iPad battery appears to exceed Apple estimates

iPad battery appears to exceed Apple estimates

Summary: The embargo on iPad reviews lifted yesterday so that we can all take get a feel for the iPad before it's actually launched on Saturday. What's interesting to note from many of the early reviews is how the battery life of the device seems to be better than Apple claims.

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Special Report: Apple iPad

The embargo on iPad reviews lifted yesterday so that we can all take get a feel for the iPad before it's actually launched on Saturday. What's interesting to note from many of the early reviews is how the battery life of the device seems to be better than Apple claims.

Apple's official tech specs for the iPad makes the following claim with regards to the battery:

Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music

So 10 hours is what Apple says you should expect from the iPad. Let's take a look at the reviews in s far:

Walt Mossberg, WSJ:

I was impressed with the iPad’s battery life, which I found to be even longer than Apple’s ten-hour claim, and far longer than on my laptops or smart phones. For my battery test, I played movies, TV shows and other videos back-to-back until the iPad died. This stressed the device’s most power-hogging feature, its screen. The iPad lasted 11 hours and 28 minutes, about 15% more than Apple claimed. I was able to watch four feature-length movies, four TV episodes and a video of a 90-minute corporate presentation, before the battery died midway through an episode of “The Closer.”

David Pogue, New York Times:

Apple asserts that the iPad runs 10 hours on a charge of its nonremovable battery — but we all know you can’t trust the manufacturer. And sure enough, in my own test, the iPad played movies continuously from 7:30 a.m. to 7:53 p.m. — more than 12 hours. That’s four times as long as a typical laptop or portable DVD player.

Xeni Jardin, Boing Boing:

Manic, nonstop use revealed a number of things: battery life is better than I anticipated. I got a full day of constant internet-connected use (it did not leave my hands) on one charge. More than 12 hours, with heavy video and gaming, and screen cranked up to full brightness.

Not everyone is impressed by the battery though ...

Tim Gideon, PC Magazine:

The power efficiency of the chip translates to a battery life that Apple rates at "up to ten hours" with Wi-Fi switched on. Our own rundown test of the rechargeable lithium-polymer battery netted a respectably close battery life of 9 hours and 25 minutes.

Edward C. Baig, USA Today:

At 10 hours or so, the iPad battery life, while impressive, falls far short of the two weeks you might get off a Kindle charge.

It'll be interesting to see if the general public are as happy with the battery life as most of the early reviews are.

Other coverage:

Topics: Hardware, Apple, iPad, Mobility

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18 comments
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  • Impressive

    I can see a great future for cheap, open Android/Linux/ARM based tablets. It would seem to me that they should be available for 2-300 bucks within a year (and with an all day user replaceable battery.)

    I will get one for sure.
    Economister
    • And of course you NEEDED to say that here:P

      What drives him so I wonder... It's either very funny or kind of sad I can't
      tell which yet.

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • Wow!

        Some of you Apple fanboys sure have thin skin. The battery life is impressive and bodes well for competing products that will be cheaper and suit me better. I am waiting for an open tablet with better connectivity and a better price with a similar HW/battery life.

        And that offends you? And exactly where would you like me to post that observation and comment instead?

        Given how you reacted to my post, I guess you need the Apple logo to feel validated as a human being. I on the other hand, am perfectly happy without that logo, even if it really bothers you. :-)
        Economister
        • You don't bother me. Confuse and amuse sure but not bothered:P

          What I've noticed is you've made a habit of coming to Apple related
          sites in order to preach what I guess is Open Source. OK that's like
          me going on sites related to well Linux and spouting how I'm not
          going to use the product or products in question but rather buy and
          Apple product instead. Why would I want to do something like that? I
          wouldn't it makes no sense you see. I's just weird. You are an Open
          fan I guess would be the word here you do have a fan relationship
          with this concept you've embraced and that is OK I'm fine with that. I
          don't see or share the appeal but you see I'm on an Apple related sight
          and again that makes sense you see. You being here constantly with
          ever single new Apple related article is well kind of NUTS.

          Pagan jim
          James Quinn
          • You are even more confused than I thought

            Apple related siteS?????? This is an Apple related site??? I may have posted a couple of times at Toms or Anandtech, maybe even Ars, but they are definitely NOT Apple related sites. I don't go to Apple related sites at all. Why would I. I don't own any Apple products.

            And I sure as hell don't want to be associated with the likes of you.

            And that is all the time I am going to waste.
            Economister
          • No I think you waist far more time than you seem to think:P

            Zdnet is not an Apple related site per se OK we agree on this but it has
            many an article which is specifically about Apple or Apple products so
            why do you go to these. You already said you don't own an Apple
            product nor do you intend to own one so you are on these posts why?
            See I think based on your own words you do waist a ton of your time and
            I still can't understand the why?

            Pagan jim
            James Quinn
          • Here here!

            I concur!
            Appreciate-Tech
        • Bull!

          He just responded to your trolling the way you hoped someone would
          respond. This is an article about Apple's iPad battery life, not some
          vaporware device that doesn't even exist yet.

          I do seem to remember someone saying that there was no way Apple
          would get 10 hours out of the iPad's non-removable battery; I think
          this article proves that good design can surprise people. I highly doubt
          that a 'similar' device will get 10 hours reliably out of any removable
          battery pack and still have the rest of the capabilities found in the
          iPad-something will have to be sacrificed. One of the reasons Apple
          gets such good battery life is because the battery's not removable--
          you can fit a bigger battery in the same space because you don't have
          to accommodate the mounting brackets and contacts, nor do you have
          a hole in the structural integrity of the housing itself, making for an
          overall stronger package.

          So what if the Kindle gets more battery life--you can't do as much with
          it, either.
          Vulpinemac
        • Why are you all hot and bothered...

          About people who are happy with the Apple logo?

          That and what do you think a tablet should be? A high end laptop? A book reader? What? Must it run Windows 7 Ultimate? Must it have 2 weeks battery life? You're all about bagging on Apple's decision on what a tablet (for want of a better word) should be, but that's just mindless whining.

          If people decide that the iPad is great, then fine. If they drop it like its hot, then Apple will have to suffer the consequences of its product choice.
          zkiwi
  • Interesting that there is such a wide range...

    One place says 9.5 hours and two others say over 12. All claim continuous use. Does this point to a quality control issue? I'm also interested to see if these were tweaked or hand-picked "review units" meant to get high marks on battery life while the shipping consumer units will fall far short. That seemed to be the case with early iPhone reviews. I guess time will tell.
    BillDem
    • At a guess...

      I'd say that Apple was trying to state the battery life where their stated life is not in the center of the bell curve, but somewhat down one end, so that maybe (a guess) 2/3 of iPads batteries will run for at least 10 hours. At least I can hope that that's how they decided on 10 hours :P
      zkiwi
  • RE: iPad battery appears to exceed Apple estimates

    I think we'll know soon enough when the 'average' user gets ahold of it.
    THavoc
    • Battery Life

      If this device exceeds Apples expected battery usage specs then it will be the first time a manufacturer has under-estimated battery life. When did that ever happen?
      Byterat
  • RE: iPad battery appears to exceed Apple estimates

    Once Qualcomm's displays are incorporated later this year, the battery use time should jump ten fold.
    tburzio
  • Comparing to a Kindle??

    Seriously, he is comparing watching non-stop video to reading a book on a kindle?? I am sure if all you did was read a book on the iPad you could stretch that time out close to 20 hours or so. I know watching movies on my MacBook cuts the battery life in half compared to doing light work/reading.
    Stuka
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