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.