Update: Jan. 10 ―
Consumer Reports says it will test the latest MacBook Pro again after Apple issued a software bug fix in response to complaints of inconsistent battery life.
Apple pointed to a “hidden Safari setting” used during initial Consumer Reports testing that did not accurately reflect “real-world usage.” After Apple issued a related software update on Tuesday, Consumer Reports began re-testing MacBook Pro batteries and agreed to update their review as needed once testing is complete.
Apple released the following statement:
We appreciate the opportunity to work with Consumer Reports over the holidays to understand their battery test results. We learned that when testing battery life on Mac notebooks, Consumer Reports uses a hidden Safari setting for developing web sites which turns off the browser cache. This is not a setting used by customers and does not reflect real-world usage. Their use of this developer setting also triggered an obscure and intermittent bug reloading icons which created inconsistent results in their lab. After we asked Consumer Reports to run the same test using normal user settings, they told us their MacBook Pro systems consistently delivered the expected battery life. We have also fixed the bug uncovered in this test. This is the best pro notebook we’ve ever made, we respect Consumer Reports and we’re glad they decided to revisit their findings on the MacBook Pro.
Consumer Reports, a respected product review magazine, says it “can’t recommend” Apple’s latest MacBook Pro ― marking the first time the notebook computer hasn’t received a recommended rating from the outlet.
This edition of the MacBook Pro, released in November, features the new Touch Bar above the keyboard, an OLED screen to replace function keys and the integration of Touch ID that allows users to log in to their laptop using a fingerprint.
But these innovative features weren’t enough to inspire a recommendation from Consumer Reports, a trusted resource among technology enthusiasts. Factors including “highly inconsistent” battery life results accounted for the product’s unprecedented low rating.
“This is a real departure from past MacBooks,” Consumer Reports wrote in its review Thursday.
The outlet thoroughly tested three versions of the latest MacBook Pro (a 13-inch with the Touch Bar, a 13-inch without the Touch Bar, and a 15-inch, which always includes the Touch Bar). Each model produced inconsistent battery life results during the trials.
For example, the 13-inch without the Touch Bar lasted 16 hours in the first trial and 12.75 hours in the second. The battery ran out after 3.75 hours in the third test.
“Battery life is an important attribute for a laptop, and it it represents a significant portion of our overall score,” the report reads. “After factoring together our complete test results, Consumer Reports finds that all three MacBook Pro laptops fail to meet our standards for recommended models.”
Inconsistent battery life has been a known issue for the newest MacBook Pro since it went on the market. Users quickly complained online that the laptop’s battery life doesn’t last as long as Apple promised, Fortune reported this month.
The MacBook Pro’s less-than-stellar review follows lukewarm reception to other recent Apple releases ― from Apple Music to the Apple Watch. Some tech experts wonder if the company can continue the legacy its co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs left behind.
Apple didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.