13-inch MacBook Pro 2015 – Battery Life
74.9 Watt-hour battery, Up to 10 hours web browsing, 12 hours of video (claimed)
The battery capacity of the MacBook Pro is the same as before, but improved efficiency means Apple has revised its estimates upwards. It now claims 10 hours of web browsing and 12 hours of iTunes video playback, which is up from 9 hours for both on last year’s model.
These claims more or less hold true, though you’ll get a huge amount of variance depending on how you use the MacBook Pro. For example, 30 minutes of 3D gaming depleted the battery by 19%, while watching a 55-minute Netflix TV episode depleted the battery by 12% – the screen was set at 60% for both tests, which was comfortable for normal indoor lighting.
That suggests you can get around seven and a half hours of Netflix streaming from the MacBook Pro. That’s less than Apple’s figure, but then it’s using offline, downloaded video, which is obviously less strenuous.
Our web browsing simulation, which refreshes a single page every 15 seconds for an hour, depleted the battery by 8%. That equates to around 12 hours of light web browsing, but closer to ten hours is realistic if you’re viewing more rich content and have more than one tab open.
Used normally, we found 7 to 10 hours is about right, depending on how you use the MacBook Pro. It’s not quite all-day battery life, but you can go a good portion of a day and not worry about charging unless you’re doing very taxing tasks.
Other things to consider
One of the main draws of the MacBook Pro over the Air is improved connectivity. AC Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 are standard across the range, but you get two Thunderbolt 2 ports, two USB 3.0 ports and HDMI. The two Thunderbolt ports can drive two 4K displays, either directly or daisy chained. There’s an SDXC card slot, too.
Of course, the price of thin and light design is very few (if any) user upgradeable parts. In fact, nothing is meant to be user serviceable, though confident users can upgrade the flash storage and several brands sell modules precisely for MacBooks. You can’t upgrade the memory, though. Most people will find 8GB ample, but 16GB is available as an upgrade, as is a 256GB flash option.
The only other upgrade options are 2.9GHz Core i5 (3.3GHz with Turbo Boost) and 3.1GHz Core i7 (3.4GHz) CPU upgrades. Few really need these upgrades, but if you think you might then jump straight to the 3.1GHz option, as each step up equates to a meagre 3% or so improvement.
Should I buy the 13-inch MacBook Pro 2015?
The only reason not to is if you don’t need a laptop this powerful. You can go from a desktop setup driving several high-res displays to working on the go with no impediments. It ticks every box a demanding owner could want, and the new Force Touch Trackpad is fantastic. It’s a wonderful laptop.
There are few direct rivals to choose from too, but there are plenty if your needs are less demanding. The likes of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2015 and Dell XPS 13 2015 (full reviews coming soon for both) have more in common with the MacBook Air, but they’re outstanding options if you can live without the extra power on offer here.
Still, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is the kind of product that converts even the most diehard Apple opponents. In fact, it’s so good it makes Apple’s own 13-inch MacBook Air look underwhelming in comparison.
SEE ALSO: Best Wi-Fi Extenders
Comfortably the best choice if you want quality, performance and portability in one, and it’s even decent value as Apple products go.
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Score in detail
Screen Quality 10
Build Quality 10
Heat & Noise 9
Battery Life 9