Apple MacBook Air (13-Inch) Review

Battery Performance

Battery Performance
Testing With Vdeo Playback
To measure the battery performance, we played back a 2GB MP4 video file (3ivx MPEG-4) from the laptop's hard drive--the file had been transcoded and compressed from the main feature title of a DVD movie. On Mac laptops, the file was played back using the QuickTime Player. On Windows laptops, the file was played back using Windows Media Player. Brightness and volume were set to 50-percent and headphones were plugged into the laptop's headphone jacks. The Windows systems' power settings were set to Balanced. In those instances when the movie ended before the the battery died, the movie was started again from the beginning.

Apple claims that this MacBook Air can last 7 hours even while surfing the Web via Wi-Fi. We saw the machine last 6 hours, 20 minutes even looping video. That's really impressive actually. We're confident that you could stretch that to 7 hours if you didn't do something as intensive as loop video. When we test Windows laptops, we typically use Battery Eater Pro; with that test, the best we typically see is in the 3 to 4 hour range--sometimes 5 hours if we're really lucky. We can't really compare the video playback results here to the Battery Eater Pro results, as the two methodologies use very different workloads. Regardless, many scoff at Apple for choosing to keep the battery sealed with the new Macbook Air, but there's not too much need for a secondary battery anyway when 7 hours of run time is within reach with the current setup.

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