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Top 10 Smartphones For Battery Life

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One of the biggest frustrations when using a smartphone is running out of power in the middle of the day. In this article, we showcase the top 10 smartphones for all-day battery life. We’ll also discuss the different methods of comparing battery life.

 

Battery Life on Smartphones

 

Battery.jpgIn the past couple of years, our smartphones have become increasingly advanced. We now use our smartphones for a multitude of day-to-day activities such as browsing the web, reading e-mails, updating social networks, watching online TV and recording photos and videos.

 

One downside of smartphones becoming more powerful is they’ve also become increasingly power-hungry. Smartphones constantly transmit and download information from the internet. They also need to power their high-definition displays and quad-core processors. With the wrong smartphone, you can often find yourself running out of power in the middle of the day.

 

Best Smartphones For All-Day Battery Life

 

When choosing a new smartphone, it’s important to compare battery life. There are many ways to do this with the most popular methods being to look at battery capacity, standby time, 3G talk time and 3G browsing time.

 

Top 10 Smartphones For Battery Capacity

 

A major determinant of your smartphone’s battery life is the capacity of the battery inside it. Just like your car’s fuel tank has a certain capacity for fuel, smartphone batteries have a limited capacity for storing energy. Battery capacity is normally measured in milliamp-hours (mAh for short).

 

The following 10 smartphones have some of the largest battery capacities available on the market:

 

  1. HTC One Max (3,300mAh)
  2. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (3,200mAh)
  3. Sony Xperia Z Ultra (3,050mAh)
  4. LG G2 (3,000mAh)
  5. Sony Xperia Z1 (3,000mAh)
  6. BlackBerry Z30 (2,880mAh)
  7. Samsung Galaxy S4 (2,600mAh)
  8. Sony Xperia Z (2,400mAh)
  9. Sony Xperia SP (2,370mAh)
  10. LG Nexus 5 (2,300mAh)

One limitation of looking at battery capacity is it only tells you half of the story. With cars, there are gas-guzzling SUVs and fuel-efficient smart cars. Knowing the capacity of your tank isn’t enough to know how far you can drive: you’ll also need to know the rate of fuel consumption. With smartphones, the same principles apply. You’ll need to know battery capacity but also the rate at which power is consumed: some smartphones will consume more power than others.

 

To get a better idea of real-world battery life, many people instead prefer to look at stated usage times. Most smartphone manufacturers will publish standby and talk time figures within their specifications. Some manufacturers also publish a usage time for browsing the web.

 

Top 10 Smartphones For Standby Time

 

Standby.jpgStandby time measures the amount of time a fully-charged smartphone can be left on waiting for a call or text message. It assumes perfect reception and also that the handset isn’t used for any other activity: the data connection is disabled and features such as push e-mail are turned off on the device. According to figures provided by manufacturers, the average smartphone currently offers 450 hours whilst on standby. This is equivalent to around 19 days.

 

The GSMA has a standardised method for measuring standby and talk time. You can find out more on their battery tests here. The top 10 smartphones for standby time are as follows:

 

  1. Nokia 301 (up to 936 hours)
  2. Sony Xperia Z1 (up to 850 hours)
  3. Sony Xperia Z Ultra (up to 820 hours)
  4. Sony Xperia SP (up to 734 hours)
  5. LG G2 (up to 696 hours)
  6. HTC One Mini (up to 692 hours)
  7. HTC One Max (up to 585 hours)
  8. Nokia Lumia 625 (up to 552 hours)
  9. Sony Xperia Z (up to 530 hours)
  10. Sony Xperia E (up to 530 hours)

A notable result is you’ll get the best battery life on the Nokia 301. This is more of a feature phone rather than a smartphone. That said, Nokia are claiming you’ll be able to get up to 39 days standby time on one complete charge. If you’re going camping or spending time outdoors away from a power socket, this long-life phone could be a great choice.

 

The three highest ranked smartphones are all manufactured by Sony: the Xperia Z1 claims to offer up to 850 hours on standby. Sony’s devices tend to score well when it comes to standby time. This is because of the Battery Stamina Mode (first introduced on the Xperia Z).

 

In reality, there’s limited use in comparing standby times. We buy a phone because we want to use it: not because we plan to leave it on standby. Thus, looking at talk time figures can often provide a more useful comparison.

 

Top 10 Smartphones For Talk Time

 

Talk Time.jpgTalk time is another popular method for comparing battery life. Almost all smartphone manufacturers publish it in their spec sheet with figures being measured under controlled conditions. In real-world usage, you’ll normally struggle to reach the quoted value as signal strength is never perfect. The average quoted talk time is 13 hours on 3G.

