Portable USB Speakers Impact On MacBook Battery Life | Portable Apple Mac Laptop Speaker Reviews

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Portable USB Speakers Impact On MacBook Battery Life

MacBook Battery Life
Some PC and Apple notebook users may wonder how USB speakers affect battery life on the road between recharges. USB powered computer speakers get ALL of their power from a laptop's battery. In it's simplest terms, of course powering external speakers will drain your MacBook battery faster depending on the volume level you choose. The loudspeakers particular design and engineering will also affect battery life to some degree depending on whether it is a small USB speaker with a single driver cone, or a 2 piece portable speaker with larger 2"-3" speakers in each enclosure, and how efficient the drivers are. Imagine two best-selling USB loudspeakers: The very portable and slim Grandmax USB Soundbar with its very small 3/4"x1.5" oblong drivers as opposed to 12 South's BassJump USB Subwoofer for MacBook with it's 3" speaker cone delivering heavy bass thump when getting it's power only from your Mac laptop's USB port. The latter will draw decidedly more current.

USB bus powered speaker systems draw current in proportion to the volume level. Cranked-up loud a USB speaker will logically draw more milliamps of current than when played softly - and in direct proportion to the volume level. Whether this significantly impacts a MacBook Pro or Air's usable battery life to a worrisome degree is hard to determine. Particularly with the latest models of Apple laptops, battery capacity and density has improved greatly. Intelligent power-management in modern Intel CPU's and Apple's OSX strive to conserve power consumption at every turn, so high-volume music listening with a portable USB notebook speaker may not be very significant in real-world use.

Computer USB ports deliver a fixed 5 volts of power and maximum of 500 mAh of current. USB speakers seem to stay within that limit. Other high-demand USB devices might pop up an alert and complain 'There's not enough power available for this USB device' when plugged in, but I've never seen this occur with any bus powered USB speakers I've tested.

Lastly, it should also be noted that many portable Bluetooth wireless loudspeakers which charge their LiOn battery via USB will have the same effect of draining some of your laptop battery capacity to some degree. Perhaps even more than a USB speaker since portable, rechargeable Bluetooth speakers ONLY use USB port for charging - and not for delivering an audio data stream. For charging, the USB Device Specification may support up to 900 mAh of current draw on, say, the latest MacBooks with USB 3.0 SuperSpeed ports. Once the battery has an adequate charge, or is in a fully charged state, a rechargeable speaker system will progressively stop drawing current from your MacBook's USB port and have minimal further effect on battery life. Most speakers with built-in battery that charge via USB will operate for 6 hours or more once fully charged. And that too depends on how loud you play them.