My rating of the M2 MacBook Pro went up last Wednesday. But as soon as I got my hands on the device the previous Thursday, it was clear that draining the battery — one of the most important things a laptop reviewer has to do — was going to be a whole thing.
Reader, I tried. I would use the device all evening and leave it on all night, but it would still have enough charge left in the morning and I would have to plug it in for testing, give it up to film, or give it to our video and photo crews to take pictures of before using it could be completely emptied. I didn’t have a long enough interrupted period to use the device continuously. That’s how absurdly long this laptop lasts.
But with the written meeting and video meeting, both live, and a solid evening and subsequent morning with no plans or commitments, last Thursday gave me my first truly uninterrupted free time since the meeting device arrived. When I got home around 7:30pm and had finished dinner, I decided it was time. I wanted to kill this thing. I would drain this stupid battery to zero if it was the last thing I did.
Some household chores. First, this isn’t the official battery life estimate, which I’ll eventually update the test with. This is based on multiple attempts and hopefully many that aren’t as…weird as what I’ve done here. (That said, our battery life test is always a rough estimate, and I’ve never pretended it was anything else. Never treat a rating as your only data point, etc. etc.)
Second, while I really wanted to kill this battery, I should stress that I always want my battery tests to reflect that my personal workload – while there are certainly intense things I could have done to drain the battery faster, here I’ve been careful not to artificially execute anything ridiculous and stick to programs and tasks that I actually do in a real day would (albeit sometimes a more intense real day).
Anyway, I shut the thing down. And I kept a little diary of the process, which I’m sharing here. I hope this gives you an idea of the various things I did on the device when I drained it, and a glimpse of how quickly it could drain if you’re running a similar workload to mine. That means it’s my personal and private diary so please don’t tell anyone.
8:00 pm: I’m in for the night. I have about a dozen tabs open. I turned off the screen at medium brightness and True Tone. I ran Spotify playlist Chill Pop. The battery is at 100 percent. Separate. Here we go.
8:20 p.m: Still at 100 percent. I check if the battery indicator works. It’s getting dark outside, so I turn on the night light. Don’t judge me, I care about my eyes, you monsters.
8:25 p.m.: The internet is boring. I pull up a short story I’m working on, a Google Doc of about 20 pages. God I love how fast this thing loads google docs. I have about a dozen other tabs open.
8:30 p.m.: My friends, we’re still at 100 percent. If I consider a character in my short story to die, because if this laptop doesn’t die, someone has to. I decide against it.
9.00: We are at 98 percent. The fear that the thing could last 50 hours gives me justifiable stress. For example, my Garmin Venu tells me to chill.
9:30 p.m.: 95 percent. “I don’t think this thing will ever die lol,” I message a friend. “Lol wow,” replies my friend. 9:30pm is our intellectual time to shine.
9:45 p.m.: 91 percent. The Chill Pop playlist has run its course. I move on to Today’s Hits. Stay by The Kid Laroi and Justin Bieber starts playing. Ah yes. Today’s hits.
10:15 p.m.: I’m hitting a wall with my story, but I’ll leave the Google Doc open in case inspiration strikes. I run PugetBench for Premiere Pro just to feel something. It’s oddly therapeutic to give the benchmark full control of my computer and find out what ridiculous things it’s doing. Is there really anything in life in our hands? Aren’t all obscure GPU effects thrown onto random Premiere footage in some way?
10:30 p.m: This is about when the Gigabyte Aero 16 would die. However, the MacBook is still very much alive. Anyway, I feel like I’m clearly not taxing this thing hard enough, so I’m looking around for things that might need an update. Some of my Adobe apps are out of date, so I’ve disabled those downloads. I wanted to get acquainted with After Effects, so I’m playing around with it a bit.
11:59 p.m.: 78 percent. Well, I still don’t understand how to do anything in After Effects, but at least I tried. I’ve also finished Today’s Hits. Creative Suite is done updating so I open all the apps I have at once just to see if it slows down the computer. Of course not. I’m playing around in Lightroom with some photos that I might (but probably never) upload to Instagram, how to do it.
12:15 p.m.: I’m making Swift Playgrounds 4 because I can’t get over how cute the little animations are. I’m doing a Rosetta Stone lesson with Swift Playgrounds 4 running in the background. Listen, therapist, you can’t say I’m not working on myself. The screen is starting to feel way too bright, but don’t worry: I’ll be killing my eyes for the blogs.
00:26: 73 percent. I have enough to do. I watch old K-pop videos on YouTube. “What if we went to Lollapalooza?” I send a friend an iMessage. “We’re not going to Lollapalooza,” replies the friend.
12:47 a.m: I wandered back to the short story. I’m very tired, so it’s going to be a little weird. I’ll start downloading more Adobe software because you might as well make it big. I have no idea what Bridge is, but I’m sure I can find a use for it.
2:13 am: 63 percent. Quitting time. I run a YouTube video (Kamin 10 Hour Full HD, one of my favorites, the vibe is spotless) and the Spotify playlist Chill Hits. please die I think about the device as I fall asleep with it next to my head. It’s in God’s hands now.
8:15 o’clock: I wake up to construction going on outside which is the 4D experience of New York City. The MacBook Pro is still going strong at 36 percent. I start PugetBench to give it something to do and go back to sleep (I have mornings off).
10:26 am: I wake up again, this time stressed out that I made a mistake in a draft I submitted yesterday. That’s just one thing I’m worried about. I’ll pick up the draft and read through it. No mistake. crisis averted. Back to bed. Laptop at 21 percent, various things are still running.
11:40 am: I wake up for the last time and it’s the first thing my bleary eyes see: The red battery. That glorious, glorious red. Red, the blood of laptop reviewers who have almost, almost ended their battery life. The laptop is at 9 percent. We’re so close, everyone. So close.
11:42 am: Time to smack this thing to death. I open Slack. I blow up Spotify. I open three different email tabs, a series of blog posts, a video, iMessage, Sticky Notes, Lightroom. I’m starting to download a game on Steam. I’m working on my review of another computer and am clicking through a whole bunch of other reviews contained in ads. It will die any minute nowI think looking at the red battery indicator.
12:30 PM: Well, the last piece takes a lot longer than I thought. But after 16 hours, 30 minutes and 39 seconds, the M2 MacBook Pro is finished. It died in the middle of playing Tomorrow X Together Can not you see me? music video just as they set fire to a building. There should be a metaphor somewhere, but I’m too tired to find it.
Don’t worry – I’ll run it a few more times to give you a more accurate result.