Brand new battery for my Macbook Air

After 3 days of servicing, I finally collected my Macbook Air, with a new battery inside. Last week, I sent it for servicing, after my battery capacity dropped drastically to around 60%. The “Service Battery” indicator was turned on as well, reminding me to send the Macbook Air for servicing. Now it feels like I just got a brand new notebook. With a battery capacity at 100%, I am happy with it.

It was a tough decision on whether I should service the notebook or not. On one hand, I wanted to use this notebook for at least another couple of years, maybe till the new generation of Intel’s Broadwell chips are out that has been touted to be even more energy efficient than the current generation’s Haswell chips. Early data indicated that it can be 30% more power efficient, which would pave way for really long battery life in portable computing devices. Also, my Macbook Air still looks super new. Not a scratch, or a major dent, or anything that indicated wear and tear due to normal usage. It would be such a waste to simply replace with the new Macbook Air models. I’ve been using my notebook for a little over a year and it still looks brand new.

On the other hand, changing the battery and paying for the servicing fee was  not cheap. It costed me almost SGD400 in total for the replacement and labour charges associated with it. I was really hesitant at first, but decided to proceed with the repair. Further diagnostics from the servicing centre indicated that there was nothing else wrong with my notebook, giving it a clean bill of health, except for the battery. I figured that if I change the battery, it might looked just like a brand new machine and it might be a worthwhile investment, allowing me to use the notebook for at least two more years. Furthermore, I have no intentions in changing or upgrading my notebook anytime soon. For me, it is now not exactly a good time to do just that. My current Macbook Air is a super capable machine, just like my previous Apple computer, the Mac Mini, which I used for 4 years before changing to a more portable machine.  Everything else still works smoothly.  I am still getting my 13 seconds flat boot up timing. Running multiple programs on the desktop still runs as smooth as butter. I had no qualms with the performance of the notebook whatsoever. Other than the battery, everything runs the way it intended to be.

Looking back, I learnt a valuable lesson when it comes to using your notebook as a desktop replacement. It seems that despite charging and discharging occasionally to keep the electrons flowing and maintaining battery health, I was still not vigilant in that aspect The interval to do just that, so that battery health is maintained, is far too long. Sometimes I used the notebook for long hours at a time connected to the charger, at full charge for a week, without discharging the battery. Ideally you should discharge the battery to at least 50% every other day if you wish to use it as a desktop and be connected to the charger on most days. However it seems that I have been rather negligent of late. Now I need to be more careful with how I use my notebook and take greater care in maintaining battery health so that I can perform optimally within the longest duration possible. All lithium ion batteries deteriorate over time, it is only a matter of how fast. And that it completely up to you on how you maintain it.

I have my iPad 2, which I plan to use more often now. I figured that if I can use my iPad for more mundane stuff like content consumption and reading the news, light surfing and social networking, I can then depend less on my notebook and thus be less taxing on the batteries. I now understand why using your notebook as a desktop replacement isn’t really ideal in the long run. You will eventually encounter battery issues if you do not take greater care of it. I could use the iPad to read my daily dose of news from various websites, use various social networking apps that I use just like on the iPhone, and watch T.V. shows downloaded off the web, then at least my Macbook Air can have a break every now and then. It could also be a good first step to wean myself off from my computer desktop and using it for long hours at a stretch. When I don’t need to use it, switch it off. It is better than letting it sit idly on standby, ruining my batteries in the long run.

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