Consumer Reports, one of the most thorough publications to do testing on laptops, says Apple’s new MacBook Pros have problems with consistent battery life.
As a result, Apple’s latest laptops are the first from the company not to receive a “recommended” rating, Consumer Reports shared in a blog post on Thursday.
The tests included all three of Apple’s new MacBook Pro models: the 13-inch MacBook Pro without Touch Bar, and both the 13- and 15-inch models with the Touch Bar, a new kind of touchscreen integrated into the laptop’s keyboard.
Consumer Reports writes:
The MacBook Pro battery life results were highly inconsistent from one trial to the next.
For instance, in a series of three consecutive tests, the 13-inch model with the Touch Bar ran for 16 hours in the first trial, 12.75 hours in the second, and just 3.75 hours in the third. The 13-inch model without the Touch Bar worked for 19.5 hours in one trial but only 4.5 hours in the next. And the numbers for the 15-inch laptop ranged from 18.5 down to 8 hours.
Those were just a few of the results; we tested battery life on these laptops repeatedly.
Consumer Reports tests battery life using a real-world test: They turn on the laptop’s screen and surf webpages using Chrome. It’s not a test based on benchmarking software or watching video that wouldn’t require internet access, and the publication said that even recent software updates did not help the problem.
A known problem
Apple’s latest batch of laptops, which were released in October, have had reports of inconsistent battery life since they were released.
It’s unusual because Apple was well-known in the past for underpromising the battery life its laptops get.
Apple’s spec sheet promises 10 hours, but in our tests — not as rigorous as Consumer Reports, but still valid — we found the 13-inch model with Touch Bar only got about eight hours.
After the complaints surfaced, Apple released a new update to its Mac operating system that removed the “remaining” indicator from the system. The rationale? Apple told Business Insider that its MacOS battery life calculations had become less accurate:
“When combined with the differing ways people use their Mac throughout the day, the calculation of remaining battery life displayed as a measure of time has become less accurate,” an Apple spokesperson told us. “With the latest update to Sierra, we have removed the remaining time indicator.”
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