Battery Life

Our battery life tests have also been upgraded for 2016. Our web browsing test was previously shown in the first part of the Galaxy S7 review, and since that time it has been tweaked to the point that we're happy with the workload it puts on devices. We've also migrated to GFXBench's Manhattan test for examining battery life with a heavy GPU workload.

Web Browsing Battery Battery Life 2016 (WiFi)

In our WiFi web browsing test the iPhone SE does quite well. When Apple originally advertised that the SE has better web browsing battery life than the 6s and 6s Plus I saw some confusion from many people, but it's actually not a surprising outcome. The SE is using a much smaller and lower resolution LCD display than the other iPhones, which significantly reduces the total platform power. The boost in battery capacity from the iPhone 5s helps as well. Apple advertises that the SE can last two hours longer on WiFi than the 6s, and in our test it almost meets that target. 

Due to a recent move, I'm still trying to find a place with sufficient signal strength that I can use for LTE battery life testing. Until such a time, I'm unable to post LTE battery life results for the SE. In general you can expect LTE battery life to be a couple hours shorter than on WiFi, and Apple advertises that the SE can last three hours longer on LTE than the 6s, so if they get anywhere close to that then LTE battery life should be quite good.

GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 / Metal Battery Life

GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 / Metal Final Frame Rate

The 4-inch iPhones have never lasted long in GFXBench's battery test. With the new Manhattan test the GPU is doing a lot more work than it was with T-Rex HD, and there aren't any periods of idle. The iPhone SE achieves the lowest battery lifetime of just 1.46 hours. However, the on screen frame rate during the test is hitting Vsync, which is actually concerning because we moved to Manhattan to avoid the problem of devices hitting that cap and then idling in the middle of the test. As I've said in the past, you need to consider both performance and battery life in this test. The iPhone SE is obviously an improvement over the 5s even though it dies half an hour earlier, because by the end of the test the iPhone SE is giving you 6x the performance of the 5s due to the A7 SoC's greater degree of thermal throttling.

Charge Time

Like the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, the iPhone SE ships with Apple's 5W charging block. While this can be quite problematic on a large phone like the iPhone 6s Plus, on a small phone it won't pose as much of an issue as the phone's battery capacity is much lower. Ideally we'd like to see a time to charge that is under three hours, and coming in under two hours is even better.

Charge Time

The iPhone SE charges quite quickly. We've seen improvements to charge time on the iPhone since the era of the iPhone 5s, and with the SE having a smaller battery than the iPhone 6s it makes sense that the charge time would be shorter. I do wonder how long it would take to get to full charge if Apple bundled a 10-15W charger with the phone, although with the current time being under two hours you also need to consider if the potential reduction in battery longevity from quicker charging is worth it.

System Performance Display Analysis


View All Comments

  • michael2k - Monday, May 16, 2016 - link

    You're visiting a tech enthusiast site that actually celebrates increases in CPU, GPU, NAND, and RAM performance. Apple has consistently been improving them all year to year, which makes each generation significantly faster than the previous. Not nonsense at all.
  • FunBunny2 - Monday, May 16, 2016 - link

    when I was your age, young pup, the American car companies made trivial changes each year (even shut down Detroit for the summer to re-tool), while the European ones kept with the same car until there were substantial improvements. American car companies finally figured it out.

    smartphones are still in in the 1950s, from that point of view: bigger tail fins each year. (the 59 Caddy were 4 feet long and 3 feet high):
  • blaasds - Monday, May 16, 2016 - link

    As much as i personally agree with this statement, the market has shown that a lot people value new and fresh designs even more than technological progress. It is the first thing people recognize. Especially in countries, where phones are used as a fashion or class statement. Reply
  • Oyeve - Monday, May 16, 2016 - link

    I too wonder why this was not pitted against more recent android phones. I would love to see comparisons with the S7. Reply
  • Brandon Chester - Monday, May 16, 2016 - link

    I mentioned in a response to a similar comment above that I can't use data from those reviews because they don't exist yet. You'll have to ask Josh and Matt about the status of the S7, HTC 10, and LG G5 reviews. Reply
  • hans_ober - Monday, May 16, 2016 - link

    I don't mind waiting for your reviews because they're the best and most indepth, but sometimes things get pushed too far back. Reply
  • Oyeve - Monday, May 16, 2016 - link

    I saw that. But, the S7 was partially reviewed a while ago, surely there is enough data to compare. Reply
  • Alexey291 - Monday, May 16, 2016 - link

    Ah but that would require making a fair and unbiased comparison not a sales pitch. And by the way, all the reviews here are sales pitches Reply
  • extide - Tuesday, May 17, 2016 - link

    Why do you even bother coming here then? And you are pretty invested too, I mean you already have 5 comments on THIS article. Reply
  • IntelligentAj - Monday, May 16, 2016 - link

    This was my question but I'm guessing you guys are strapped for time to get all the reviews done Reply

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