Google sucks… battery

I think it’s safe to say I use my laptop a lot. Not only is it my primary work machine, but it also comes home with me each night. 5:151 isn’t the end of the working day so much as time to relocate to my “office on the train”. Once I get home, should I have anything else I need to catch up with3, I have the option of heading into my home office2, or sitting with the wife while she watches her TV.

Last night I noticed my laptop battery was near dead (31 minutes left) which was odd because the 13″ MBPr’s are supposed to have insane battery lives of something like 7 hours. I know battery life diminishes with age, but this machine is still quite new and I was looking like I was only going to get 4 hours off a full charge. Something was not right.

Turns out the 7 hour charge is only attainable if you’re not spanking the CPU constantly, which it seems I was. Admittedly I do run an awful lot of applications and processes in the background, but they should all be in idle wait loops, delicately sipping power until called upon.

Some quick investigation showed that Google was at fault, although surprisingly not Chrome4. Google Drive was chewing up huge swathes of CPU, apparently updating the “synchronising” status, and halving my battery life. Restarting it caused the meagre 20% power I had left to start heading back towards the 1 hour mark.

Since restarting it it’s played nicely, and (after a recharge and some minutes on the train on battery power) I’m back to a project 8 hours 15 minutes battery remaining with Google Chrome now listed as the only app using significant energy.

1 My working day is dictated by trains, and the next one is an hour later. I don’t doubt stupid o’clock will feature during my time at Rainbird, but we’re trying to run things so that the mental startup hours are the exception rather than the norm.

2 slash spare room – by home office I mean I’ve got a thunderbolt display on the desk where my gaming rig lives. It means I can plonk my laptop down there and wheel my chair over to work comfortably on two screens.

3 I said mental startup hours, long hours are to be expected, and most of the stuff I do at home is lightweight admin stuff, or writing presentations, which hardly constitutes work anyway.

4 Although one result of the investigations into power usage is that I may be returning to Firefox or Safari given Chromes is getting to be a bit chubby and heavyweight.