MacBook Pro Battery Benchmarks (Update 6)

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Date: Tuesday, February 21st, 2006, 11:06
Category: MacBook Pro

macbook-pro-battery.jpgI did my first real test of the controversial MacBook Pro battery today.
I wanted to test the MBP battery in an unattended scenario because I have not yet migrated my data over from my PowerBook G4 1.5GHz and I needed to be productive today on my main machine. Another thing to keep in mind is that the new MacBook Pro battery has not yet been calibrated according to the instructions in the MBP User’s Guide.
Page 24 of the User Guide recommends calibrating the MBP battery as folllows…
Read more for that and the results…


macbook-pro-battery.jpgI did my first real test of the controversial MacBook Pro battery today.
I wanted to test the MBP battery in an unattended scenario because I have not yet migrated my data over from my PowerBook G4 1.5GHz and I needed to be productive today on my main machine. Another thing to keep in mind is that the new MacBook Pro battery has not yet been calibrated according to the instructions in the MBP User’s Guide.
Page 24 of the User Guide recommends calibrating the MBP battery as folllows:
- Fully charge the battery until the power plug turns green
- Let it “rest” for two hours (keeping it plugged into AC power)
- Disconnect the adapter and run the battery down (until it goes to sleep)
- Let it sleep for at least 5 hours (or longer)
- Connect it to power and charge it all the way up
Test 1:
- Screen brightness: 12 bars out of 16 (75%)
- Energy saver > Sleep:
- Put computer to sleep when inactive – Never
- Put the display to sleep when inactive – Never
- Put the hard disk to sleep when possible – Unchecked
- Energy saver > Options:
- Automatically reduce brightness – Unchecked (two places)
- Airport/WiFi – On
- Bluetooth – On (BT mouse connected)
During this time I used the machine very lightly. I launched a bunch of the bundled applications (more on launch times later) and clicked around in them a little but then I went back to using my PowerBook G4 for a while. Periodically I would go back to the MBP and click around a bit, load some Web pages, but I was not using it in a true “production” mode.
Test 1 Results:
MacBook Pro (2.0GHz, 2GB RAM, 100GB HDD):
- Estimated: 3 hours, 7 minutes (via the menu bar)
- Battery warning: 2 hours, 30 minutes
- Involuntary sleep: 2 hours, 38 minutes
PowerBook G4 (1.5GHz, 2GB RAM, 120GB HDD):
- Estimated: 2 hours, 53 minutes (via the menu bar)
- Battery warning: 2 hours, 9 minutes
- Involuntary sleep: 2 hours, 19 minutes
Test 1 Notes
This test was not exactly a scientific test as I wasn’t actively using the machine (which should help battery life) yet I had both wireless technologies on and the monitor set not to dim (which should hurt battery life). This was merely meant to be a first test at how long the MacBook Pro can hold a charge in one scenario.
Test 2:
- Energy Saver > Optimization > Normal
- Screen brightness: 8 bars out of 16 (50%)
- Energy Saver > Sleep:
- Put computer to sleep when inactive – 10 mins
- Put the display to sleep when inactive – 10 mins
- Put the hard disk to sleep when possible – Checked
- Energy Saver > Options:
- Automatically reduce brightness – Checked (two places)
- Airport/WiFi – On
- Bluetooth – On
Test 2 Results:
MacBook Pro (2.0GHz, 2GB RAM, 100GB HDD):
- Battery warning: 2 hours, 43 minutes
- Involuntary sleep: 2 hours, 51 minutes
Test 2 Notes
During this test I installed several applications from CD-ROM which uses extra energy but only for less than an hour. The rest or the time was spent running Photoshop benchmarks (about 30 minutes) and surfing the Web.
To-Do:
- Full battery calibration (in progress)
- Test other battery usage scenarios: (DVD playback, “Internet cafe mode”, typical active use)
Please keep in mind that it takes three hours to charge and three hours (give or take) to exhaust a MacBook battery, so these results won’t all be completed tonight. I will post more benchmarks as I get them.
MBP battery FAQs:
Q. How does it compare to the PowerBook 15-inch battery?
A. See results above.
Q. How long does it take to charge?
A. The MBP battery takes almost exactly three hours to fully charge when shut down. I have not yet timed re-charing while asleep or while running.
Q. Have you tried Coconut Battery?
A. Christoph Sinai’s amazing Coconut Battery did not run on the MacBook Pro (despite it being Universal), I have emailed him about it.
If you have any suggestions fo other battery benchmarks you’d like to see post them in the comments below.

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