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This article was published on June 30, 2013

We asked 7 new MacBook Air owners how the extended battery has impacted their lives. It’s a game changer.

We asked 7 new MacBook Air owners how the extended battery has impacted their lives. It’s a game changer.
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Former CEO of The Next Web. A fan of startups, entrepreneurship, getting things done faster, penning the occasional blog post, taking photos Former CEO of The Next Web. A fan of startups, entrepreneurship, getting things done faster, penning the occasional blog post, taking photos, designing, listening to good music and making lurrrve.

The new MacBook Air is the first mainstream laptop to have truly pushed the boundaries on battery life; and we were as curious as you might be as to just how impactful a battery life of 12+ hours would be on someones life.

I put the word out and received responses from 7 people agreeing to share their thoughts. No one was turned away, bar one person who only had the Air for a day. Their thoughts are unedited, and you should always expect that to be the case on The Next Web.

Key Takeaways:

  • Battery life matches Apple’s claims
  • Everyone was very pleased with battery life
  • Battery Life dramatically improved on previous versions
  • The increase is considered game changing to their every day life by many
  • Reduced use of iPad / iPad Mini by many
  • Many will now decide to leave charger at home

The Reviews:

Amit Kumar
Founder & CEO of Lexity, the one-stop-shop of apps for ecommerce merchants. 

Yes, the new MacBook Air battery life is that good. I thought the 13″ model was supposed to last 12 hours, but for me, it lasts forever. And that’s all kinds of amazing.

Let me explain. I’m your prototypical struggling founder of a silicon valley startup. While I work all the time, I never have my laptop open, unplugged, for 10 hours straight. In reality, I’m moving through the office, commuting to a partner meeting, grabbing lunch, and maybe working intensely on the laptop for a few 3 hour stretches.

If your day looks like mine, your life just changed. The beauty of the Air is that it lasts an entire work day – even if your workday happens to be 10 hours long. While the old 13″ Air was decent with a 7 hour life – it wasn’t really an all-day machine. You know it – mid-way during the day, you started getting ‘range anxiety’ – the desire to hunt around for a power source… just in case.

Turns out, these 5 extra hours that bring us back from the brink of ‘range anxiety’, have other unexpected effects as well.

For instance, let’s consider the weight. Obviously the Air’s light weight is its major draw – but honestly, don’t you end up carrying that charger, too? Now you don’t need to, so you just dropped the *actual* weight you’re lugging around by 25%. At this point, your fancy backpack is probably heavier than the computer it holds.

Of course, this range makes the Air a perfect, full-fledged machine to take with you on cross-country flights. I like to travel real light – and with the bulk of the external battery and the tangle of wires gone, I can just get on board with the Air and a copy of Businessweek.

The dynamics of charging behavior also changes. All of us like to plug in the laptop every chance we get – afraid it’ll run out when we most need it. Now, since the battery still charges roughly as fast, but lasts longer, a few minutes of stolen charge from a co-worker is all you really need, even in a pinch.

Finally, that charge indicator in the menu bar – not so helpful anymore. The indicator display might be at its lowest point (i.e. before red), and you might still have an hour or two to go. A setting that displays the amount of time left (versus just the percentage) would be really useful.

So, what’s the verdict? While the 5 hour addition to battery life sounds like an incremental, if handsome, improvement; in reality that increase crosses the threshold from ‘long battery life laptop’ to an ‘all day laptop’. In that sense, it’s truly a game changer.

Ben Bajarin
Technology Industry Analyst Creative Strategies, Technology Columnist, TIME and Tech.pinions

I bought the 13 inch, with 1.7ghz core i7 8gb RAM and 512gb SSD. After a full charge, the battery indicator will tell me on average it has around 11 hours and 30 min of time left in the battery. This will vary depending on screen brightness etc, but overall after a charge it is telling me I’m getting to close to what Apple claims.

In comparison to previous laptops I’ve owned, the battery life increase is significant, more than double. I sit in briefings, go back and forth to meetings, have long plane rides, etc. and I was always watching my battery. No more is it even an issue in my every day use. I used to get around 5-6 solid hours and I’m easily getting 10 or more working hours on a charge.

Is it worthwhile sacrificing the retina display for the added battery life? Absolutely, if battery life is an issue and considered valuable. I also have the 13″ Retina Pro and while I love the screen, because of how much I travel and am mobile, battery life is the most precious resource for me.

I spend most of my computing time on the device writing, taking notes in meetings, working on presentations, browsing the web, sifting through data, and being consumed with Twitter.

