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​Apple working with Consumer Reports on MacBook Pro's battery issue

​After the reviews site dings the newest MacBook Pro models for their battery life, Apple's Phil Schiller tweets about test discrepancies.

Michelle Meyers
Michelle Meyers wrote and edited CNET News stories from 2005 to 2020 and is now a contributor to CNET.
Michelle Meyers
2 min read

Apple's Phil Schiller talks up the new MacBook Pro models at an October event.


Apple is working with Consumers Reports to figure out why the reviews site's battery test results for the new MacBook Pro do not match the gadget giant's lab tests and field data.

Consumer Reports published a surprise report Thursday saying it could not recommend any new MacBook Pro model due to its erratic, if not bad battery life.

"The MacBook Pro battery life results were highly inconsistent from one trial to the next," Consumer Reports said.

This is the first time a MacBook hasn't received a "recommended" designation from Consumer Reports.

Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller followed up with a tweet late Friday saying Apple is "working with CR to understand their battery tests. Results do not match our extensive lab tests or field data."

In his tweet, Schiller linked to a story from iMore that says Consumer Reports was just going for a pre-Christmas headline and should have done more testing.

Consumer Reports' review says that in-house testing revealed wild fluctuations in battery life for unplugged MacBook Pro computers. In the case of the 13-inch model without a Touch Bar, for example, battery life ranged from 19.5 hours to just 4.5 hours. Apple says the devices should operate for up to 10 hours between charges.

"The laptops did very well in measures of display quality and performance, but in terms of battery life, we found that the models varied dramatically from one trial to another," Consumer Reports said in a blog post about its MacBook Pro rating.

It ended up giving the 15-inch MacBook Pro a score of 56 points out of 100. The 13-inch versions with and without a Touch Bar got 40 and 47, respectively, out of 100.

"For the battery test, we download a series of 10 web pages sequentially, starting with the battery fully charged, and ending when the laptop shuts down," the Consumer Reports post reads. "The web pages 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."

The MacBook Pro laptops, released in the fall, haven't been as well-received as Apple would have hoped for due to issues ranging from battery life, cost, dongles required and even alleged staleness.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for more information about battery life tests and Schiller's tweet. Consumer Reports also didn't immediately respond to a requests for comment and confirmation that it's working with Apple.

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