Consumer Reports cites varying battery performance on 2016 MacBook Pros, holds back recommendation on new notebooks

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Date: Friday, December 23rd, 2016, 05:08
Category: battery, Hardware, MacBook Pro, News, Touch Bar

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Consumer Reports feels there’s an issue with the 2016 MacBook Pro battery.

The publication, which has reviewed the notebook, Consumer Reports explained that while the new models held up well in terms of display quality and performance, the battery life issues were too big of an issue to overlook.

The organization tested three MacBook Pro variants: a 13-inch Touch Bar model, a 15-inch Touch Bar model, and a 13-inch model without the Touch Bar. The general consensus was that “MacBook Pro battery life results were highly inconsistent from one trial to the next.”


The publication explained that it saw a 13-inch Touch Bar model MacBook Pro exhibit 16 hours of battery life in one test and 3.75 hours in another, while the non-Touch Bar model maxed out at 19.5 hours, but also lasted just 4.5 hours in another test. The 15-inch model ranged from 18.5 hours to 8 hours.

Per the article:

For the battery test, we download a series of 10 web pages sequentially, starting with the battery fully charged, and ending when the laptop shuts down. The web pages are stored on a server in our lab, and transmitted over a WiFi network set up specifically for this purpose. We conduct our battery tests using the computer’s default browser—Safari, in the case of the MacBook Pro laptops.

During the tests, we set each laptop screen to remain on. We use an external meter to set the display brightness to 100 nits—a typical level you might use indoors or out. And, we turn off any automatic brightness adjustment in the laptop’s settings.

Interestingly enough, the Consumer Reports piece mentions running Google Chrome throughout many of its tests. Chrome is referred to as a power hog by some macOS users and is felt to drain the battery more quickly than Apple’s Safari web browser. Today’s findings, however, show that might have changed with the latest version of Chrome and the new MacBook Pro models.

Consumer Reports has generally been favorable towards Apple in the past. The organization has praised the company’s tech support, the Apple Watch, and iPad. Consumer Reports also found the iPhone 6 “Bendgate” issue to be less of a problem than initially thought, though the publication was rather hard on the iPhone 4 “Atennagate” flaw.

If you’ve snagged a new 2016 MacBook Pro notebook and noticed significantly varying battery performance from what you expected, please let us know in the comments.

Via 9to5Mac and Consumer Reports

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