Macbook Pro 15 inch 2010 Antiglare Battery Life Test
How is your battery doing?
Having obtained an apple macbook pro, I went about testing its battery life and see if it was as apple had said. These are my results. The testing device is a laptop with the follow specs: A 15 inch (15") apple macbook pro line with the following customizations; an antiglare screen at 1680x1050 resolution which should by right affect battery life. The question is by how much? The hard drive used is the standard 5400 RPM drive instead of the 7200 RPM drive so as not to affect battery performance. If you have the budget to afford it you would likely stick a SSD into the hard drive instead of the usual HDDs. There probably isn't much of a change of battery life from there. For those who may be wondering, the 15" graphics cards are 256 RAM GT 330M which is far from the best, not really the worst, could really be better, but will do for Adobe Photoshop CS5 and Starcraft2.
The i5 was used at the lowest configuration, at 2.4 GHz instead of either the i5 2.53 GHz or the more expensive i7 2.66 GHz. This is for two separate reasons. For one the higher clock speeds also result in lower battery life that has been tested, especially the i7 which drags it down by a noticeable amount. Secondly, from geekbench benchmarks, there is barely discernible difference between the 3 processor chips, and one has to pay about 20% more for a 10% performance boost in the i7 as well as about 15% reduced battery life. Totally not worth it, the extra money is better spent waiting for apple to refresh the macbook pro 13" with a new intel chip now that they have given up about making their intel discrete graphics card or for a spanking fast and new SSD.
On to the test results!
The laptop was properly battery calibrated according to the Apple guidelines, that is to be charged to full (green light or fully charged statement) and then left to hold with the charger connected for 2 hours, and then later run down to be fully discharged, and left for 5 hours and more after falling into sleep mode. The macbook pro is later charged once again to be full before being used i.e. being tested.
The first test is an average day of using a macbook pro for daily run of the mill usage with several caveats. The brightness was set at slightly over half. That is at a setting of 9 out of 16 (9/16 squares). This may vary for you depending on how much light you require. I have a very sunny desk in a very sunny room in a very sunny area. If much of your work is done in places with little ambient light you can probably use a lower brightness setting. On a side note I don't really see how bright the max setting is, setting at 16 is definitely noticeably brighter than 15, but not eye burning. Helpful if you're outside in the sun, but if you have the full power of the sun behind you, it doesn't really help. The matte display definitely overpowers the glossy in this aspect. Definitely brighter than most other laptop screens.
The second caveat is that if I saw a flash website, I would focus on getting what I needed out of the website and quickly closed it. Flash has a very significant and huge hit on the battery life. On the timer it could drop 2 to 3 hours away. My advise if you work heavily with flash is to either use a flash ad blocker, or just live with it. If its facebook games that runs on flash, well, just know that you are playing it with a battery cost. *cues* evil grin.
I managed to last 8 hours 23 minutes. Take note that iTunes wasn't playing songs all the time, there were times where I switched it off. Furthermore, the dvd drive wasn't used at all. Reports have indicated that the dvd drive is the weakest part of the macbook pro hardware lineup, even increasing the boot times of the laptop.
How about for something more heavy duty?
I started installing STEAM, and as this was during the free period for Portal, that is anyone could register for STEAM and download the game Portal for free, I think it goes for about $5-$10 usually. It was a 5 gigabyte download. Since it was Portal, a large file Downloading, I thought why not add another downloading king World of Warcraft and I did. Portal managed to hit 1.2 mbps in my room but the wireless strength dropped at about a longer distance from the router, might be my lousy and old router however. WoW Downloading ranged from 200 to 500 kb/s. All in all it lasted about 3 hours 51 minutes, take note that a sizable part of the processing power would have been activated by the Steam client as well as the complicated torrent software from WoW. If you are a bit torrent user than you might want to use a bare bones torrent client if you do not have battery life. A direct http or ftp download would be easier on the battery too.
Here is an idea of the voltages
At 90% Time-> 8:32
Power Voltage: 6082 mAh
At 59% Time -> 9:45
Power Voltage: 3995 mAh
At 30% Time -> 10:53
Power Voltage: 2052 mAh
If you should be wondering, I used coconut battery after calibration to obtain the voltage settings
How about for playing games?
Now this is entirely arbitrary as it depends on the settings of your device and how high you pump the graphical settings.
At mostly maximum setting Portal lasted about 2 hours and 10 minutes on my watch on the 2010 15 inch macbook pro. And thats it for this battery test, certainly outperformed my expectations. Surprising to find that Adobe flash was such a hit on battery.
Update on January 2011
Here's an update on how my battery has been holding up
On January 10th 2011, the mah is at 90% or 6256 at an age of 9 months and 269 loadcycles.
That has been a pretty good battery maintenance strength of the apple batteries for me considering the heavy loads I put my macbook pro true!
As for the poll there are 53% saying that it is Okay or better, and the rest saying that it is horrible. So I guess it is pretty evenly split.
71 people have filled it in at this time.
Some of you may be wondering if the 2010 mbpro antiglare screen is worth it. In my opinion it is totally worth the price.
Wow, the poll shows that the people who love the battery life are just about evenly matched with those that don't. While there is a bit of self selection going on, in that mainly people with problems are looking for answers to it, do leave your comments and thoughts in the box below! You can share what it is with the battery that you have found to be troublesome or your usage settings that leads to good or bad battery times!