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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  • tuteja1986 - Friday, July 13, 2007 - link

    well if someone would just copy the user interface they could sell craploads of phones. Take the heat for a clone but who cares as you will benefit by alot of sales. Reply
  • halfeatenfish - Friday, July 13, 2007 - link

    Just like with every other Apple product, the iPhone is for people that value the experience over the specifications. My phone can do all the iPhone can (feature-wise) and more... but I hate using it. As a matter a fact, a great deal of my features go unused b/c its too much an ass-pain to get to them. Same story with my XP machine over my Powerbook... My Win box is faster, etc... but I hate dealing with it.

    It reminds me of the difference between a Subaru and an Audi. Similar performance, but huge price difference. In one you to holler on the freeway, in the other, you speak. One has you tired after long trips, the other has you wanted to take longer trips. Etc, etc, etc

    The point is... for a whole lot of people, spec's alone are just not enough.
  • AlexWade - Friday, July 13, 2007 - link

    America is 3-4 years behind in all cell technology because our government believes competition on standards is a good thing. Obviously, it is not. Every network has dead spots, a problem we wouldn't have if there was only 1 cell technology like Europe. Reply
  • bigboxes - Sunday, July 15, 2007 - link

    You're right. We should all be on CDMA in North America. CDMA is faster and better than GSM. That would solve all our problems. Thanks for pointing that out! Reply
  • Zaitsev - Friday, July 13, 2007 - link

    You mean its feature set is 3-4 years behind, but has a completely novel user interface. It's certainly not "best bang for your buck," but that's not Apple's goal in the first place. Reply
  • tuteja1986 - Friday, July 13, 2007 - link

    Battery life was the problem .. well no iphone sales in Australia as we are 3G. Reply

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