Ask PowerPage: iPod Video Battery Life (Updated)

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 29th, 2005, 09:00
Category: iPod

ipod-low-battery.jpgDear PowerPage:
Are you seeing/hearing complaints about battery life in the new 5G iPod’s? I’ve recently upgraded from a 3G and the expected 15 hours playback just doesn’t seem to be happening no matter what I do (current configuration: backlight set to 5 seconds, only playing music, and no photos/slideshow).
I think I’m getting in the neighborhood of eight hours play time on a “fully” charged battery.
I haven’t performed a test (welcome your suggestions) but I’m seeing battery life issues similar to my 3G. I have thought about letting it charge overnight (to fully charged status), turning it on as I leave for work, and check it when I return to see if its still playing (I actually tried this today while at home 12/28 and the iPod went to sleep instead of continuing to play). Typically that’s a 12-13 hour window. If Apple is basing their 15 hour battery life claim on use without the backlight, shuffle, or the click-wheel, that’s borderline fraud.
I regularly use the iPod while riding my bicycle indoors on a stationary trainer for an hour to 1.5 hours at a time. As of this Sunday at 3pm (12/11), the iPod had been charging for at least 18 hours. I selected the same playlist I always do of 150 songs, the shuffle setting was already active, backlight timer set to 5 seconds, and after approximately 75 minutes of playing time, the battery status had decreased approximately 15-20% (a visual estimation). There was a noticeable gap from the little + nub to the point where the battery still showed “juice.” During such use, I do not skip songs and just let it play as it sits in a jersey pocket on my lower back.
In using it while at work, I haven’t tracked the use/charging as closely, but I think it needs to be charged about every other day if I use it for 2-3 hours while working, put it to sleep, then use it again the following day for another 2-3 hours. The battery icon will be red by the time that second session ends. During these sessions, I will skip multiple songs at a time, pause randomly, and typically set it to shuffle the entire music library.
I have even seen the battery meter immediately start to reduce after pulling it off of an overnight charge, turning it on, playing 3-6 songs (again, randomly), but then activating the backlight (by just touching the wheel) to see what song is being played. I’ve also seen the + nub empty completely upon activating the backlight in such situations, and then refill as it turns off.
Did you find it odd that nowhere in the quick setup guide did it tell you how long to charge the iPod? All it tells you to do is to plug it in. I had to search on the Apple Web site and found instructions stating that a 3-hour charge brings the battery up to 80%, and 5 hours would fully charge it. So, I let mine charge initially for 5 hours, the icon on the display said charged and displayed the plug icon, so I started using it. And it ticks me off to no end that it only supports USB transfers – what a crock!
Jason Kazee
Lexington, KY
I have a iPod video 60GB, but haven’t ever got around to timing the battery run time. Any PowerPage readers out there with a 5G iPod video care to share your experiences with battery life? Post your results in the comments below. -Ed


ipod-low-battery.jpgDear PowerPage:
Are you seeing/hearing complaints about battery life in the new 5G iPod’s? I’ve recently upgraded from a 3G and the expected 15 hours playback just doesn’t seem to be happening no matter what I do (current configuration: backlight set to 5 seconds, only playing music, and no photos/slideshow).
I think I’m getting in the neighborhood of eight hours play time on a “fully” charged battery.
I haven’t performed a test (welcome your suggestions) but I’m seeing battery life issues similar to my 3G. I have thought about letting it charge overnight (to fully charged status), turning it on as I leave for work, and check it when I return to see if its still playing (I actually tried this today while at home 12/28 and the iPod went to sleep instead of continuing to play). Typically that’s a 12-13 hour window. If Apple is basing their 15 hour battery life claim on use without the backlight, shuffle, or the click-wheel, that’s borderline fraud.
I regularly use the iPod while riding my bicycle indoors on a stationary trainer for an hour to 1.5 hours at a time. As of this Sunday at 3pm (12/11), the iPod had been charging for at least 18 hours. I selected the same playlist I always do of 150 songs, the shuffle setting was already active, backlight timer set to 5 seconds, and after approximately 75 minutes of playing time, the battery status had decreased approximately 15-20% (a visual estimation). There was a noticeable gap from the little + nub to the point where the battery still showed “juice.” During such use, I do not skip songs and just let it play as it sits in a jersey pocket on my lower back.
In using it while at work, I haven’t tracked the use/charging as closely, but I think it needs to be charged about every other day if I use it for 2-3 hours while working, put it to sleep, then use it again the following day for another 2-3 hours. The battery icon will be red by the time that second session ends. During these sessions, I will skip multiple songs at a time, pause randomly, and typically set it to shuffle the entire music library.
I have even seen the battery meter immediately start to reduce after pulling it off of an overnight charge, turning it on, playing 3-6 songs (again, randomly), but then activating the backlight (by just touching the wheel) to see what song is being played. I’ve also seen the + nub empty completely upon activating the backlight in such situations, and then refill as it turns off.
Did you find it odd that nowhere in the quick setup guide did it tell you how long to charge the iPod? All it tells you to do is to plug it in. I had to search on the Apple Web site and found instructions stating that a 3-hour charge brings the battery up to 80%, and 5 hours would fully charge it. So, I let mine charge initially for 5 hours, the icon on the display said charged and displayed the plug icon, so I started using it. And it ticks me off to no end that it only supports USB transfers – what a crock!
Jason Kazee
Lexington, KY
I have a iPod video 60GB, but haven’t ever got around to timing the battery run time. Any PowerPage readers out there with a 5G iPod video care to share your experiences with battery life? Post your results in the comments below. -Ed

Recent Posts

3 Responses to “Ask PowerPage: iPod Video Battery Life (Updated)”

  1. I picked up my 30g iPod Video before taking a 3 hour flight. Charged it overnight, ripped a movie (or 3) and figured “who cares what crap Air Canada is going to show, ’cause I got my own content to watch while flying the unfriendly skys”.
    So about 75 minutes in, the iPod shuts itself down. “Oh no, I think it’s broken!”.
    So I plug it into my trusty AL PowerBook (another battery challenged machine), and sure enough, it comes back.
    Thinking I have a defect, I call Apple. Please run this simple test they say. “Set it to run through your library and see how long it runs”. “Anything under 8 hours is a problem” Mine goes 12 hours, so no claim on the battery. They do tell me that the 60 gb version has a larger battery, hence more time.
    But watching a WHOLE movie is impossible on the 30gb.
    But a 1 hour tv show without commercials, which you can buy on the iTunes store will work.
    I guess this is a new trick to speed the content delivery system – you can’t use any video but what you buy from Apple.
    Still, on music it runs really nicely, and I do enjoy it. But not for video, sorry.

  2. The bitrate and format of your music can make a BIG difference in battery life. I believe Apple’s figures are for AAC format at 128k.

  3. I was having the same problems!! but I recently bought the iPod Video Battery Pack from ib2cool.com for 60 bucks – coupon code “podcast”. It lives up to what it says it does and more!! 10 hours of video (Mine lasts for 15!!!) and 40 hours of audio (Mine lasts for 50 hours!!!)