If you’re wondering whether the improved battery life means less usage of iPad, and other mobile/tablet devices, the answer for me at least is “No.”

I’ve always done the bulk of my work on a notebook. Tablets for me are a complimentary experience in both mobility and sometimes productivity depending on my context. I spend more time with my notebook than any other computing device.

One nifty change though is a far lesser need to travel with my MacBook air charger now. In the beginning I took my charger out with me out of habit, and partially because I didn’t believe the battery claims to be true. Since I never used it in my day to day goings, I have stopped carrying it if I know I will be going back to my office or house that night. I’ll still travel with it, but like my iPhone, it will only be charged at night.,

Bryan Beal
Director, SP Business Development @ Brocade / Adviser to Egnyte, / Adjunct Professor of Business and MIS at Ashland University. 

I have the current generation 13 inch MacBook Air that has every available option; upgraded CPU, 8gb RAM, 512gb HD. I also have a similarly spec’d Air from the last generation, as well as the loaded 15inch Retina MB Pro. I also have a smattering of Windows machines including the Asus Republic of Gamers in 14 inch and an MSI in 17 inch and an 18 inch Alienware. All less than one year old.
I immediately noticed a huge difference in battery life from my last generation Air to this one. Using similar settings (brightness, keyboard backlight, background apps, etc), I may not get 12 hours, but I get darn close. And that is with a mid-high backlight, but I do usually have the keyboard backlight turned off. But even that varies.

I am easily getting 30-40% longer battery life than my last generation MacBook Air. None of my other machines mentioned above compare.
As for the Retina question – I would say that really depends on the use case. If I were working in something that necessitated that resolution, or the larger screen, and if it mainly just sat on my desk, go with the Retina. But if you travel frequently as I do, the MacBook Air would be your go-to machine. Without any question.

I used to tote around my iPad for the sole purpose of watching movies/videos on flights so that I don’t wreck the battery life on my laptop. I really don’t have to worry about that so much now. Even burning through video on a 4+ hour flight, I still have more than enough battery for an evening of catching up on work. I find myself leaving the iPad behind now. Why bother with the added weight in my bag?

The other benefit is the ability to leave the charger behind unless I am going to be going somewhere longer than a day. But if it’s a day at the office, or a day working from the coffee shop or meetings, the charger can definitely stay home or in the hotel without any worry.

I throw it on the charger every night, just like my phone. It rarely needs it (took it off the charger 11 hours ago, been using it off and on all day, and as of now I still have “7:23” remaining. In my very unscientific tests, it seems to get back to a full charge from totally dead in just a few hours.

I also want to point out how unbelievably fast the storage is on this thing. Copying files, rendering video, opening large files is also noticeably faster than any other machine I own, even my Alienware machine that has a Samsung 840 Pro SSD. The storage in the Air is crazy fast.

Pablo Martinez
President and Founder, Edikon

The one thing that I admittedly missed from the last MacBook Air model was a longer battery life. It is important that I point out one important aspect of my job: I attend a lot of meetings (too many actually!). Many of them take place at other office locations that we have around town. The 2 -3 hours that I would get from the older MacBook Air was simply too short, and undoubtedly caused me to stress when meetings would go longer than planned or having to remember to charge before going somewhere. While toting the charger from meeting to meeting was not too inconvenient, I ended up preferring to carry my iPad with its keyboard case and full day of battery life as my walkabout device. The iPad was fine, but I couldn’t help thinking that carrying my laptop with me would be the ultimate scenario.

Then the new MacBook Airs arrived, bringing with them the promise of 9 hours of battery life! I immediately upgraded to the new MacBook Air 11-inch with the same 128GB of disk space and 4GB of RAM as I had on my older model. I upgraded simply for the battery life. While it is by no means the only improvement over the last model, it is the most significant one for me. That said, the laptop’s performance seems slightly better. I particularly noticed an improvement when working with large Excel files. I do not feel the same lag when working with large Excel files.

The most significant change with the new MacBook Air is that I no longer carry an iPad around, nor do I want to. My MacBook Air, tucked away in my Waterfield Designs MacBook Smart Case ( is all I need to get my through my day. I can appreciate the iPad for other uses, but it has been mostly relegated to media consumption and not used for works production. I have been charging the MacBook Air whenever I am back at my office. This varies depending on my schedule, but even on my worst days I tend to have at least an hour to recharge at some point during the day; or should I say, “my stress-free battery day”?

I think the innovation that Apple has brought to the MacBook Airs with their increased battery life is a killer feature. I love this laptop and would recommend it to anyone.


Clare Jeeves
Financial services consultant by day and a photographer and iPhoneographer by night.

