Apple makes boffo battery life new killer tech spec

All-day battery life has become the sine qua non of any new thin and light laptop worth its salt, thanks to Apple's newest MacBook Air.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
2 min read
2013 MacBook Air
2013 MacBook Air CNET

Apple hasn't lost its touch yet. Not if it can take a two-and-half-year-old design and turn it into one of today's hottest laptops.

That would be the 2013 MacBook Air, of course. CNET Reviews' take on the Air's battery life bears repeating.

While the previous 13-inch Air ran for 7 hours and 27 minutes in CNET Reviews' video playback battery drain test, "the 2013 version blows that out of the water, with an astonishing 14 hours and 25 minutes on the same test."

Reviewers and consumers don't seem to care that the Air's external design hasn't changed in two and a half years for either the 11.6- or 13.3-incher (since the fall of 2010). The display's resolution hasn't budged either.

All-day battery life is that important.

So, is this a sign of the rebirth of the laptop -- or at least a brake on its decline?

After all, Windows 8 thin-and-light laptops, aka ultrabooks, should be able to achieve similar battery-life feats. A key reason for the MBA's lasting power is Intel's new fourth-gen Core "Haswell" chip -- which is available to all takers.

Like Acer. If the upcoming Acer Aspire S7 -- which tops the Air with a high resolution 1,920x1,080 touch screen -- is any indication, PC makers will be bragging about the battery life of their machines too.

And newfangled hybrid designs like Microsoft's Surface Pro (which has been dinged for its battery rundown time) should be able to make decent battery life gains.

Problem is, this year the MacBook Air is crushing the thin-and-light Windows competition in the U.S. And all the rave 2013 MBA reviews could make life worse for PC makers.


The 2013 MacBook Air's battery life is game changing.
The 2013 MacBook Air's battery life is game changing. CNET Reviews