Retina MacBook Pro Beats 18 Windows 8 Laptops in Battery Life Test

Monday March 11, 2013 7:01 AM PDT by Ben Lovejoy
The 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro beat 18 Windows 8 laptops in a battery-life test conducted by Which?, the UK consumer test organization with a reputation for the most detailed testing in the industry.

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In the web-browsing test where most laptops performed best, the Acer Aspire M5-581T was the longest-lasting Windows 8 machine at 358 minutes, while the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro lasted 30 minutes longer. The Which? test was primarily aimed at comparing Windows 8 machines, but they included two non-Windows machines as a contrast. The MacBook Pro topped the list, while a Samsung Series 3 Chromebook came out in the middle of the pack at 224 minutes.
The longest running Windows 8 laptop for web browsing is the Acer Aspire timeline Ultra M5-581T – a 15.6″ screen, 2.1kg ultrabook. It lasted almost six hours on battery – enough to get you to from London to Middlesbrough and back – and fell 30 minutes shy of the battery life of the 13″ Apple Macbook Pro Retina, but costs around £500 less.

If you switch to watching movies from the Acer’s hard disk, you’d get four hours and 37 minutes of movie viewing time – a little over an hour less than the Macbook.
Similar to Consumer Reports in the United States, Which? is known for scientific approach and detail in its testing. For example, product testers hook up laptops to lab gear to measure power consumption, use thermal imaging systems to measure heat and use light-measurement kits to test screen brightness.

Related roundup: MacBook Pro

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21 months ago
I would like to see the results after 100-300 cycles, see where they all are, might even see a bigger gap than the above results.
Rating: 13 Votes
21 months ago

I'd like to know if these were clean installs of Windows.

Windows can be very light when installed. Many of these OEMs load SO MUCH CRAP onto the systems, though. Trial AV may load on start (even if Win8 already has it built-in), some silly 3rd-party toolbar or dock may load on start. Maybe something like the Bing Desktop or Ask Tool bar or whatever loads on start.

"New" Windows computers sometimes ship with around 80 things in the Add/Remove Programs screen.


Probably tested as received, which is how it should be. 90% of people are just going to run windows with all the crapware on it because that's how it's set up when they buy it, so testing it in a theoretical setup that only a small percentage of people will use is a pointless test.

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More likely it's the 15" touch screen and the spinning disk in the Acer vs flash and 13" screen in the Mac.


Bad argument as the 15" screen gives more room for battery. It's been said that the latest chromebook has an unusual aspect ratio and rather large screen bezels for no reason other than to lessen the design constraints and to give them 100 lines of horizontal resolution so they can call it the "HIGEST RESOLUTION LAPTOP DISPLAY EVAR!!!!!111!11!". Oh, and we can't forget that the MBP is running a display with 4x the pixels, and a processor that's 50% faster.
Rating: 10 Votes
21 months ago
wow its that good huh. thanks to OS X.
Rating: 6 Votes
21 months ago
PC manufacturers still have a long way to catch up
Rating: 6 Votes
21 months ago
Is it because Mountain Lion is 'leaner' overall than Windows 8 or just has better power saving algorithms?
Rating: 5 Votes
21 months ago

6.4 hours huh?
my 4.5 year old thinkpad t400 gets that now. got 10 to 12 new.

which? should do a comparison versus premium laptops, not acers and advents.
this is like comparing a ferrari to a prius in fuel efficiency.

sorry but that's the stupidest analogy I'm yet to read ... Comparing Ferrari to Prius in fuel economy ,. Well surely you mean the rMBP Is the Ferrari right ? In that case a fezza winning a fuel efficiency contest is excellent news for it
Rating: 5 Votes
21 months ago
I would like to know how the retina MacBook Pro would perform, in terms of battery life, running Windows 8 on BootCamp...
Rating: 5 Votes
21 months ago

I agree. It would even out the playing field and strictly compare the hardware of all the machines.

If they wanted to compare the software, then they need to get identical machines (say, multiple rMBPs with the same specs) and have one run OS X and the other run Windows 8.

As is, this "scientific" test is a bit... lacking in its scientific rigidity.


A PC review place isn't going to go to that effort. It's been done by Mac fans. The results are always really bad for PC OEMS. In general Macs Running Windows with APPLE-MADE drivers still do slightly better than the PC guys across the board. It's still true when you carefully line up same clock speeds, ram, etc... Even if only a tiny bit sometimes.

That's just a little bit insulting when PC OEMS who's ONLY JOB is to run Windows get beat by Apple with the same hardware. PC reviewers don't keep sponsors very long pointing that out.
Rating: 4 Votes
21 months ago

Yeah, I think I would do this too.

I've been shopping around for Windows 8 touchscreen laptop/tablet hybrids (like the Lenovo Yoga 13, Dell XPS 12, or even the Surface Pro). I'm still on the fence. One option I am keeping on the table is to buy a MacBook Air and install Windows on it as a dual-boot. I'd lose the touchscreen, though, which is a lot of the appeal of Windows 8.


I have a rMBP, and smudges on the screen annoy me, they still manage to get there without a touchscreen, I can't imagine how crazy I would go if I touched it on purpose. I am not sold on touchscreen on a laptop, but that's just me. I would not consider that a loss. I see the touch on windows 8 more as lipstick on a pig.

Maybe if you're lucky apple will update the macbook air to retina before you buy making your choice easier.
Rating: 4 Votes
21 months ago

The new Samsung Series 7 Chronos is getting around 10.5 hours. It certainly more than what my current mpb can do.


It gets 10.5 hours when Samsung measures it. How many hours when "Which" measures it?
Rating: 4 Votes

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