 

The top 10 smartphones for 3G talk time are as follows (the talk time may differ on 2G networks):

 

  1. HTC One Max (up to 25 hours)
  2. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (up to 21 hours)
  3. Sony Xperia SP (up to 19 hours)
  4. HTC One (up to 18 hours)
  5. BlackBerry Z30 (up to 18 hours)
  6. LG G2 (up to 18 hours)
  7. Samsung Galaxy S4 (up to 17 hours)
  8. LG Nexus 5 (up to 17 hours)
  9. Sony Xperia Z Ultra (up to 16 hours)
  10. Nokia Lumia 625 (up to 15 hours)

According to official figures provided by the manufacturer, HTC’s One Max offers the best talk time of any smartphone. With up to 25 hours on one complete charge, its battery life is around double that of an average device. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 is in a close second place with up to 21 hours of talk time when fully charged and connected to a 3G network.

 

The main limitation with using talk time as a measurement is it doesn’t actually reflect how we use our phones. Few of us spend 25 hours talking on the phone: instead we use our smartphones to browse the web, to play games and to run applications. Making a phone call doesn’t reflect typical power consumption: the screen is turned off during a call and your phone’s processor will enter a low-power mode. A better measurement should reflect the way we actually use our smartphones.

 

Top Smartphones For Browsing Time

 

Browsing Time.jpgThe best official measurement of smartphone battery life is probably the 3G browsing time. Much of what we do on a smartphone involves having an active data connection, having the screen turned on and having the processor active. All of these are the case when browsing the internet.

 

The limitation with comparing browsing time is that few manufacturers publish official figures. So far, only Apple and Samsung have routinely published numbers for browsing time. Google has followed up by publishing a browsing time for their new Nexus 5.

 

From the handsets that have an official measurement of web browsing time, the top handsets are as follows:

 

  1. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (up to 11 hours)
  2. Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini (up to 9 hours)
  3. Samsung Galaxy S4 (up to 8 hours)
  4. Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 (up to 8 hours)
  5. Apple iPhone 5/5c/5s (up to 8 hours)

The Relationship Between Battery Capacity, Talk Time & Browsing Time

 

So far, we’ve talked about the four different methods of measuring smartphone battery life: the capacity of your battery, the standby time, the 3G talk time and the 3G browsing time. Each method has its pros and cons and you’ll get slightly different answers for the best handset depending on the method you choose.

 

In the graph below, we’ve plotted 3G talk time and 3G browsing time against battery capacity. It shows that, in general, you’ll get better talk time and better browsing time as the capacity of your battery increases. Although battery capacity is an imperfect measurement, it correlates well with stated usage times. Check the spec sheet for battery capacity and read a couple of reviews on real-world battery life. Providing you do this, it should be difficult to go wrong when choosing a handset.

 

Chart.png
3G talk time and 3G browsing time plotted against battery capacity. The graph was generated from the table below.

 

Battery Life On Popular Smartphones: Specifications Compared

 

The following table shows official battery life specs provided by the manufacturer. We’ve used this as the basis for determining the top 10 handsets for battery life.

 

Handset

Battery

Capacity (mAh)

Standby

(hours)

3G Talktime

(hours)

3G Browsing

(hours)

Replaceable

Battery

Apple Handsets

Apple iPhone 4

1,420mAh

300 hours

7 hours

6 hours

Apple iPhone 4S

1,430mAh

200 hours

8 hours

6 hours

Apple iPhone 5

1,440mAh

225 hours

8 hours

8 hours

Apple iPhone 5c

1,510mAh

250 hours

10 hours

8 hours

Apple iPhone 5s

1,560mAh

250 hours

10 hours

8 hours

Samsung Handsets

Samsung Galaxy Ace 3

1,800mAh

430 hours

10 hours

8 hours

Samsung Galaxy Fame

1,200mAh

380 hours

6.2 hours

?

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

3,200mAh

420 hours

21 hours

11 hours

Samsung Galaxy S III

2,100mAh

460 hours

10 hours

7 hours

Samsung Galaxy S III Mini

1,500mAh

360 hours

7.8 hours

?

Samsung Galaxy S4

2,600mAh

370 hours

17 hours

8 hours

Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini

1,900mAh

300 hours

12 hours

9 hours

Samsung Galaxy Young

1,300mAh

280 hours

7 hours

7 hours

BlackBerry Handsets

BlackBerry Q5

2,180mAh

336 hours

12.5 hours

?

