MacBook Air and MacBook Pro M1 battery life tested — this is amazing

Apple MacBook Air M1 (late 2020) review
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro posted battery life numbers so fantastic that it made me look back into the history of our testing. And in the past decade of Tom's Guide battery test scores, only once has Apple ever come close to the new MacBook Air's time.

So we're here to put a "correct" sticker of Apple's claim that the new MacBooks are its longest lasting ever. As our MacBook Air with M1 review shows, it took 14 hours and 41 minutes of web browsing at 150 nits of brightness to drain Apple's most portable laptop — which beats the previous record-holder, the 2015 13-inch MacBook Pro (14:00). But wait: it gets better.

Not only was that the previous record-holder, it was also done at a slightly less demanding test: with its display at 100 nits, not 150. 

But about the M1 MacBook Pro. Its battery test score — an amazing 16:32 — is one of the best scores on this test I've ever seen, and the longest lasting MacBook ever.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Battery life
M1 MacBook Air 14:41
M1 MacBook Pro16:32
Asus ZenBook 1313:47
Dell XPS 1311:07
Intel MacBook Air 20209:31
Intel MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020)10:21

How did Apple pull it off? The Apple M1 Chip is a winner at efficiency, as it's a 5-nanometer processor that the company says offers the best performance per watt in a CPU. 

These achievements in endurance make us wonder how the long the larger 16-inch MacBook Pro will last on a single charge, once it's moved to Apple Silicon in the coming years. But for now, the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are officially some of the longest-lasting laptops you can buy

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.