Apple MacBook Pro's 2016 model has now become the first MacBook from the company to not receive a recommendation from product testing firm Consumer Reports. Even though Consumer Reports found that the laptops fare well in terms of the display quality and performance, the battery life varied "dramatically" over the trial. The report echoes complaints from consumers since the launch.
The primary problem that Consumer Reports found with the three models of the new MacBook Pro 2016 laptop was regarding the inconsistent battery performance. Battery life is an important attribute for a laptop and also forms a significant portion of Consumer Reports' overall score, the company said in its report.
All three models reportedly failed to meet Consumer Reports' standards for recommended models in the testing.
"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," Consumer Reports said.
Consumer Reports pointed out that this is a departure from previous versions of MacBooks, which were even able to deliver more battery life than promised by Apple in some cases. It further pointed out that even though Apple claims that the laptops should deliver a battery life of 10 hours, some users have complained on Apple's support forum that the battery on their laptop was able to last for just three or four hours.
"For the battery test, we download a series of 10 webpages sequentially, starting with the battery fully charged, and ending when the laptop shuts down. The webpages are stored on a server in our lab, and transmitted over a Wi-Fi network set up specifically for this purpose. We conduct our battery tests using the computer's default browser-Safari, in the case of the MacBook Pro laptops.
During the tests, we set each laptop screen to remain on. We use an external meter to set the display brightness to 100 nits-a typical level you might use indoors or out. And, we turn off any automatic brightness adjustment in the laptop's settings," it said.
Even though Consumer Reports ran its tests on the Safari browser first, it tried the same tests using Chrome browser later. Interestingly, it found the battery life to be consistently high on all six runs. Chrome browser is usually considered to be a more demanding browser that drains the battery at a faster rate than other browsers but the recent power efficiency updates might have caused the noticeable improvement.