Tips for improving battery life MBA 11.6

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by se1961, Nov 8, 2010.

  1. se1961 macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2010

    I am running windows 7 on my new MacBook Air-- this is a requirement for my work, so can't be changed. I bought the MBA because it's a beautiful laptop, thin and light, great screen, and great keyboard. My battery life, however seems to be terrible, especially compared to statistics I have seen on other reviews/threads.

    At the moment, when I am unplugged, I have brightness at 30%, I have the hard drive set to sleep when not in use. I have bluetooth turned off and wifi on. I almost exclusively use the computer to work on google docs. So, turn on the computer, work for half an hour, in Chrome, either sending and receiving emails or writing in Google Docs. (I can't figure out if this qualifies as "light browsing", but based on my battery drain I would say it's not...) I have a plug-in to block flash, and haven't been running flash on any website since I started using the computer.

    Here are my statistics:

    Last night, typed (on the web) for half an hour and went from 100-80% battery.
    Put the computer to sleep for 9 hours, and when I woke the computer it was at 74% battery.
    Typed and checked email for forty minutes, went to 57%
    Woke the computer two hours later and was at 49%
    typed (on the web) for half an hour and was at 29%
    put the computer into hybernate, turned it on ten minutes later at was at 27%
    I've now been typing for about half an hour and I'm at 15%.

    I'm losing, roughly, 20% of my battery for each half hour of typing in a browser, with flash disabled. That means 2.5 hours of browsing. I need to get 4 hours if I'm going to keep the computer.

    I am really not interested in starting a long debate about whether it is or is not crazy to run windows on a mac. Please believe me, I have read all those threads, and considered my own situation, and would really love to use this computer as my traveling laptop, if I can get it to work. Can anyone think of why I would be losing my battery so fast? Any tweaks I could make?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    Honestly, the problem is most likely the fact that you are running windows. I have the same problem when I run mine on windows on battery, it simply uses more power. Honestly, if you have to run windows, I would recommend a small windows laptop. You really can't get great battery life out of a mac running windows.
  3. smartalic34 macrumors 6502a


    May 16, 2006
    This is probably a stupid question, so forgive me for asking, but is your work environment such that you don't have access to a power outlet?

    I agree though, Windows is power hungry on the Mac. It simply hasn't been optimized the way Mac OS X has, as it would probably require a lot of invasive coding by Apple. I routinely get 1/3 the battery life on Windows XP that I do in 10.6, even with power saving features turned on in Windows.
  4. se1961 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2010
    Thanks to both of you for your replies. That's basically what I needed to hear: 1/3 the life is about what I'm getting here. Sigh.

    Yes, I do have a power outlet, but part of the reason I got this computer is to slip it into my bag, get on a plane and not think about whether or not I will be able to work for the next four hours. It seems that my best solution will be to get a small windows computer.

    I am exasperated by the piecemeal engineering of windows laptops, and had hoped that with this new iteration of the macbook, I could jump ship, at least to the hardware. :(
  5. smartalic34 macrumors 6502a


    May 16, 2006
    You stated that most of your work is using Google Docs... what if you used Mac OS X while traveling and used Windows when required at work (and near an outlet)? You would get Apple's advertised battery life if you just used a web browser (Chrome for Mac is decent if you wanted to continue using that). You wouldn't lose any interoperability by switching operating systems with the same document (as far as I know).

    Or, you could get a small windows notebook as mentioned...
  6. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    What is it that drives you to Windows? Under OS X the box should last >4 hours for the uses you specify (light->moderate web browsing).

    (EDIT: Work requirement, yet how would they know?)

    My experience is that the Windows boxes that are performance competitive with the Mac have sucky battery life.

    Anyone have experience running a Windows VM on the MBA and how that affects battery life vs. Boot Camp?

  7. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2010
    The battery life seems right. The battery is only 35 Watt hour. Most PC laptops would only last 1 hour with this sized battery, so you're actually getting good battery life.
  8. 87racer macrumors member


    Nov 15, 2010

    I have been using windows 7 professional in the new coherence mode that parallels v6 now has. I do get shorter battery life but much closer to 5 hours rather than 2.5. Somewhere in the settings for the virtual machine there is an option to pause the vm when no applications are open and i have that set. As others have suggested I would use all the mac applications you can (chrome for google docs) and only use windows when there isnt an equivalent program that you could use in mac (like maybe office visio or project?).

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