Why MacBook 2016 Is First Apple Laptop Not Recommended By Consumer Reports

Macbook Pro
The 2016 MacBook Pro model is the first Apple laptop to not get recommended by the Consumer Reports. Photo : Marques Brownlee/YouTube

Issues with battery life prevented Apple's new MacBook Pro 2016 laptop from getting a recommendation from Consumer Reports.

MacBook Pro 2016 Lacks Consumer Reports' Recommendation

This is the first time in history when an Apple laptop lacks recommendation from Consumer Reports according to MacWorld. This failure to receive a buy recommendation makes the new MacBook Pro 2016 the black sheep in Apple's product line. The key issue that determined the Consumer Reports' decision to withhold its recommendation is the lack of battery performance in the MacBook Pro model 2016. 

MacBook Pro 2016 Has Disappointing Battery Life

While Apple claims that, on a fully charged battery, the new MacBook Pro can reach 10 hours of battery life, in practice Consumer Reports found that battery life may be as low as less than 4 hours. In fact, MacBook Pro's battery life may range widely from 4 hours to 19 hours. The reality is that the claimed battery life of 10 hours cannot be guaranteed.

In the past, most Apple laptops have scored well in battery tests. However, the latest tests performed by Consumer Reports found widely disparate figures in the MacBook Pro's battery life results. That means that the average of 10 hours battery life claimed by Apple wouldn't reflect anything a consumer would be likely to experience in the real world.  

Several lab tests were conducted by Consumer Reports' technicians on three different MacBook Pro models: 13-inch without Touchbar, 13-inch with Touch Bar and 15-inch with Touchbar. Inconsistent battery life performance has been found on each model. A typical laptop's battery life should vary by only about five percent, according to Consumer Reports. 

The low battery life performance found in the new MacBook Pro 2016 marks a major downgrade by Apple standards and it is an anomaly for overall laptop performance. Especially when working on high-performance graphics, the MacBook Pro 2016 has low battery life. 

In fact, the low battery life performance of the 2016 MacBook Pro models was also reported by users. Earlier this month, user complaints regarding a substandard battery life on the MacBook Pro started to be posted on Apple's discussion forums.

Some users of the Apple flagship laptop have claimed that its battery lasted only about three hours. Apple's response to the issue has been a software update, MacOS 10.12.2. However, this fix is not really solving the problem, since it only removed the battery remaining time estimate.

According to Extreme Tech, the substandard battery life in MacBook Pro 2016 might be caused by some issues in Apple's power management stack. The high-tech company removed the "Time Remaining" information from MacOS 12.2.2, explaining that it was too difficult to provide an estimated Time Remaining because of the way CPUs enter and exit power states.

Given that Microsoft still manages to give a Time Remaining estimate on Windows 10 laptops, Apple's explanation seems rather unlikely. Windows 10 laptops use the same x86 CPUs that Apple does. There is no reason that could possibly stop Apple to calibrate its "Time Remaining" metric by basing it on CPU transitions in and out of power states over a longer period of time. 

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