Thinking about a MacBook Pro retina 13

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by dblkk, Sep 4, 2014.

  1. dblkk macrumors newbie

    Sep 4, 2014
    Wondering what the average usage battery life truly is. Not just simple light web browsing. But multiple applications open, and actually using the laptop. Brightness around 50-60%. Im not going to state actual programs but just a decent load, not full load but not light. What is the battery life (if just ranges that fine to) that you get?

    And with one note, I see you can get office 365 on a mac now, but how is it compared to full windows version?
    I use it for my everything. Note taking, excel, all that.

    Start this off, I have always had the surface pro since launch. My first one croaked and I immediately went with the new surface pro 3. While its soo much better than the first, I was expecting better battery life. Alas, with my usage battery is (while still a tad better) a mix of 4-5 hours.

    My use is Onenote, outlook, kindle desktop app, calculator, and a few web pages every hour. Surface pro that equals about 4.5 hours.

    Just web browsing or light stuff, I can manage 5-5.5 hours.

    Problem is, either at work or school, I get there at 8am, and by noon im chasing for a charger.

    Since ive had the surface pro for about 2 years now, ive really become accustomed to it (being touchscreen, and pen support). I've been taught some awesome things on the MacBook at best buy. And last week have tried to only use the surface as a laptop. Trying to narrow down if I 'need' the pen, or since Ive always had it just used the pen. So far, laptop only has worked fine. And I do have a galaxy note 10.1 with pen support for when I 'need' a pen for like ladder logic, circuit drawing, ect. But I just wanted to see if the pen was a sometimes needed or a needed.

    So the pen is nice, but not 'needed' in every day.

    So if the battery life is vastly better, and full fledge one note windows vs apple is the same, id probably start to sway MacBook.
  2. Rhyalus macrumors 6502


    Mar 4, 2011
    I have a new 13" retina - 8GB of RAM, 512GB SSD, 2.8GHz.

    It is a bit early to be sure, but I use Office apps all day, web, Lync, Skype, calculator, etc... and I think I can push 6-7 hours.

    Better than my mid 2011 non-retina that I just moved from.

    To be honest though, your requirements would probably be satisfied by an Air model, which would have better battery life.

    FWIW, there is really no such thing as Office 365 for Mac... you end up with Office 2011 (unless I am doing something terribly wrong). For most purposes, Office 2011 is fine, but it is not as feature rich as it is on PC. Not to mention that is has been a few years since a new version came out.

  3. dblkk thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 4, 2014
    Awesome and thank you. I was very sure that office 365 would install on a mac. So I immediately googled it after you said it didn't. Found out were both right. Office 365 does work on mac, so my account would allow me to d/l it to a mac. But it would be office 2011 on a mac. So I guess I will look into the differences a little more on one note.

    As for the air, I would get it. But I also want to use photoshop elements 12 and lightroom 5. Would run some other heavy hitters like autocad and stuff, but that would be last minite tweaking or changing, nothing that id sit down for hours on. I have a workstation laptop for that. I want something small, thin, light, extremely portable like my surface, but also has enough umph for times I need it. Plus im used to 1080p on everything, and now 3k on desktop monitors and MacBook retina 'almost' res on my new surface with 3k on my Lenovo (which I will be bringing back as battery is even worse than surface.

    But although programs and our daily lives are different, it looks like you actually use your mac. So thank you for (what is an early estimate of your battery life).

    6-7 hours isn't what I was hoping to see, I was hoping 8ish. But at least it sounds reasonable vs reviews giving it 9+.

    Reviews gave actual battery life of surface 7-8 hours vs 9 oem stated, and gave Lenovo yoga 2 pro 6.5 hours vs oem stated 9. I get 4-5 on surface and 5 Lenovo. Lenovo is a solid 5, light, medium, medium high usage its all 5. Surface can vary by hours, and im guessing apple to.

    But anyways, now im rambling, thank you. I hope to get a few more comments with some more battery averages. But I believe you and sounds like our days are similar, so again THANK YOU!
  4. Rhyalus macrumors 6502


    Mar 4, 2011
    It is really about what you do with the computer that determines the battery life.

    Some days I am doing just emails and mild web work, while other days the fans are going due to flash video or big giant excel spreadsheets with monte carlo simulations.

    Also, some days I am running a wireless headset charging from USB, etc....etc...etc...

    So "your mileage may vary" is really true.

    Good luck,
  5. dblkk thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 4, 2014
    Another quick question for you. How is the 'lapability'? Like do you use it on your lap? Does it get to hot? Or any other factors that wouldn't make it ideal for use on your lap? I would use it for some flash like you tube but never more than a few short random videos, mainly web browsing. I use the surface as tablet for this alot, and back gets warm while YouTube is going, but using new kickstand all the way back the actual back of surface never touches me.
  6. Rhyalus macrumors 6502


    Mar 4, 2011
    I think it is pretty good on the lap. It does not get hot under most circumstances, though I would not game with it.

    FYI, I installed Macs Fan Control to keep an eye on the CPU temp and the fans.

    Also, compared to the mid 2011 version (non retina) it is lighter and thinner.

    I have a large i7 PC laptop with discrete GPU for more intense work, but for office work and especially for portability, the MBP is a great choice.