BlackBerry Q10

2,100mAh

355 hours

13.5 hours

?

BlackBerry Z10

1,800mAh

283 hours

10 hours

?

BlackBerry Z30

2,880mAh

384 hours

18 hours

?

HTC Handsets

HTC One

2,300mAh

500 hours

18 hours

?

HTC One Mini

1,800mAh

692 hours

13.3 hours

?

HTC One Max

3,300mAh

585 hours

25 hours

?

LG Handsets

LG G2

3,000mAh

696 hours

17.9 hours

?

LG Nexus 4

2,100mAh

250 hours

15 hours

?

LG Nexus 5

2,300mAh

300 hours

17 hours

7 hours

Nokia Handsets

Nokia 301

1,200mAh

936 hours

6 hours

?

Nokia Lumia 520

1,430mAh

384 hours

9.7 hours

?

Nokia Lumia 625

2,000mAh

552 hours

15.2 hours

?

Nokia Lumia 925

2,000mAh

432 hours

12.8 hours

?

Nokia Lumia 1020

2,000mAh

384 hours

13.3 hours

?

Sony Handsets

Sony Xperia E

1,530mAh

530 hours

6.3 hours

?

Sony Xperia M

1,750mAh

454 hours

9 hours

?

Sony Xperia SP

2,370mAh

734 hours

18.9 hours

?

Sony Xperia Z

2,400mAh

530 hours

14 hours

?

Sony Xperia Z1

3,000mAh

850 hours

15 hours

?

Sony Xperia Z Ultra

3,050mAh

820 hours

16 hours

?

The battery capacity, standby time, 3G talk time and 3G browsing time of selected handsets. The battery life stated is an “up to” figure: in actual usage the battery life will be less. Information has been collected from manufacturer’s websites (retrieved on 17th November 2013).

 

Your Thoughts…

 

Battery life is an important consideration when choosing a new smartphone.

 

There are four popular methods for comparing smartphone battery life: battery capacity, standby time, 3G talk time and 3G browsing time. Each method gives slightly different results but you should get vaguely similar results regardless of the method.

 

When comparing multiple smartphones to find the best battery life, the easiest method is to look for a high-capacity battery as well as positive reviews from users of the phone. Once you have the handset, be sure to follow our battery saving tips and keep your phone’s battery in good condition by charging it regularly. By following these steps, you can maximise your chances of all-day battery life.

 

What do you think of the battery life on your phone? Are there any handsets which have particularly impressed you in terms of battery life? How do you normally compare battery life on smartphones? We’d love to hear your thoughts… please drop us a comment below and let us know what you think!

 

Ken Lo writes about mobile technology and the mobile industry at Ken's Tech Tips.

37 Comments

Great blog as always Ken Lo! Very interesting too... 

It seems that in most cases, the phones that do the best are the biggest. This is probably due to their extra large batteries but the phablets are way too big to carry around in your pocket or to use with one hand! It's good to see that Sony is doing well on the battery tests, hopefully they'll be able to pick up a bit more market share, and keep producing innovative products...

sensei
One thing that really strikes me is Apple is really sacrificing some long runtimes, just to make their iPhones that tiny bit thinner. Though it also seems to show, from the figures, how power efficient iOS has to be to get even their current meagre runtimes. Thanks again, Kenlo, for a great blog. Smiley Happy

As a long time iphone user I can never work out why they don't make each version a tiny bit thicker and give it a battery that lasts all day...

pupil

Great blog. Some good information in there.

I win the interwebs

Hi Ken , some very interesting reading there .... Thank You . 

newcomer

I find these tables hard to believe after owning several of the phones (Galaxy s4, iPhone 4, iPhone 5, Lumia 520). The iPhones were tons better with battery than the S4, which used an unbelievable amount of battery even on battery saving mode and routed and optimised to the max. The huge screen used the most of it. Lumia is terrible with battery also (no good excuse, it's tiny and low-res but it's constantly connected to the internet in ways you can't change). iPhones handle really well in my experience, but you have to know to have wifi and 3/4G off except when needed, that kind of thing

academic
Most of them are Samsung phones.. that's great..thanks..
enigma
Really nice comparisons. Still think user reviews are better than manufacturer lists, usually more in tune to how the end user really uses a phone
kingpin
Calling the Nokia 301 a smartphone is stretching it a bit while comparing with things like the iphone.