MacBook Pro 2021 battery life tested — here’s how 14-inch and 16-inch stack up

MacBook Pro 16-inch 2021
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The new MacBook Pro 14-inch and MacBook Pro 16-inch laptops are all we could have hoped for. Packing the powerful M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, Apple’s latest notebooks feature new Liquid Retina XDR displays, MagSafe charging, thinner bezels, and (finally) ditch the Touch Bar. Both laptops are a true return to form for the MacBook Pro. They also offer exceptional battery life.

As revealed by our Tom’s Guide battery tests, the 14-inch MacBook Pro with an M1 Pro chip can last 14:08 hours (with ProMotion refresh rate). The M1 Max-powered 16-inch MacBook lasted 15:31, also with ProMotion. You’ll get all-day use out of both laptops, which is quite impressive considering the power under their respective hoods.

We’ve compared the MacBook Pro 2021 laptops’ battery lives with other notebooks. This includes competitors like Asus, Dell, Samsung and Microsoft. We’ve also compared them to two older Apple laptops packing the M1 chip. You can see how the new MacBook Pros stack up below.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 Battery life (hours:mins)
MacBook Pro 14-inch M1 Pro14:08
MacBook Pro 16-inch M1 Max15:31
Asus Zenbook 13 OLED14:57
Dell XPS 13 OLED7:59
Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 36013:30
Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 (15-inch, AMD)12:03
Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio10:42 (120Hz)
MacBook Air M114:40
MacBook Pro M116:25

The new MacBooks obliterate the Dell XPS 13 OLED’s 7:59 battery life. The Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio fares better at 10:42 but still doesn’t come close to even the 14-inch MacBook Pro.

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 and Samsung Galaxy Book Pro fare better at 12:03 and 13:30, respectively. Those numbers fall short in comparison to the MacBook Pros but are still respectable. Out of all the competitive notebooks we tested against the MacBook Pros, Asus' Zenbook 13 OLED offers the most comparable battery life at 14:57.

Compared with the M1-powered MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, the new laptops lag behind. This could be seen as a negative or evidence that the new M1 chips aren’t all Apple makes them out to be. However, considering the power of the new chips, it’s surprising they don’t consume more power. The fact that the 16-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 Max chip only lasts an hour less than the M1 MacBook Pro is a testament to its power efficiency.

While the new MacBook Pros don’t have the same battery life as their M1-powered counterparts, they outlast the lion's share of Windows laptops and deliver remarkable performance to boot. I think it’s safe to say the M1 Pro and M1 Max will be Apple's top-tier performance chips for the foreseeable future.

Apple made many bold claims when it unveiled the new M1 chips, and so far, the MacBook Pro notebooks are living up to or exceeding all expectations. For more raw numbers that show how beefy these new Apple laptops are, check out how they did against top Windows laptops in our performance benchmarks.

Tony Polanco
Computing Writer

Tony is a computing writer at Tom’s Guide covering laptops, tablets, Windows, and iOS. During his off-hours, Tony enjoys reading comic books, playing video games, reading speculative fiction novels, and spending too much time on X/Twitter. His non-nerdy pursuits involve attending Hard Rock/Heavy Metal concerts and going to NYC bars with friends and colleagues. His work has appeared in publications such as Laptop Mag, PC Mag, and various independent gaming sites.