I’ve been waiting to buy a Mac for a while and decided to buy the new model following the announcements at WWDC (which coincided with a bonus) I’m a photographer and wanted something so much more than the Windows laptops that I’d had in the past which age fast and die even quicker!

I’ve always found previous laptops to be restrictive due to battery life being non-existent and as a photographer having to update drivers has been painful.

I was sceptical as to whether the battery life would be as good as Apple stated, however I figured even half the stated battery life would be better than before! I have been more than pleasantly surprised, I’ve only had it for two weeks and under light usage for my photography work and some FaceTime, email, iTunes, backing up/restoring an iPhone, so far I’ve only had to charge it twice (which took less than 2 hours each time), I’ve used it every evening and most of the weekend.

My iPad has gone untouched, and I’ve found the freedom of being cable free incredibly useful especially when combined with the size of the Air. It has to be said that I’ve left the energy settings as standard which may be a factor.

As a comparison, my partner has an MBP 2009 model fully specced and he has commented on the speed and battery life, so much so that he is considering buying one as a day to day replacement for it and will turn the MBP into a server. I realise there is no retina display but I completely understand the sacrifice made for the battery life and portability. When I take my Air with me I no longer carry the charger, the battery is simply that good!”


Andrew Larking
Creative Technologist at Reading Room in London. I’m still figuring out what that job title means. Put simply, I build tech, break tech, and consult on tech strategy.

This notebook will change my life. That’s a bold statement, I’ll try and back it up.

I’m a creative technologist, I work on computers from the moment I wake until I fall asleep. An average week for me will result in thousands of lines of code, a couple of strategy reports, lots of Photoshop and Illustrator files, and hours of surfing the web, e-mail, Twitter etc. I carry my laptop everywhere I go, which in 2010 resulted in 3 weeks of bed rest because I’d damaged my spine. My doctor told me I was no longer allowed to carry my laptop, so for a year I used an iPad, but in the end I resorted to buying more computers so I had one at every location I work in. But now I have an Air, and it feels like the first morning you wake up after having the flu, and can breathe!

I no longer carry a charger around, I’m getting an average of 14 hours battery life and I’d say I’m more of a power user than most. I can’t give a time to charge as I do it before I go to sleep, but it’s less than the 6 hours I sleep for. I also no longer carry around or use my iPad. The Air seems to weigh about the same in real world use, I don’t notice I have it.

The screen is excellent, sure Retina would be nice but I’m happy to forgo the PPI for the insane battery life, which along with portability is surely the point of the Air? It’s no slouch, it’s faster in many respects than my 15″ Pro.

So what’s not to love? A thing of beauty which weighs almost nothing and runs for two average work days on one charge. It doesn’t hurt me to carry it, I can work whenever and wherever I want, it’s the perfect notebook.

I have a new 2013 i7 13″ Air, with a 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM.

Me: I’m currently a Creative Technologist at Reading Room in London. I’m still figuring out what that job title means. Put simply, I build tech, break tech, and consult on tech strategy.


Leon Pals
Chairman the Startup Foundation

I was looking for portability because I’ve been organising events on location and abroad lately. When at the office I definitely need a big screen to do some design work, so when Apple announced the update I knew what I was going to do. I bought the MacBook Air 11″ to replace my iMac 24″. That is quite the difference, but the deal is that I hook it to an external screen whenever I’m at the office. We all knew they wouldn’t put Retina in the Air, especially not in the 11″, but I did expect the full HD resolution. So as always I was a bit disappointed, until I got my hands on the thing.

I’ve been working on it, on and off the couch for two full weeks now and whenever I use my girlfriends (previous generation) MBA 13″ it just feels huge. I was a little bit worried about the resolution but I must say that I hardly notice the difference between the two. Battery wise you do notice the difference, whereas my girlfriends MBA 13″ lasts for a mere 5 hours, I unplugged just before dinner and it’s almost midnight. I haven’t used it non-stop, but I’ve been doing pretty much my evening routine. And it still says it has juice enough for a solid five hours. I don’t even bring my charger to the office anymore, and if I do need a recharge, I only need an hour or so to be able to work a few more. Of course this will change over time, and the batteries will get worse, but I’m counting on Mavericks to do some energy saving by then.

I actually use the Air for everything, I bought an iPad mini a few weeks before I bought the MBA and I can’t recall the last time I used for more than five minutes. I do still need a new external monitor, so maybe someone is willing to trade for an iPad mini?

Hey, maybe it’s me, my last laptop was the first MacBook, when Intel was introduced. I just know that is a long time ago, and that laptops have come a long way since then.