Anand's Google Nexus One Reviewby Anand Lal Shimpi on April 3, 2010 3:40 AM EST
Battery Life: Unimpressive
The iPhone doesn't have a very long lasting battery. Before my iPhone I was a Blackberry user; my battery lasted for days. With the iPhone, especially while I'm traveling, I have to keep charging it throughout the day or risk a completely dead phone by 6PM. The Nexus One is worse.
To test battery life I ran the same suite of battery life tests I have been using in our smartphone reviews for the past couple of years:
The wireless web browsing test uses the 3G or WiFi connection to browse a series of 20 web pages varying in size, spending 20 seconds on each page (I timed how long it takes me to read a page on Digg and came up with 36 seconds; I standardized on 20 seconds for the test to make things a little more stressful). The test continues to loop until the phone dies. This test is designed to simulate a relatively heavy, but realistic data load on the phone. We're stressing the modem/WiFi radio, SoC, memory and display subsystems here. This should also be the sort of battery life you get when you are using any apps that use data (but not 3D acceleration). The display brightness was set to roughly 30% on the Nexus One and 50% on the iPhone.
The H.264 movie playback test loops a 480 x 208 632Kbps re-encode of Slumdog Millionaire until the phone dies. The majority of the device is idle during this test stressing the memory subsystem, video decoder, audio decoder and display more than anything else. The display brightness was set to roughly 30% on the Nexus One and 50% on the iPhone.
The talk time test measures battery life over the course of a conversation between the phone being tested and another phone. The conversation is actually an MP3 playlist on repeat played into the microphone of the phone being tested. The display was disabled.
Apple iPhone 3G
Apple iPhone 3GS
|Google Nexus One|
|Wireless Web Browsing (3G)||4.50 hours||4.82 hours||3.77 hours|
|Wireless Web Browsing (WiFi)||6.67 hours||8.83 hours||5.62 hours|
|H.264 Movie Playback||4.70 hours||9.65 hours||6.67 hours|
|3G Talk Time||4.82 hours||4.82 hours||4.67 hours|
Despite having a larger 1400 mAh battery, the Nexus one proved to have worse battery life across the board than the iPhone 3GS both in my tests and in my day to day usage. The only redeeming quality here is that you can easily swap out spare batteries, while the iPhone requires a 3rd party external battery if you need more juice on the go.
Talk time is lower than on the iPhone 3GS. Using the 3G data or WiFi connections both result in the phone dying faster than the 3GS. Even H.264 video playback discharges the Nexus One's battery faster.
I'm not sure if it's the AMOLED display, the Snapdragon SoC or just inefficiencies in Android but the battery life story isn't a good one.
Android does have a power consumption page that shows what percentage of battery drain can be attributed to various components in the phone (e.g. display, OS, specific apps, idle time). It’s not granular enough for my needs but it’s a great way of showing users, at a high level, what’s killing the battery.