How long can my Macbook Pro M1 battery last?

As many reviewers have mentioned that they have excellent battery life with their new Macbook Pro M1 (Apple Silicon) laptops, I wanted to find that out myself. So here is my own personal test, running the Macbook Pro M1 base model in a typical office day (working from home).

DISCLAIMER: Normally, I would plug my Macbook Pro M1 into an external monitor and leave the cover down, but if I don’t plug it into my power source, it doesn’t seem to display anything on the monitor. For this test’s purpose, I used the laptop alone without plugging it into an external monitor.

Physical Setup

  • The laptop sits normally at room temperature (no air conditioning turned on). It gets about 30-33 degrees Celcius here at home
  • I use a Logitech MX Master 3 mouse with the laptop, connected via Bluetooth.
  • For video conference calls, I use the Apple Airpods Pro earphones, connected via Bluetooth as well.
The suite of applications I would use throughout the day

Software used

  • Cisco AnyConnect VPN Clients (Rosetta 2)
  • Chrome with multiple tabs open (usually I have 4-5 open on average for Mail, Calendar, Chat, Currents and Drive) – Optimised for M1 (Apple Silicon)
  • Reminders – Optimised for M1 (Apple Silicon)
  • Notes – Optimised for M1 (Apple Silicon)
  • Microsoft Excel – Optimised for M1 (Apple Silicon)
  • Microsoft Powerpoint – Optimised for M1 (Apple Silicon)
  • 1Password – Beta Optimised for M1 (Apple Silicon)
  • Alfred – Rosetta 2
  • Magnet – Rosetta 2
I started the day at 8:38 am by connecting to the VPN

So the day starts at 8.38 am for me. After sending my son to the kindergarten/daycare, I came back home and connected to the VPN to access the usual email, calendar and other Google Workspace suite of software. Most of the day would revolve around responding to emails, reviewing through designs, reviewing through Google Slides and other work-related items.

After going through the usual emails and reviews, I jumped into two video conference calls with presentations shared, which lasted for about 2 hours. This was done via Google Meet, so I used the Chrome browser all of the time, which was already optimised for the M1 (Apple Silicon Chip). I wanted to mention this because optimised applications tend to draw less power versus those that are needed to run the Rosetta 2 virtualization.

By now it was time for lunch so I went out to grab a bite and left the laptop running at home. Again after lunch, I completed the rest of my work and jumped into a couple of calls again. Right after the call, I did a battery check, 51% left after running for 8 hours with a lunch break in between.

Feeling pretty impressed, I continued using the laptop the rest of the evening. I did take another break during dinner where I ate next to the laptop and logged into my PLEX server and watched a couple of TV episodes on it. PLEX runs off Chrome so it was again optimised for the M1.

Connect Group on Friday nights

Finally, by 8 pm, I jumped into a video call with my Connect group. The call lasted about almost 2 hours, and by the time it was almost 9.32 pm, I noticed that the battery has dropped to 3%. I did hope that it could last for the entire video call, but alas, I might have to end the experiment quickly.

The call was still going on, and since I didn’t want to leave abruptly, by 9.38 pm, I caved and plugged in the power cable. I chose 9.38 pm because since I started at 8.38 am, the Macbook Pro M1 gave me a solid 13 hours of battery life throughout the day. It is definitely impressive, considering that I used the laptop as I would normally use it daily.

Conclusion

For one who uses the browser mostly for the work especially when you do use Google Workspace, the Apple Macbook Pro M1 does last insanely long! Now I can definitely not worry about leaving my charger at home or when I am moving about different locations in the office. All of the hype and reviews are definitely accurate and it impressed the hell out of me.

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