MacBook Air reviews: battery life appears a little thin

131583mbair_largeMainstream media has the first overviews of the MacBook Air available today: you can catch the high-level thoughts at USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and Newsweek. These are less of a review and more of a general impression and description of the device, but two of the three hit a key point worth a mention: actual battery life.

Edward Baig at USA Today indicates 3 hours and 40 minutes while surfing and writing; watching a movie knocked it down to 2 hours and 40 minutes. Walt Mossberg got 3 hours and 24 minutes with his standard test of playing loops of music with no power management and the screen brightness at full. As a standard test, I think it’s lacking in terms of pushing the processor, but that’s just my opinion. Steven Levy at Newsweek didn’t offer a true battery run test, which causes me to raise an eyebrow, but he does say he was getting slightly less than the five hours that’s advertised. Unfortunately, we don’t know what he had the machine doing for those nearly five hours.The device is still effective for a segment of the mobile market, but if you’re on the go and can’t plug in, you’ll want to watch the clock… and wish for the basic ability to use a spare battery before you run out of Air. I still can’t get past the decision to implement a non-user-replaceable battery solution. Had the battery run-time been stellar, even better than the Apple claim of up to five hours, then perhaps I could overlook it.

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