Battery life is the new MacBook Pro’s biggest question mark

Apple’s new MacBook Pros are here, and they could actually live up to the “Pro” moniker. But there’s a big question that comes with the new sizes and new processors: How long is the battery life? To hear Apple say it, it’s going to be awesome – the company even said on stage that the 16in had the best battery life ever, outperforming last year’s Mac M1s (which it also boasted of. have the most durable batteries). But the metric Apple uses to back up this claim is a bit suspect, and its other numbers tell a very different story.

In its speech and press release, Apple says the 14-inch MacBook Pro will deliver 17 hours of video playback and estimates the 16-inch model can last an unprecedented 21 hours for Macs. But using video playback as a measure of battery life is only really useful if you’re trying to sell a particular story – not if you just want to let people know how long their laptop will actually last. On the one hand, Apple says these numbers are derived from watching a movie using the Apple TV app. This is usually not what people use their laptops for, unless they are running the marathon. the Lord of the Rings extended cuts. Additionally, modern processors have so much silicon dedicated to video playback that it has become almost effortless for them. This is a battery flex, not a battery test.

This point is confirmed by the fact that Apple’s more realistic wireless web test tells a very different story. Apple says the test involves browsing 25 popular websites using Wi-Fi, with screen brightness set to “8 clicks from bottom.” Under these conditions, the 16-inch MacBook Pro doesn’t even beat the MacBook Air M1 – it only has 14 hours of battery life compared to 15 hours for the Air. Apple’s estimate for the new 14-inch is 11 hours, the same as 2020 Intelligence Macbook Air. Even this unflattering test (for newer MacBooks, not old ones) has its limits: As of the latest news, Apple is running it with its own Safari browser instead of the more popular one (and, according to the macOS Activity Monitor, more energy intensive) Chrome. Plus, some websites will drain your battery much faster than others.

In terms of precise numbers, the 14-inch MacBook Pro has a 70 watt-hour battery, and the 16-inch brings it up to the FAA limit of 100 Wh (the 13-inch MacBook Pro M1 has a 58.2-inch battery). Wh, by comparison). Again, however, these metrics don’t tell us much. The Intel-based 16-inch MacBook also had a 100 Wh battery and only offered around eight hours of use, despite Apple’s battery life of 11 hours. In addition, Apple quotes three hours less battery life for the 14 inch compared to the 13 inch, although the new laptop has a bigger battery. Yes, that number isn’t based on a good metric, but it’s not necessarily a good sign either.

Apple cites less battery life for the 14-inch MBP than for the 13-inch, despite the battery being around 20% larger.

Apple pulled that same trick last year, but it almost didn’t matter – ARM processors lasted so much longer than Intel’s that we were willing to pass up the MacBook Air probably wouldn’t make it. Apple’s estimated 18 hours of battery life. . This year, Apple is setting even higher expectations for battery life, even though newer laptops are said to be significantly more powerful. It just seems unrealistic.

The 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros need to power more power-hungry performance cores (at least in relative terms), and they have fewer efficient cores to use when doing light work like checking email or browsing a website or of them. The standard M1 has four performance cores and four efficiency cores, while the M1 Pro and Max only have two efficiency cores, after swapping out the rest for higher performance cores: the cut eight-core M1 Pro. that comes with the basic 14-inch laptop has six performance cores, while the full 10-core M1 Pro and M1 Max have eight performance cores. They also have more powerful GPUs – the older M1 has 7 or 8 GPU cores; the new versions switch from 14 to 32.

On top of that, the 14- and 16-inch laptops have what Apple calls “advanced thermal architecture,” which includes an additional fan. Will it have a big impact? Will Apple be able to beat the extra efficiency cores of the original M1 using the size of the battery? We just won’t know until we can test these laptops in the real world. Stay tuned for our next reviews.

Excellent battery life has been the biggest story of Apple’s M1 laptops so far, with many people describing the battery life of the Air and the 13-inch MacBook Pro as “all day long.” “. It’s understandable that Apple wants to continue to take advantage of this goodwill and say that it has done it again – and while it may have, the company has yet to prove it, not with what he presented. So if you want to make sure you’re getting the MacBook with the best battery life, you might want to wait a bit before pre-ordering the new ones, at least a bit.