2016 MacBook Pro: USB-C Might Offer Massive Runtime via External Batteries
Mac wish list • all 2016 MacBook pro models at B&H Photo • all 15" Apple MacBook Pro 2016 models • all 13" Apple MacBook Pro 2016 models. MPG gets credit if you buy through those links.
Update 19 Nov 2016: I am disappointed to report that the Anker batteries fail to supply charging power to the 2015 MacBook pro 15" model, even though the MBP shows a lightning icon and indicates that it is on a power adapter. An inquiry is in to Anker tech support.
A few months ago I looked into off-grid power options. See my review: Anker PowerCore+ 20100 USB-C Charger Battery for iPhone/iPad/Cameras/MacBook/etc.
One terrific feature of USB-C is the ability to power the laptop via a battery. The MacBook could/can do this, and now the 2016 MacBook Pro.
Take a look at the amp hours with the batteries involved:
|Apple 2016 MacBook Pro 13" (non-touchbar):||54.5 watt hours|
|Apple 2016 MacBook Pro 13" (touchbar):||49.2 watt hours|
|Apple 2016 MacBook Pro 15" model:||76 watt hours|
|Anker PowerCore+ 20100 USB-C @AMAZON||74 watt hours|
The about $60 Anker PowerCore+ 20100 USB-C @AMAZON is a compact 74 watt-hour battery that weighs only 467 grams (517g with soft case and two USB cables)—about one pound. I have used it in the field when backpacking to recharge Sony A7R II batteries as well as a Fenix flashlight. It can also be solar charged.
The Anker PowerCore+ 20100 has the ~same capacity as the internal 15" MacBook Pro battery (within 2Wh). Plug it into any USB-C port, and it is rated to deliver 2.4 amps at 5V = 12 watts. That’s not enough for full load with all CPUs cranking, but it’s ample for most any kind of steady state usage.
So for about $60 you can attach Anker PowerCore+ 20100 USB-C and in theory just about double your runtime.
It seems to me that we now have an unprecedented “clean” solution to powering a laptop in the field, that is, one without special connectors, patent-violating connectors and so on—just standard interchangeable USB-C that works on any port on the MacBook Pro.
Since Apple rates the MacBook Pro runtime at about 10 hours, in theory the Anker battery could double the runtime. Two of them could triple it, for only about 2 pounds of weight.
Theory is one thing and such things have to be verified. As I have two of the Anker PowerCore+ 20100 batteries, I will be testing them and verifying this exciting potential for being able to use a laptop a very long time without AC power.