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  1. Techno-guy's Avatar
    I have had the 2016 13" MacBook Pro w/touchbar (512GB SDD + 16GB RAM) for a few months now and just picked up the new SurfaceBook with Performance Base (512GB SSD + 16GB RAM). I have been pretty happy with my MacBook Pro battery life (notwithstanding the negativity on the Apple forums) and even with its somewhat average battery size it solidly gives me 8+ hours of fairly active web-browsing.

    With its considerably larger battery (81mWh vs 49mWh) and some of the big battery longevity numbers Microsoft has been putting out there, I was really eager to see just how the SurfaceBook Performance stacks up and after a few solid days of use, my opinions are formed.

    Monitoring performance using CoconutBattery and having the screen set to roughly 60% brightness (which is still very bright), on average the 13" MacBook Pro w/touchbar uses 7-9 watts of power browsing the web with medium activity. Once a page loads, it often can get as low as 4-5 watts in idle if you are just reading material that has already loaded and once things have settled in. Importantly, it gets into that low draw state very quickly. That's really sipping battery at those numbers.

    Doing the same thing on the SurfaceBook with Performance Base (using BatteryBar Pro to monitor it) and having screen brightness at the same 60% results in 11-13 watts of power browsing the web on average with dips to 8 watts once pages are loaded and things settle down "for a while". The dips don't go nearly as low and, importantly, they take much longer to get to in comparison to the MacBook which is extremely active in throttling things down. The SurfaceBook seems content to stay in that high draw state for longer, just in case you need to call on it for something demanding.

    So, its clear that something about the combination of Windows 10 + the touchscreen + the much more powerful GPU not getting into a low usage state easily or quickly results in roughly 40-50% more battery power draw for the SurfaceBook Performance to perform similar web surfing tasks. That's pretty considerable for the same use case and for machines configured nearly identically (save the much more powerful GPU in the Performance which should, in theory, still be able to kick into a very low power mode when not needed).

    Of course, the extra power demands of the SurfaceBook Performance are offset greatly by the considerably larger battery (60%+ larger), but what I'm finding is that both machines deliver fairly similar battery life, with the SurfaceBook Performance slightly edging out the 13" MacBook Pro w/touchbar with perhaps an extra half hour to hour of juice (9 hours vs 8+ hours).

    I'm absolutely thrilled with both machines and I must say that this is the first Windows laptop where, after so many years of major misses, the trackpad is finally comparable to the MacBook's (Hip Hip Hooray!). As much as I love the fingerprint Touch ID on my MacBook Pro, Windows Hello facial recognition is the bomb. Great implementation! Microsoft built a machine to be reckoned with in this SurfaceBook w/Performance Base. My hats off to them for pushing the ball this far forward in what I consider the best Windows laptop ever made.

    Now, if they can only find some ways to tweak the pretty considerable power requirement demands in future versions and get them much closer to Apple territory, it would be an absolute home run for Microsoft.
    Last edited by Techno-guy; 01-22-2017 at 04:30 PM.
    01-22-2017 01:21 PM
  2. onlysublime's Avatar
    If you don't use Cortana's always-listening feature, you can save some battery there. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes maintenance with Cortana as well which also drains battery. Of course, if you do use Cortana (and she can be quite useful), then you just have to live with the drain.
    01-23-2017 07:57 PM
  3. Techno-guy's Avatar
    If you don't use Cortana's always-listening feature, you can save some battery there.
    Good thought but turns out it is off by default so it wasn't impacting any of the increased battery burn I recorded in comparison to the MacBook Pro.
    01-25-2017 06:19 PM
  4. DQuiLon's Avatar
    I think you really need to look into that... I disabled cortana entirely... And for such comparison you should use Safari vs Edge browsers... Or maybe Chrome vs Chrome...

    I have the first generation and I get around 8 hours doing what you stated, so I would imagine getting around 12 for the new model.

    I can get 4 to 5 hours of 3D drafting (using dGPU) and around 2.5 hours playing my most demanding game "Dying Light"... However I tend to do both of those tasks plugged to the wall.... I fear damaging the battery by stressing it with heavy discharges
    01-27-2017 04:22 PM

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