Final Words

There’s no other way to say this. If you care about battery life and portability at all, buy the new MacBook Pro. Go to the Apple store and buy one. While I only tested the 15” model, I’m guessing the 13” model should leave a similar lasting impression.

Ever since I first looked at the power consumption specs of Nehalem I thought it didn’t make any sense to buy a new, expensive notebook before Arrandale’s launch in Q4 2009/Q1 2010. While performance will definitely increase considerably with Arrandale, Apple just threw a huge wrench in my recommendation. The new MacBook Pro is near perfect today. If you need a new laptop now, thanks to its incredible battery life, I have no qualms recommending the new MBP.

The only thing you have to come to terms with is knowing that if the roadmaps still hold, that in 6 - 9 months there will be a much faster version of your notebook on the market; most likely at the same price. Combine the performance and power efficiency of Arrandale with the battery advancements in this new MacBook Pro and you’ll have one beast of a notebook.

Today I am more than comfortable saying that this is the best Apple notebook I’ve ever laid my hands on. The build quality is excellent, the base specs are solid and of course, the battery life. There’s no doubt that it could be better; toss in an SSD or drop the price even further, but as it stands the new MBP is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a Mac laptop.

Obviously, you can attain the same battery life with a cheaper notebook and one or two spare batteries. But there’s something to be said for increasing battery life by at least 50% without increasing the bulk or weight of the system.

I’m not sure there’s much else I can add other than Good Job, Apple.

SSD: Optional and Non-Intel
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  • jyavenard - Friday, June 26, 2009 - link

    I ran my own test, similar to the one listed here... With a combination of browsing site without flash and one with.

    The test...

    Open Safari, open a window to news.google.com, display the page for 20s then refresh the content.
    Close the window, open another window to www.cnn.com (it has flash animations changing all the time). Wait 30s, refresh page...
    repeat every minute (so the Flash page is showing 2/3rd of the time)...

    Test were done on brand new macbook pro, with original hard drive, wifi on (using 802.11n 5.8GHz, 3 metres away), bluetooth on, backlight set at 4 out of 16.
    Screen was set to never goes to sleep nor display screen saver.
    keyboard backlight was disabled and so was "Automatically adjust brightness".
    All sharing services were disabled.

    MBP 13", 4GB, 2.53GHz, battery capacity: 5605mAh:
    First discharge: 6h45 (1)
    After complete battery calibration: 7h30

    MBP 15", 4GB, 2.66GHz, battery capacity: 6150mAh:
    nvidia 9400: 7h35
    nvidia 9600: 4h39

    MBP 15", 2GB, 2.33GHz, Radeon X1600, battery capacity: 3450mAh
    2h59 (2)

    (1) Was my first test, when I realised the keyboard backlight was on, and it must have been a good ¾ of the time.
    (2) This one has a battery with 318 cycles, so it may not mean much anymore.
    Reply
  • adrivit - Wednesday, June 17, 2009 - link

    How gigantic is the leap in the display of the new Macbook Pro 15 (June) from the old Macbook Pro 15 (before June). Except from the wonderful batter life increase and the SD card slot, is there any other significant increase? Having poor vision, I am concerned about the clarity and the proper color distribution/contrast/brightness of the screen, so in this case does the new Pro score hugely over the old Pro or is the old Pro good enough? Reply
  • CrArC - Wednesday, June 17, 2009 - link

    The charging method Apple is referring to is called Balance Charging, and is almost a necessity for Lipo cells, as unlike other battery technology they are very susceptible to damage by overcharging or undercharging.

    The good news is, balance charging really works. Each cell is carefully charged by the microprocessor-controlled charging system such that they are kept at almost identical voltage, so you can be quite sure the packs will last through many hundreds of cycles.

    The bad news is, Lipos are barely stable - they will happily (quickly) explode if overcharged, charged too fast, shorted, punctured or deformed, or if even you look at them funny. If people thought their laptop batteries fizzling into a fire were dangerous, then consider the Lipos to be small bombs. :)
    Reply
  • iwodo - Tuesday, June 16, 2009 - link

    Does anyone know what will happen to the battery if i keep constantly plug in to the wall.

    How long will it last? Another Laptop or Notebook tends to lose or die after 1 - 2 year of use.

    Would Apple, with it controller chip be able to prolong this lifespan?
    Reply
  • Jay2 - Monday, June 15, 2009 - link

    About the last paragraph of page #1, about the "adaptative charging". It is called Battery Balancing in the battery industry. The whole point is that an aged cell will charge more slowly, and disbalance the whole charge curve of every cells in the pack. In the long term, the whole pack age prematurly because of repeated unecessary stress.

    I recommend those two reads:
    This page (and whole site) is a good technical introduction:
    http://www.batteryuniversity.com/partone-24.htm">http://www.batteryuniversity.com/partone-24.htm
    This page is a TI application journal, well detailed and pictured:
    http://focus.ti.com/lit/an/slyt322/slyt322.pdf">http://focus.ti.com/lit/an/slyt322/slyt322.pdf

    Have fun!
    Reply
  • l0nwlf - Monday, June 15, 2009 - link

    Well I'm impressed heavily, and planning to buy it *NOW*. So can anyone tell me as to where can i buy one of the latest models launched in New Delhi (India) and what will be the approximate price in INR. The model i'm thinking of purchasing is entry-level 15.4'' screen laptop with default specs. Reply
  • Doormat - Sunday, June 14, 2009 - link

    Some folks at other sites are noticing that if the MBP 13" or 15" comes with a regular HDD its only set to run at SATA 1.5Gb/s. If it comes with an SSD its at 3.0Gb/s. Replacing the HDD with a known SATA 3.0Gb/s drive wont cause the MBP to go into SATA 3.0Gb/s. Reply
  • araczynski - Sunday, June 14, 2009 - link

    unfortunately, i think the major thing that will come out of this, is that manufacturers will now have another reason to overcharge even more for batteries. Reply
  • deslock - Sunday, June 14, 2009 - link

    Thanks for the excellent review.

    There are some anecdotal claims of exceptionally long battery life for other model laptops in this thread. I'd be interested in Anandtech publishing detailed comparison of battery life between many laptops using uniform benchmarks.

    Also FYI for anyone considering a MacBook, you can save $100 if you qualify for the educational price (frankly, it's absurdly easy to get them at that price even if you don't). Also, you get a free iPod touch and printer after rebate. Sell them on Ebay and the base 13" MacBook Pro drops to $1099 - ~$180 - ~$50 = ~$870.
    Reply
  • Pirks - Sunday, June 14, 2009 - link

    How can you fool Apple into thinking that you qualify for educational discount when you are not? Is it possible at all? I thought they require .edu email address like MS does, don't they? Reply

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