Dec 17, 2013
    I think so too! Plus, a more "liberal" CPU never hurts. Well, unless it drains the battery, then it does hurt indeed, but it shouldn't do that unless under heavy load if I've understood correctly. I'll sleep on it, tomorrow seems like an equally great day to order a Mac. Thanks for your help!! :)
  8. tigres macrumors 601


    Aug 31, 2007
    Land of the Free-Waiting for Term Limits
    I too have a maxed out i7 2013 MBA and I can echo the posts of >10 hours of battery. I get that running safari, VMware, and airmail.

    You should be very pleased with the upgrade.

    *I do have the 13" machine*
  9. Animalk macrumors 6502

    May 27, 2007
    Montreal Canada
    I have had nothing but exemplary battery life with my completely maxed out MBA in my first 10 months of ownership.
  10. kage207 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2008
  11. cairene2011 thread starter Guest

    Dec 17, 2013
    Thanks so much for your feedback! I suppose the battery is slightly larger in the 13" model, but I'd be happy even with the 9 hours in the 11". Anything's an improvement at this point... :D

    That's so good to hear! I think I'm ready to take the plunge. It just felt lavishly ostentatious to only upgrade for RAM (4GB-->8GB) and battery life, with everything else (CPU, screen resolution, design...) remaining pretty much the same. So I wanted to be sure that the new batteries are truly delivering. Off to the online store, thanks again to everyone! :)
  12. bambooshots, Sep 9, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2014

    bambooshots macrumors 65816


    Jul 25, 2013
    I have a mid-13 13" i7/8GB/512GB MBA and have no problems hitting at least 10, if not the whole advertised 12hr life on my computer when I'm doing actual school/productivity tasks focused on schoolwork.

    It's when I start watching youtube videos and streaming music and using FaceTime where the battery starts to get drained fast.

    ETA: I would never have called the MBA battery life piss-poor. Maybe in three years but that's a result of batteries being a consumable item.
  13. mmomega macrumors demi-god


    Dec 30, 2009
    DFW, TX
  14. macrumors 6502

    Mar 23, 2014
    Porto, Portugal

    I have an i7 from 2011.

    With Safari, Mail, iTunes and Twitter, I can easily have 5 hours of battery life.

    Chrome alone with 2 or 3 tabs gives me more or less 2 hours of battery life. I can have an website like facebook opened and things are fine, but out of nowhere the tab becomes a bit less responsive and the computer kicks in.

    Chrome is crap. I bet you use it.
  15. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    For all the optimizations Google has done to make it load fast and respond fast, they seem to have done it all at the huge expense of power efficiency. Chrome has none, and so it sucks battery pretty hard and heats up the CPU quite a bit.

    For the fractions of a second longer Safari might take do the same tasks, you're getting hours of extra battery life and a laptop that isn't a space heater. So, only use Chrome if you're really embedded in Google's ecosystem and can't leave it, or if you care about being able to brag to people that your browser loads this site .00026 seconds faster. :)
  16. Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    The update to Haswell really helped the battery department, u will be fine.

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