Battery Life

There’s no other way to put it: the EVO 4G has terrible battery life. It’s worse than the iPhone 3GS, worse than the Incredible, worse than the Nexus One and far worse than the iPhone 4. If you travel at all, this is not the Droid you’ve been looking for. All of our battery life tests were run from a clean boot with no extra apps downloaded/installed in the background. We didn't forcefully remove anything that shipped on the device however. This is representative of the out of box experience you'd get from a brand new EVO 4G. WiFi and 4G were disabled unless they were in use.

Battery Life
  HTC EVO 4G Apple iPhone 3GS HTC Droid Incredible Google Nexus One
Wireless Web Browsing (3G) 3.58 hours 4.82 hours 2.83 hours 3.77 hours
Wireless Web Browsing (4G) 3.58 hours N/A N/A N/A
Wireless Web Browsing (WiFi) 7.77 hours 8.83 hours 5.23 hours 5.62 hours
3G Talk Time 3.95 hours 4.82 hours 5.82 hours 4.67 hours
H.264 Video Playback 3.63 hours      

Continuous talk time is just under 4 hours. Wireless web browsing? 3.5 hours. The latter is actually surprising given that I measured 3.5 hours on both 3G and 4G networks. According to Sprint when the phone is stationary, power draw on both 3G and 4G should be relatively similar. When searching for a 4G signal however the battery life should be considerably worse, which is why many EVO owners resort to turning off 4G when they don't need it.

Video playback is also pretty bad. While the display is great for watching movies, even in airplane mode with the display cranked all the way up the EVO 4G only lasted 3 hours and 38 minutes in our H.264 playback test. That's not much better than most notebooks.

WiFi web browsing is actually realy good, at nearly 8 hours if you can stay off the cell radio you'll actually do just fine with the EVO 4G.

Performance Final Words
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  • Strk - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    Last I knew, it was free roaming regardless. The minutes is just anytime, which for Sprint is 7am to 7pm (free nights and weekends). But like you said, you get unlimited mobile to mobile regardless of the other person's carrier.

    I wonder how this thing will stack up against the Samsung Galaxy S phones? I believe all the major carriers are getting one.
    Reply
  • ed1112ward - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    Yup, as a owner of the phone i can confirm then $10 evo tax, err I mean "Premium Data" charge. Reply
  • ChillyPenguin - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    The 69.99 plan only include 450 minutes to land lines, while it does include unlimited minutes to any cellphone on any network. This review is correct in listing the 900 minute plan as 99.99 including the $10/mo 4G fee. That being said, my wife and I are on a sprint "Simply Everything" 1500 minute shared plan. By the time we get free calling to all cell phones and free nights and weekends, we used less than 300 minutes combined last month. Reply
  • Alexstarfire - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    It's hard to really compare AT&T prices to Sprint prices since you can't get the exact same plans most of the time. Sprint truly has an "unlimited everything" option while AT&T has a 2GB max limit now. The fact that AT&T ended up being cheaper once tethering is included means little if you go over every month. With 4G and a true unlimited plan it's a pretty safe bet to say that Sprint has a much better plan in place. You can actually use it like it's supposed to be used.

    I'm very disappointed to hear about the screen in the EVO. A TFT, really? Why sully a great device with a craptastic screen? Not that the screen can't look good, but it'll never look as good as an AMOLED.

    And I agree with another person on here that this topic needs to be revisited with Froyo on the device. Would also be worth noting if there is a difference between stock and a "formatted" phone so-to-speak. It would suck to see a stock phone behaving like most stock laptops, but it's still something I'd like to know.
    Reply
  • solipsism - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    In some areas, sure. Like display size, aspect ratio and the built in kickstand. But I would argue the EVO 4G loses that title by having a worse panel type and dot pitch over the new iPhone 4; and, most importantly, such a short playback time whist in Airplane Mode.

    PS: To extend your entertainment needs one can continuously charge their smartphone from their laptop if on a long flight without access to power. You should be able to get at least 4 charges out of the average notebook.
    Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    I'm waiting to see how the Droid X pans out. Unfortunately, Verizon is quite a bit more expensive than Sprint, and they don't have any "4G" options. Never been a fan of HTC either. Reply
  • Zebo - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - link

    Great review Anand. Good things come to those who wait, right.:P

    Evo is a non starter for me since I spend at hours on the phone each day and in the field and battery life kills it in addition to poor screen outside.

    Looking forward to iPhone review on battery life and outdoor capability.:)
    Reply
  • fifoloveritas - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    The 30 charge is for wireless hotspot, which is not available on iPhone. Not sure if it's available on any other phone. There's no charge for regular tethering, phone has Share Connection option when it is plugged into USB. Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    Anand,

    I've noticed that the majority of articles on the site lately have been for phones, consoles, laptops and other pre-assembled consumer electronics. Is this the new focus of AT? Has there simply been a dry spell of PC components?

    Thanks,
    MP
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    I've got a stack of SSDs here that need work and we'll have new GPUs coming very soon. The smartphones are hot right now but we'll see things come and go in waves. If there's a demand for us to review it, we will :)

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply

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