Battery life remains the other big axis on which smartphones are judged, and here we've turned to our regular 2011 suite of battery life tests to see how the Galaxy Nexus shakes out. Our battery life testing consists of a page loading suite which loads through a few dozen pages endlessly on both WiFi and cellular data until the phone dies, with the display set at 200 nits. For the cellular tests, we're always careful to test in cellular environments with decent signal (at least -75 dBm or higher) as well, since that's a factor. Next is a simple call test where we play music at both ends of a call until the device under test dies, and our final test is a WiFi hotspot workload which consists of four page loading tabs and a 128 kbps streaming MP3 station that runs until the phone dies. 

First up are the web browsing tests over cellular 3G; this means EVDO Rev.A for the CDMA/LTE version, and WCDMA T-Mobile for the GSM/UMTS device. 

Web Browsing (Cellular 3G - EVDO or WCDMA)

The Galaxy Nexii both do surprisingly well. I'm actually very impressed with how long the devices lasted subjectively on 3G and this definitely backs that up. Of course, both devices include beefy batteries, but Samsung has done a nice job thus far including big batteries without making devices bulky or heavy. 

Next up is the same test, but on 4G LTE for the CDMA/LTE variant. 

Web Browsing (Cellular 4G WiMAX or LTE)

The Galaxy Nexus doesn't post numbers very far in front, but manages to come in the top of the pack on 4G LTE at just under 4 hours. This is a pretty impressive result, honestly, considering that CMC221 is likely made on the same 45nm manufacturing process as CMC220. Again, I'm impressed with the Galaxy Nexus' longevity even on 4G LTE.

Web Browsing (WiFi)

Surprisingly, the Galaxy Nexus can't break past that 6 hour mark even on WiFi, however, which does lead me to think we might be constrained by driving that display. 

Cellular Talk Time

If you ever wanted to see how much difference having a different cellular architecture makes, see above. The GSM/UMTS Galaxy Nexus lasts impressively long on a voice call, at over 11 hours, yet its CDMA/LTE brother lasts just over half that. 

WiFi Hotspot Battery Life (3G)

WiFi hotspot on 3G tells the same story - I'm not sure what Via Telecom's CBP7.1 draws in its active state for EVDO or 1x voice, but it seems to eat up more power than the XMM 6260 (X-Gold 626) in the GSM/UMTS Galaxy Nexus. 

WiFi Hotspot Battery Life (4G)

As a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, the Galaxy Nexus loses its edge over the Revolution, but does come in just ahead of the rest of the 4G LTE herd. 

The story of battery life on the Galaxy Nexus unsurprisingly depends on which variant you're talking about. For a phone with a 4.65" display, I'd say I'm impressed with the battery life on both devices - remember that the area that needs to get lit up goes as r^2 - increasing that and not killing the battery is a big feat. In addition, I'd wager that using the OpenGL ES renderpath (and accelerated browser in 4.0) definitely helped both Galaxy Nexus devices post impressive scores. As for the two variants, the GSM/UMTS device has impressively long battery life pretty much across the board. Playing with that phone, I was rarely wanting for more on my regular use schedule (I charge at night on my nightstand). We've seen XMM6260 before in numerous devices where it seems to be a pretty good citizen. 

The CDMA/LTE variant, on the other hand, depends strongly on what air interface you end up using most - on 4G LTE the device comes in at the front of the pack usually, and its 3G web browsing test is above average. However, if you make a lot of voice calls, the phone might not cut it. Unsurprisingly the CDMA/LTE Galaxy Nexus does nothing to dramatically change 4G LTE battery life - for that we're still waiting for upcoming 28nm LTE basebands. 

WiFi, GPS, Speakerphone, Audio Quality Conclusions and Final Thoughts
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  • HooDooMagic - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    I think it's already been mentioned that 4.03 fixed the task switcher lag. I have alpha ICS 4.03 roms running on a Nexus One, Nook Color and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and everything runs very smoothly on all 3 devices. Even the very underpowered Nook has surprisingly little lag and stutter when using the task switcher and transitioning between screens/app drawer etc. Reply
  • Chloiber - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    The Galaxy Nexus is a very nice phone indeed, but there are just some things that I don't like about it. As mentioned in the review, the GPU is not the best, which is actually the main reason I won't buy the phone. I buy smartphones which should last about 2 years. Buying one with a GPU from the beginning of last year is just not good enough. As Anand mentions: better wait for Q2, maybe Q3. At the moment, the GN is certainly the best phone (in my opinion) money can buy, but it's not the right moment to buy an android phone.
    The review is very late indeed...but very thorough - thank you!

