The new MacBook: battery life

Anthony Caruana
22 May, 2015
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MacBook, mac, USB-C, macworld australiaApple has made some pretty bold claims about the new MacBook’s battery life. If we’re to believe the marketing hype, the new MacBook should deliver up to nine hours wireless web browsing or up to 10 hours iTunes movie playback.

I decided to put those claims to the test.

The MacBook is intended to be a secondary computer for mobile workers who don’t need a full-powered notebook like the MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, but need something more than an iPad with a detachable keyboard. So, I’ve decided to leave my trusty MacBook Pro at home, tethered to its 27in Cinema Display and use the Macbook whenever I’m out of the office.

Today, I spent the day at the Niche office, putting the finishing touches on the next print issue of Macworld Australia. And I left the power supply at home, so I had no choice but to get through the day on a battery charge as I’ve got the only USB-C device in the office.

It’s now 5:26PM and the battery meter reports that I’ve still got 24 percent of the full charge remaining. That’s just over six and half hours of constant use. I haven’t been playing back videos, but I’ve been connected to the internet the whole time, transferring files over FTP, browsing and collecting email.

I spent some time using Pixelmator to create and edit images and used Microsoft Word all day to create and edit documents.

In short, this was a pretty normal workday and the battery was able to keep me working all that time.

Some productivity notes

The MacBook keyboard is a remarkable piece of engineering. But that doesn’t make it a great keyboard to work from all day. Although the larger keys – they’re 16 percent larger than the keys on the larger-bodied MacBook Pro – are nicely designed, the lack of travel when tapping on them is a little unforgiving.

It feels, to me, like I’m tapping my fingers on a solid table. With my MacBook Pro, there’s more than twice as much travel when I hit a key. That has a cushioning effect that’s missing with the MacBook.

The trackpad is nice and big, but the haptic feedback is somewhat wasted on me as the first thing I set on all the portable Macs I use is the ‘Tap to click’ option in System Preferences. So, I rarely, if ever, click the trackpad.

The display is very nice. Although it’s smaller than my 13in MacBook Pro, I’m not really missing the real estate. The Retina Display’s 3840 x 2160 resolution is capable of presenting a lot of information.

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