    Things I don't like about the new version:

    • No power light
    • No external battery level indicators like the old models
    • No way to upgrade RAM or SSD
    • Power button is now like a regular keyboard button as opposed to a flush button
    • Only two USB ports

    Blackmagic benchmark shows 715+MB/s read and write...that is pretty sick.

  7. TechGod macrumors 68040


    Feb 25, 2014
    New Zealand
    As a technicality, you can. But compatible SSD's just haven't been released yet.
  8. dblkk thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 4, 2014
    Again, thank you. You have done an excellent job at being my eyes and hands on feel for the MacBook.

    Other than a quick guide at bestbuy on how to use the MacBook ive no other experience. It really seems to be a great laptop, now I just have to figure out if loosing tablet/pen is worth battery and better keyboard. But so far I am leaning towards the MacBook.

    This device (whether stay surface or go MacBook) is just my portable good battery device. I have beast of a pc i7 dual gpu's watercooled, and I also have an MSI GT70 which was pretty much changed from stock to workstation, i7 4810, 24gb ram, upgraded from single 1tb hhd to 3x 500gb msata ssd's (windows 8, windows 7, scratch disk), and 1tb 2.5" ssd, sold the gtx 880m and bought a quaddro k5100m. But at 8.5lbs, 17", and 3 hours of light use battery, its not something that's easy to just carry with nor is it needed for light office web email ect. But it definitely holds its own when I need work done but not at home.
  9. Sheza macrumors 68000


    Aug 14, 2010
    Cambridge, UK
    I was facing a similar problem - I tried out the SP3 in a store and it just wasn't as good as the Mac in terms of keyboard and trackpad, and I couldn't see myself replacing paper with the pen & digitizer, my handwriting was poor on it. A good device, but not for me. I needed a great typing experience.

    Uni hasn't started yet so I can't say what the typical life would be on a MacBook, but it seems to enjoy estimating me around 9 hours when no apps are classed as using significant energy - i.e. non-Flash based Safari browsing, basic programs. When heavy usage starts, it tends to drop its estimation down to around 5 hours, but this goes back up when I stop using it heavily.

    I am weary of the battery life and using heavy programs on the MacBook as I have never owned a laptop before so I'm used to having a PC on High Performance. My iPhone 5's battery experience also makes me feel worried for the battery life, but I think it is okay and I think it is better than the SP3.

    In terms of Office, the only version available at the moment for Mac is Office 2011, which uses an ugly interface (albeit one that is mostly updated for the retina display). I am still deciding whether to stick with Pages, Office 2011 or Office 2013 for PC running in Parallels. Rumour has it that they are soon to release Office for Mac 2014 though, so that could be good. Of course that will be part of the Office 365 subscription.

    I liked the SP3 but didn't really need any of the things that made it great. I love my MacBook Pro - though it's a myth that MacBooks work flawlessly, I've had some software issues, most worryingly when Razer Synapse crashed and had an energy usage of 99 and I had to reboot the MacBook to stop it.
  10. Medic311 macrumors 68000


    Jul 30, 2011
    i briefly had the 2014 Macbook Air and while it's a great machine, the screen is absolutely horrendous. it's worse than my $370 Acer. i returned it and got the Macbook Pro Retina 13" and it's absolutely amazing. the screen is INSANE. it only weighs ~ 0.5 lb more than the Macbook Air and it's not that much thicker than the Macbook Air either. in fact, the MBP Retina takes up a smaller physical footprint width/length wise

    my battery life under light use was 11 1/2 hrs
    my battery under medium usage was 7 hrs
    heavy usage i pulled 5 1/2 hrs
  11. dblkk thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 4, 2014
    Wow, I cannot thank you guys enough for your inputs.

    I guess its really up to me now, whether im willing to give up surface (tablet/pen/windows) for the better laptop (only) with better battery/keyboard/unsealed).

    I really wish broadwell would come earlier than next year for both the surface and MacBook.
  12. dblkk thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 4, 2014
    Just wanted to thank everyone again for all your help and input.

    I ended up going and getting the macbook pro retina 13 last night from Best Buy.

    First use, so all updates, syncing, installing parallels, windows 8 pro, office 365 onto that, sony vegas pro 13, and a whole bunch of other programs, all my music and videos off iTunes, just did the whole lot.

    Ended up at like 3am with 30% battery left, and according to activity monitor, had been on battery for minuets short of 7 hours, with estimated 3 hours remaining. WOW!

    I never would've hit that on the surface pro, especially with the load it was under the whole time, let alone another 3 hours left.

    But parallels does indeed suck battery. I was around 50% for the first 6 hours, that last hour was on windows through parallels and that took 20% away.

    But overall, still miss the surface as I've had one now since the very first launch. But Im really starting to enjoy using the mac.
  13. s2mikey macrumors 68020


    Sep 23, 2013
    Upstate, NY
    A most excellent choice. I too was considering the Air but I am so happy I went with the rMBP. You're gonna love it..... :D
  14. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Congrats on your new baby :)

    I'm on vmware and hadn't noticed a huge hit on my battery, admittedly, I just installed version 7. When I get home tonight, I'll have to look into that.

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