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Mossberg: New MacBook Pro batteries have tradeoffs

updated 10:50 am EDT, Mon June 29, 2009

Mossberg on MBP batteries

The batteries in Apple's new MacBook Pros hold up to testing, but have some definite tradeoffs, notes Walt Mossberg. The All Things Digital writer recently tested 13- and 15-inch systems, placing their batteries under heavy strain by enabling Wi-Fi, maximizing brightness, disabling all power-saving functions, and looping music playback. The 13-inch computer held out for just under five hours, while the 15-inch model lasted five hours and 21 minutes.

Both Pros are officially claimed to last seven hours, and this is realistic given normal usage scenarios, says Mossberg. Due to practical testing concerns, it is unknown if the batteries will last five years or 1,000 charges, as Apple also states.

Single-charge longevity is said to be achieved by sealing the batteries, thereby enabling larger sizes. The strategy significantly impacts the usefulness of a Pro however, as a battery can only be replaced through Apple's service network. Mossberg notes that for most buyers, this may be a minor issue; at an Apple Store the process is a one-day affair, and no more expensive than what a removable battery used to cost from the company. Major difficulties arise for travelers, who may find power cutting out when they have no means of recharging.

Mossberg further notes that despite price cuts MacBooks remain more expensive than Windows systems, which also tend to feature removable batteries. Apple only manages to compensate with software bundles, better security and what may be a preferable operating system.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. VinitaBoy

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +7

    What the . . .

    "Apple only manages to compensate with software bundles, better security and what may be a preferable operating system."

    What the fsck, Walt?! I, too, can name a thousand scenarios in which the new battery could, maybe, possibly, perhaps be a problem. SO WHAT? THREE YEARS OF ALMOST CONSTANT USE IS NOT WORTH THE TROUBLE?

    And what about the potential upside of better software, security, and ease of OS usage?! ". . . only . . ."?? What is wrong with you, Walt? What's with the "only"?

    No battery is worth a c*** if the computer it's running is locked up completely with trojans, spyware, adware, bloatware, worms, viruses, and general electronic malaise!

    Gawd, Walt. Get a life . . . and a new brain, OK?

  1. 350Z

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -2

    Behave youself

    VinitaBoy, that was just a review. Act your age. How can one control anything in life, if he cannot control himself?

  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -2

    Out of touch

    Mossberg is trying to hard to justify his role as a "public" tester for Apple in all things technical. He repeats what the birdbrains say on these forums. He IS out of touch and should quit shilling for Apple as he is not doing a very good job. David Pogue is much more on top of it.

  1. bjojade

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    Solutions

    There ARE external batteries available, so that is a solution for those that need more power time between charges. Slightly less convenient as you have to have the external brick connected to use it, but you don't have to shut down or sleep your machine to connect it, so that's a bonus.

    As far as price comparison, do a price comparison of a machine with the same feature set. The big one that's often missed is the LED backlit display. That can be a feature that competitors charge as much as $300 for.

    Non-removable batteries is NOT a huge issue. In my history of owning laptops, I have NEVER carried a spare battery. Having an internal battery that lasts longer is certainly a bonus for me!

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Ridiculous attempt

    Ok, seriously now. If that was Mossy's attempt at putting a machine under the stress a pro would during normal use, that's just sad.

    Anybody with half a brain would consider him a laughing stock if he asks to be taken seriously under that premise. A real test would consist of REAL PROFESSIONAL APPLICATIONS being used and running routines that would consider hard-core processes. Most benchmark test at least give a nod to this method.

    My guess that working a 3D-modeler where you've got graphics card constantly re-rendering or processing video effects and splicing or mixing large audio tracks down or playing back a whole symphony of MIDI instruments for composition purposes would be more realistic, and drain the battery a h*** of a lot more than playing music.

    People who look at Macs for business use generally don't count Walt-the-shill as a reliable source. This is yet another reason why. IT purchasing agents and professionals looking for tools to do their work and have money and time and stake look at more in-depth, specific-task-oriented reviews anyway. We'll wait months past initial releases before even considering pros and cons- gotta wait for the bugs to rear their beady-eyed heads before buying the kool-aid.

    As to replacement, yes, turnaround time can be important, but when it's work covered by warranty, you can plan ahead to have it replaced.

  1. odowd80

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    Apple compensates

    Walt missed a number of features that make Apple computers worth more than PCs. First, design cannot be overlooked as having added value. I greatly appreciate the solid build quality of the unibody design and the magsafe connection. Second, Apple has a long track record of providing superior customer service when compared to top PC brands. Third, price comparisons often overlook the fact that Apple uses DDR3 RAM rather than the DDR2 found in most cheap notebooks. Finally, the resale value for a used Apple machine is always higher than used PCs, so if you buy a new machine every 2-3 years and sell your old one, it makes up for the extra up-front cost and then some.

  1. MyRightEye

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +6

    Ridiculous...

    I am in LOVE with the new battery. I am a writer, and sitting outside in a cafe I can write for 5 solid hours with the screen at full brightness. This is compared to 3 hours with previous models. I no longer have to take the power adaptor. I am in mobile heaven. It also charges WAY faster too. I am more than VERY impressed.

  1. VinitaBoy

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    @Behave yourself

    Oooooh . . . you are so very superior, calm, rational, and self-possessed that I can barely hold up my head in the face of the shame and humiliation I feel at this moment. May I be permitted to grovel and prostrate myself in your lofty presence, sir or madam, or would that not suffice to mollify your dissatisfaction with my posting?

    That said, may I inquire how you know my age? Are you prescient? Are you John Edwards in disguise? Either way, and once again, I am truly humbled by your Olympian judgment and presence of mind in the face of such contumely found in my previous posting.

    Easy lies the heads of such beatific minds as yourself, n'est-ce pas?

    And with that proffered . . . I shall crawl back into my lowly hole and lick the wounds you have so ungraciously inflicted. Verily, I thank you, sir or madam. May I have another? (Oh, and one more thing: Feel free to fsck yourself.)

  1. mike3k

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    battery life

    That's a lot better than the barely 2 hours I get with my previous generation Unibody 15" with no power-saving functions.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -4

    Re: What the

    What the fsck, Walt?! I, too, can name a thousand scenarios in which the new battery could, maybe, possibly, perhaps be a problem. SO WHAT? THREE YEARS OF ALMOST CONSTANT USE IS NOT WORTH THE TROUBLE?

    Well, if Apple wasn't prone to having battery problems, it wouldn't be so much an issue. But I don't like the idea of having to wait 3-5 days to get a battery replaced because it died on me after 1 year, like my MBP's did.

    No battery is worth a c*** if the computer it's running is locked up completely with trojans, spyware, adware, bloatware, worms, viruses, and general electronic malaise!

    Right. Because every PC out there is locked up malware, trojans, etc, etc, etc. As hard as it is to believe, most people don't have a problem keeping their computers clean, and never see their virus scanner tell them anything except "Time to renew!"

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