Historically, Apple’s MacBook has been relatively well-reviewed. They have been well-built machines with excellent screens, performance, and design. One of the most well-respected reviewers is Consumer Reports and that organization has always given MacBooks their recommended rating.
Until now, that is. The 2016 MacBook Pro has been the source of some consternation among Mac fans and of some less-than-favorable reviews and Consumer Reports has now jumped on the negativity bandwagon and refrained from recommending Apple’s newest laptop.
Consumer Reports was generally positive about the 2016 MacBook Pro’s display quality and performance. Where the machines fell down was in battery performance, which has been a complaint of numerous buyers and which was apparently the result of the choice of a lesser design.
According to Consumer Reports’ testing, the most significant issue with battery life wasn’t specifically how long they would run before shutting down, but rather their inconsistent battery life. The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, for example, ran for 16 hours, 12.75 hours, and 3.75 hours on subsequent tests. The 13-inch version without Touch Bar ran for 19.5 hours and 4.5 hours in different trial runs, and the 15-inch machine showed a range from eight to 18.5 hours.
The organization notes that laptops usually vary by less than five percent between tests and they were able to repeat the MacBook Pro’s inconsistent results via repeated testing. The reviewers requested a response from Apple and received the typical response: “Any customer who has a question about their Mac or its operation should contact AppleCare.”
Consumer Reports cannot be faulted for their testing methodologies, which seem fairly rigorous. The test machines were upgraded to MacOS Sierra 10.12.2 and tested again to determine if Apple resolved any battery issues in the latest update. The results were the same.
Apparently, all of the concerns about the 2016 MacBook Air’s battery life are not without merit. While lower battery life could be expected given their smaller battery capacity versus previous MacBook Air models, the incredibly inconsistent results would seem to indicate a problem that Apple is hopefully working to resolve.