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  • Flash Halves New MacBook Air Battery Life: Tests


    Apple's rated 6-hour battery life on the 2010 MacBook Airs can only be achieved without Flash, according to a couple of new tests. Ars Technica found that installing Flash cut battery life to 4 hours on an 11-inch Air, while Anandtech's tests showed battery life cut in half on the 13-inch model. Apple claims that they do not install Flash on new MacBook Airs because they think "the best way for users to always have the most up to date and secure version" is to download it from Adobe.

    In his review of the 11-inch MacBook Air, Chris Foresman of Ars Technica was able to get only four hours of battery life doing normal web surfing. After he removed Flash, Foresman got six hours and two minutes out of the Air, browsing to the same sites. He concluded that the Flash ads on most of those sites was draining the 4500mAh six-battery array, observing that the CPU was "running far more than seemed necessary" when sites had Flash content.

    Anand Shimpi and Vivek Gowri at Anandtech did some different tests, but found similar results using Flash. Doing light web browsing, document creation and music playback on the 13-inch MacBook Air, they were able to get over eleven hours out of its larger 6500mAh battery pack. The 11-inch model got 7 hour battery life in this "glorified typewriter" test. However, when browsing pages with one to four Flash ads, the 13-inch Air's battery life was cut by more than 50% in comparison to browsing sites with no Flash and iTunes playing music.

    Apple has made no secret of its disdain for Flash. Steve Jobs, in a closed session, reportedly referred to Flash as "buggy," and called Adobe "lazy." In an open letter, Jobs claimed that the problems with battery life were due to the fact that Flash must be decoded in software, rather than in hardware like Apple's preferred H.264 standard. So an Apple spokesman may have been disingenuous when he told Engadget the company is "happy to continue to support Flash on the Mac." You can have it, he seems to be saying, but don't expect your Mac to run well or have much battery life.

    Source: PCWorld
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Flash Halves New MacBook Air Battery Life: Tests started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 60 Comments
    1. dennder's Avatar
      dennder -
      This only confirms how "hungry" the flash is. And dont blame apple... adobe develops it. And dont blame apple for being closed system etc., other soft by other companies is being developed ok for Mac OS.

      But reduce battery life in half?! Omg... I wonder if there is something more into it other that the flash is a power hungry software.
    1. braddahjosh's Avatar
      braddahjosh -
      Flash sucks
    1. zoso10's Avatar
      zoso10 -
      Haha wow! That's a drastic change. I really hope Flash goes by the wayside it's an inferior technology.
    1. wolverinemarky's Avatar
      wolverinemarky -
      this is good info to know but i dont hardly ever run my laptop on just the battery anyway its usually plugged into the wall anyway
    1. anekin007's Avatar
      anekin007 -
      Ad blocker.
    1. exNavy's Avatar
      exNavy -
      That's a poor graphic. The 309 rating should be less than half the length of the other bar.
    1. Zokunei's Avatar
      Zokunei -
      Quote Originally Posted by exNavy View Post
      That's a poor graphic. The 309 rating should be less than half the length of the other bar.
      I know.
      I guess Flash is pretty power hungry. Let's see some HTML5 comparisons while viewing the same content, then we could really see what's inferior.
    1. rryyddeerr's Avatar
      rryyddeerr -
      just removed it off of my mbp. fully charged and idle gives the first operation time estimate over 6 hours ive seen in many months.
    1. Vinski's Avatar
      Vinski -
      It's not purely Flashes fault. Also lazy coding on the flash ads makes them use unneededly amount of CPU cycles. In the near future probably those bad skilled coders will just move to the HTML 5, and continue to produce unnecessary heavy content.

      Also this test is not fair, because you don't see as much "content" on the screen. Of course an empty hole is lighter to render than some moving animation. To make the test fair, he should have surfed on the websites where the flash content would have had replaced with some HTML 5-content (does new Youtube UI do this?)

      Couple years from now and we will have and kinds of flashy animated HTML 5 ads on our favorite websites, which will be draining our batteries.
    1. greek.guy's Avatar
      greek.guy -
      so if im understanding correctly, this could be an issue with all macs?
    1. iSteed's Avatar
      iSteed -
      It's sucks the life out of windows notebooks as well. Flash is power hungry no matter what machine it's on
    1. moon#pie's Avatar
      moon#pie -
      671 minutes? really? that = a little over 11 hours. I wonder how they figured that.....
    1. A_DuB187's Avatar
      A_DuB187 -
      This is interesting ill have to do some testing on my new 13inch mbp when it gets here.
    1. robbpell's Avatar
      robbpell -
      I dont understand if flash was suppose to be the variable in the test why was safari also changed 1 window vs 3 windows seems like that could have a major impact on this test just saying.
    1. hypertripo's Avatar
      hypertripo -
      And did you know that a laptop turned on is draining the battery more than when its turned off.

      Seriously stop with the flash bs and start doing some real test like html5 vs flash and not some test that are just saying we don't need flash etc...
    1. Zokunei's Avatar
      Zokunei -
      Quote Originally Posted by Vinski View Post
      It's not purely Flashes fault. Also lazy coding on the flash ads makes them use unneededly amount of CPU cycles. In the near future probably those bad skilled coders will just move to the HTML 5, and continue to produce unnecessary heavy content.

      Also this test is not fair, because you don't see as much "content" on the screen. Of course an empty hole is lighter to render than some moving animation. To make the test fair, he should have surfed on the websites where the flash content would have had replaced with some HTML 5-content (does new Youtube UI do this?)

      Couple years from now and we will have and kinds of flashy animated HTML 5 ads on our favorite websites, which will be draining our batteries.
      Seriously, who doesn't use an ad blocker? I don't think this study was supposed to be Flash Vs. HTML5 though. But since people wanna treat it that way, they should do a test like that too, and make sure it gets posted here.
    1. EskimoRuler's Avatar
      EskimoRuler -
      Imagine what it's does to smartphones battery
    1. Johnboy00's Avatar
      Johnboy00 -
      Flash sucks CPU bad. I play a flash game on facebook that puts up to a 30% load on my quad-core Core i7 920 desktop running Win7 Pro. It pegs my old athlon laptop running XP. Crazy.
    1. Tyronal's Avatar
      Tyronal -
      Quote Originally Posted by hypertripo View Post
      And did you know that a laptop turned on is draining the battery more than when its turned off.

      Seriously stop with the flash bs and start doing some real test like html5 vs flash and not some test that are just saying we don't need flash etc...
      Fanboy, much?

      Flash is garbage. Accept it and move on, those with half a brain have.

      The way flash encodes and decodes inside the browser is 15 year old technology. It fundamentally hasn't change in all that time. "And now it's time for something completely different".

      If you run a windows machine you are the lucky ones as it has always been adobes policy to optimise flash for windows and screw the rest. As a linux user we've been treated like dogs by adobe so has osx users. They don't deserve any respect.

      FYI Youtube vid using flash, cpu 33-35%. Same vid html5, cpu 11-14%. You tell me Einstein.
    1. JacquesChirac's Avatar
      JacquesChirac -
      this is a problem with flash, although flash has a ton of room for improvement. It's a problem with Apple's incompatable OS and their hardware. Why is it that this doesn't happen with PCs?

      Apple blaming flash for its crapiness (although it is kind crappy) is just a way for it to avoid its own problems