    One question remains: are microSD slots a thing of the past? Google mentioned that there is a good reason why they didn't include one (slow speeds for apps). But I still think that's a very bad reason not to include a slot. While it is true, that the mSD cards are pretty slow compared to internal storage, there is just no way in hell I'm gonna pay 100$+ for 16GB of additional internal NAND. Additionally, you don't need high speeds for music, pictures and movies (the main reason to get an SD card).

    I hope for a phone in Q2/Q3 with a) better SoC, b) an SD card slot and c) a 720p IPS or SAMOLED+ screen.
    Reply
  • humancyborg - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    I agree. The GPU is a terrible oversight on this phone, particularly considering the inclusion (finally) of OpenGL rendering throughout Android.

    With the 4S GPU being 3-4x faster it's tough to see how this phone is going to stand the test of time. Presumably the iPad3 and next iPhone will be packing an even more powerful SoC and GPU.

    This is one of the main reasons that I think Apple is in a great position going forward with regards to hardware. With the exception of Samsung, everyone else is relying on TI, Qualcomm, Intel, etc to make the right decisions with regards to CPU/GPU etc combination and clearly those chip makers do not always have the best insight with regards to product pipeline or requirements.

    A retina display-ish version of the iPad is going to take a GPU far beyond anything the current SoC guys are manufacturing.
    Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    The next generation of PowerVR SGX graphics chips are supposedly 20x as powerful as the current ones. I'm guessing Apple will still be using the dual core variant of the 6** series. That's good, if the 4x screen resolution rumours are true.

    Yeesh, Android devices still haven't caught up to the old GPU now a new one is around the corner. Nvidia is stuck with their own GPU's of course, but TI or Samsung should switch to PowerVR if this performance domination continues.
    Reply
  • trob6969 - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    What performance domination?! Android phones are easily the most powerful on the market! Reply
  • Greg512 - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Not when it comes to GPU power. The iPhone 4S has a GPU 3-4 times as powerful as the one in the Nexus. Android phones do tend to have higher clocked processors, however, so they do have a healthy advantage on that front. Android phones also have more RAM, though many would debate that iOS is memory efficient, negating the hardware advantage. Reply
  • KoolAidMan1 - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    You're kidding, right? The Tegra 3 is slower than the eight month old A5. Everything in Android world is playing catch-up with old parts, which is odd given that they have a more frequent upgrade cycle. Problem is that they've been behind since the beginning. Reply
  • doobydoo - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    trob6969 - the leading Android phones have CPU's which are largely comparable to the CPU in the iPhone 4S - in some cases they even boast up to ~10% extra performance (as a result of, in some cases, 50% higher clock speed), but only in CPU limited tasks, and that <10% is barely noticeable.

    Graphically, the GPU in the Nexus Prime is far slower than even the Samsung Galaxy S2 - using an older GPU which is up to 3x slower than the GPU in the iPhone 4S. The GPU in the SG2 (the fastest Android GPU) is also far slower than the iPhone 4S (as the benchmarks in this review show)

    Because iOS is hardware accelerated (and tightly intertwined with the iPhone), the performance of the iPhone 4S and iOS is far superior to any Android phone out at this moment in time.
    Reply
  • zorxd - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    uh?
    50% faster clock speed gives you 50% more performance in CPU limited tasks. Don't forget that it's the same architecture (Cortex A9).

    I hope you are not making that 10% claim based on javascript bencmarks. They are browser benchmarks more than CPU benchmarks.
    Reply
  • Zoomer - Thursday, January 19, 2012 - link

    Not really, the A9 ISA have many different architecture implantations. TI does their own, Apple probably did their own, and I believe nVidia has their own too. Reply

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