On one of the busiest shopping days of the year, Consumer Reports dropped a bombshell of a report where, for the first time in history, it was unable to give Apple’s MacBook Pro a ‘buy’ recommendation. The root of the problem is that Consumer Reports found battery life on Apple’s new notebook to be wildly inconsistent.
While testing all three of Apple’s next-gen MacBook Pro models, Consumer Reports saw battery life fluctuate between 19.5 hours on the high-end and 4.5 hours on the low-end. All the more curious is that CR’s testing involved loading up a continuous stream of web pages in a browser, hardly a test designed to put a machine through the ringer.
In the wake of the above report, some have been quick to call CR’s methodology into question. Indeed, the erratic results CR encountered prompted many people to wonder why the publication didn’t take a closer look at their own testing methods.
To this point, Rene Ritchie of iMore writes:
Those results make very little sense and I’d take apart my chain, link by link, until I found out what was going on. I’d check and re-check my tests, I’d watch the systems like a hawk, and I’d do everything possible to find what was causing the variance. I’d even — gasp — try testing different machines and something other than web pages to see if that revealed more information.
Inconsistent results from battery life tests, for responsible publications, aren’t a reason to rush out a headline in time for the holidays. They’re a reason to start questioning everything, and to diligently retrace every step along the way, until you can get repeatable, reputable results.
This is a valid point, though we should also point out that user complaints about MacBook Pro battery life began to surface well before Consumer Reports’ review came out.
Regardless, Apple at the very least isn’t keeping its head in the sand. In a tweet sent out late on Friday, Apple executive Phil Schiller said that the company is working with Consumer Reports in order to figure out what exactly is the root of the problem.
That said, hopefully Apple will be able to figure out what’s going on sooner rather than later. Even if we dismiss Consumer Reports’ findings out of hand, the fact remains that many MacBook Pro users have found battery life on Apple’s new flagship notebook to be oddly inconsistent.