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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  • JimmiG - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    Amazing how expensive plans are over there compared to where I live.

    I have unlimited data at 6Mb/s and make calls for the equivalent of 5 cents a minute. That costs $26 a month (plus the cost for any calls or texts). There are cheaper alternatives if you only need 1GB or 5GB of data month. Sure, there's no subsidized phone included, but I just bought an unlocked HTC Desire (~Nexus One), it costs about the same as a high-end netbook.

    Over 24 months I pay maybe half of the quoted prices, one-time cost of phone included.
    Reply
  • chriscusano - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    Where is there? Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    Considering he's getting 6Mb/s, I'd have to assume somewhere in Europe. :-) Reply
  • JimmiG - Thursday, July 1, 2010 - link

    I'm in Sweden which is why I was even more surprised. Everything tends to be more expensive here, not cheaper.

    Another operator offers 1GB/month at 6Mb/s for $9 a month and 5GB/month at 10Mb/s for $16 a month. But I choose unlimited data over the higher speed since stuff like HD video is kind of pointless on a 3.7" screen.

    Of course you don't always get those speeds. Some 3G areas, especially in rural areas, don't support HSDPA so you only get 384Kb/s. But most built-up areas have at least 2Mb speeds and the entire city where I live offers the full bandwidth.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - link

    So what would it cost for about 1500 minutes, 6000 SMS, and 200 MMS? Reply
  • Gamingphreek - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    Anand,

    I have found SIGNIFICANT performance and battery improvements in using LauncherPro by Federico Carnales on my HTC Hero <www.launcherpro.com>. I would be interested to hear if you notice the same thing.

    Additionally, while it is only for root users, Autokiller is a terrific application for modifying the Android's preset memory limits.

    Finally, regarding internet use, Dolphin Browser HD 2 is head and shoulders above the stock browser in every aspect. You may consider trying and seeing if that makes a difference in the browsing tests.

    Great review regardless, but as a long time Android user, I have found these to make a significant positive impact on my overall experience with the device.

    I know adding different applications to review can get out of hand very quickly, but is there any chance we might hear about your experience with some of these aforementioned applications?

    Thanks,
    -Kevin
    Reply
  • chriscusano - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    Hey great thoughts. Well I don't have an android myself, but maybe you guys might want to consider writing up an article (after official 2.2 release I'm thinking) with a phone "fully optimized" using some of the best (and cheapeast/free) apps out there. I think a phone with these apps will be sigificantly better than a stock phone. It's *almost* like comparing an oem computer out of the box to a customized computer (with a few performance tweaks). All serious computer users as well have their own customized setups that make their experience much, much better than a standard one (choice of web browser w/ addons/extensions, cutomized start bar, useful desktop gadgets, etc). Truly the experience can be totally different when things are customized. I'd image the same is the case with a phone like this.

    Also, man I've been looking for some VOIP 4G tests. Help me out guys! I may try to downsize to one internet carrier for home and phone but my major concern is I NEED VOIP for work. Can 4G cut it if the signal strength is strong (from a static location)? Does tethering via USB to the computer affect internet speeds? If so, how is VOIP from the computer when tethering via USB? Anyone? Anand ? :)

    -Chris
    Reply
  • Gamingphreek - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - link

    I have an HTC Hero, so I'll have to run all the tests over before I do it with the apps, but I would be more than happy to run a couple tests and send in a short little article for Anand's consideration. I can post it in the forums too just for general knowledge.

    My undergraduate research prior to my graduation this past May was on the Android OS (More specifically how secure it was from an IT Security perspective).
    Reply
  • Impulses - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - link

    There's a ton of things you can do to optimize battery life, from alternate launchers, to custom ROMs, to simply configuring the stock sync settings for the various accounts. Something Anand made no mention of, and it's one of the more obvious tweaks, the stock settings are actually pretty poor if you wanna preserve battery life but they're easy to change from 2-4 hours to 8 hours or daily or w/e.

    The latter alone made a difference for me, but some of the custom ROMs and such make a very very noticeable difference as well. It's really quite amazing what some of the user devs come up with, it puts Google/HTC's stock builds to shame. I've no idea if the iPhone jailbreak community delves into that kind of low-level optimization but the stuff they're doing on Android's end is awesome.
    Reply
  • misaki - Monday, June 28, 2010 - link

    Froyo is now getting rolled out officially, so I hope you guys will include it in your browsing comparisons since the speed gains are so drastic ;) Reply

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