Still an Impact while Mostly Idle? The Email Test

Web browsing is an obvious stress test for battery life, but what about checking your email throughout the day?  In our iPhone review we found that the Blackberry Curve can last over a full 24 hours, all while constantly checking email.  Neither the Samsung Blackjack or the iPhone came anywhere close, but it's still a valid test for battery life using these various connections.

For this review we went with a much lighter email load test than what was used in our iPhone review.  Both phones were setup to automatically check a gmail account every 15 minutes, downloading 10 - 15 emails each time.  The phones were completely idle during the 15 minutes in between checks, although the screens remained turned on throughout the entire test. 

On 3G the Blackjack lasted slightly longer than on EDGE, but we're only talking about a 3.5% difference which is within the margin of error for this test, meaning that battery life on 3G vs. EDGE is basically identical. 

This test is particularly important as it shows that if your usage is dominated by extensive periods of idle time, then there's no negative impact to 3G vs. EDGE.  Another way of looking at it is that if all you're doing is short bursts of data traffic, the negative impact of 3G is minimized. 

The same can't be said about Wi-Fi vs. EDGE on the iPhone where there's about a 25% increase in battery life when we ran the test over Wi-Fi instead of EDGE; the difference is identical to what we saw in the web browsing test.  It appears that maintaining the Wi-Fi connection and using it to periodically check for email is significantly more power efficient than doing so over EDGE, despite the reduction in data traffic compared to our web browsing test. 

It seems to be that how much data you send isn't the only limiting factor, but rather just polling for new data is much more power efficient over Wi-Fi.

Faster Browsing, but a Quarter Less Battery Life A CPU Bound Case: Streaming YouTube Videos


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  • jellinek - Friday, July 13, 2007 - link

    Does the h.264 implementation on the iphone vs. the likely flash-based version on the blackjack impact this at all?
    Quicktime playback over the web (trailers set to loop?) might be a better way to determine EDGE/3G/WiFi battery life.
  • MrJim - Friday, July 13, 2007 - link

    Anyone know if they will add MMS-messengering in iphone? Reply
  • GlassHouse69 - Friday, July 13, 2007 - link

    fuck iphone.

    that's all I have to say.

    stop reviewing it. it is lemming equipment that is overpriced and hobbled with a beautiful screen. feels like 5-6 years ago Mac intellect at use. get great graphical images, get stuck in the mud hardware, hobble it all somehow, charge 1000 dollars more than you need and bam, lemmings jump. wee!
  • DavenJ - Friday, July 13, 2007 - link

    I guess this guy isn't going to buy an iPhone. Reply
  • Shark Tek - Friday, July 13, 2007 - link

    Yeah I bet that he can't buy it. Reply
  • puffpio - Friday, July 13, 2007 - link

    Is there a way to get this higher quality youtube feed for computers?? I'm tired of their pixelated crap. Reply
  • dacramer - Friday, July 13, 2007 - link

    Who cares how LONG the battery lasts when loading web pages. The real test is how many web pages the battery can load per charge. Even if the battery lasts half as long over 3g, it surely must load more web pages. Is it more than double? 3g may not be so bad with regards to battery life with this taken into consideration. Reply
  • Icehawk - Friday, July 13, 2007 - link

    I think the exact same thing - the more important metric is how many pages you can load not how long the battery lasts with constant clicking. Reply
  • Araemo - Friday, July 13, 2007 - link

    "The biggest impact of all is, surprisingly enough, talk time; with 3G enabled, the Blackjack's talk time is cut in half, with absolutely no benefit realized from the higher bandwidth standard."

    Do you want to know why 3G is the default for talk time as well as data transfers? 3G has more bandwidth per cell tower, and talk over 3G uses the same total bandwidth as talk over GSM.. but since 3G increases the available bandwidth, you use less of the cell company's resources if you're talking using 3G instead of GSM. So battery life be damned, AT&T wants to make more money. ;)
  • cosmotic - Friday, July 13, 2007 - link

    Your graph on the talk time page shows the iphone using wifi. Shouldn't that be edge? Reply

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