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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  • tommo123 - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - link

    any chance of revies of some apps?

    i.e for android keyboards, swype is awesome - best keyboard i've used
    Reply
  • stryder76 - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - link

    Sprint/HTC has released an OTA update yesterday. Supposedly, the EVO is now faster or at least feels snappier.

    Will you redo the benchmark tests?
    Reply
  • cknobman - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - link

    LOL only thing the OTA update yesterday did was brick alot of phones (including mine)!!!!!

    What kind of idiotic developer dosnt do a software check before installing new software? And what half assed QA team dosnt check for that scenario and lets the crap code roll out to production?

    For those that arent aware the problem was the OTA update installs fine the first time then shortly later the user is notified a upgrade is available (apparently same one you just applied) and when the user tries to apply update instant bricked phone!!!!!!!

    Its kind of my fault but after installing the first time I went home and was playing with my kids and surfing the web when my phone poped up the upgrade available again. I was busy and just hit ok thinking it was another upgrade in a series of progressive ones. Boy was I wrong. As a applications developer myself Im dumbfounded how some sh!tty code like this could roll out which is now going to cost sprint quite a bit of money.

    Sprint has officially pulled the upgrade until they can fix this issue.
    Reply
  • stryder76 - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - link

    You mentioned that there is a website that lists the virtual keyboards but all it states is "at .com". What website were you going to link to? Reply
  • BlueAqua - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - link

    Nice review Anand. Don't forget that Sprint makes you pay and extra $10 a month just to have an EVO. Undscountable too. Their new plans and this fee would have cost me over $2000 over my current similar plan for 2 phones, which really isn't worth it at all. Reply
  • rothnic - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - link

    Have you been trying to get your hands on a Droid X at all? I have really been hoping it would address most of the issues that the Evo has, while having the 4.3" screen. I have been comparing T-Mobile vs. Sprint vs. ATT vs. Verizon and think the Droid X might be the winner.

    Some reviews of the Droid X point to slightly better video and picture quality. (not as good as some iphone 4 samples I have seen, but a compromise)
    No $10 charge for 4g that isn't even in my area.
    No capped internet, which has turned me away from upgrading my 3 year old iPhone for the iPhone 4.
    Better processor, so hopefully smoother experience(especially after 2.2).

    Would like to see your review of it.
    Reply
  • bigdeal101 - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - link

    Annand,

    Is it possible to do a Clear 4G review or Sprint non phone review. I have been considering getting 4G but for Broadband only. I would be especially interested in home vs. mobile option with respect to signal strength and usability. Also, if there are any antennas out there for 4G do they help much. Not everone is an internet phone warrior but they do use the internet with laptops in mobile situations.

    Thanks from a 13 year fan. (I read your site when you were in High School as well as Sharky and the original Toms Hardware. Still also visit Kyle's Hard OCP. )
    Reply
  • ergo98 - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - link

    "Unfortunately there’s no way to close an app from the task switcher although there are many options in the Android market if you want something a bit more robust."

    This isn't some grievous oversight. Most task killers do far more harm than good.

    Apps in the background seldom consume anything more than RAM. The RAM they do consume is automatically freed the moment any other application requires it. The app is essentially "freeze-dried" to a minimalist bag of state, restored when you go back to it.

    I am a little disappointed seeing this continued ignorance about Android, most especially on AnandTech. Sure there are people who'll tell you how great life is with a task killer, just as there are also people who will swear by their Q-Bracelet's magical curative powers. Eschew task killers and embrace the platform as it was actually intended -- it isn't Windows.

    The only real caveat to this is services -- services do consume resources in the background, however by and large the only services in Android apps are actually critically necessary, such as background music playing or downloading. Services very seldom need to be managed in any form beyond the app GUI.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - link

    And there are plenty of users who believe the default settings allow suspended programs to hang around for too long, esp. on Sense devices.

    http://www.androidcentral.com/fine-tuning-minfree-...
    Reply
  • Impulses - Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - link

    Meh, you'll find a never-ending discussion on the subject if you look around... But there's also plenty of OTHER things you can do to conserve battery life. The stock sync settings for FB/News/whatever accounts are a little too aggressive if you ask me, that's the obvious place to start. Alternate launchers are said to help as well, I haven't really compared battery life w/ADW vs Sense...

    Personally Sense's launcher's UI seems silly to me, why do I need a permanent button on my home screen to just add more app shortcuts and widgets? And why is the phone button so large? Wasted space... That being said, a lot of the other Sense add-ons are very welcome (like the contact linking across accounts, which can be done manually, thankfully). Luckily you can dump the launcher and keep the rest.

    Aaand that's pretty much what Android's all about, choice. Some of the custom ROMs out there do wonders for battery life as well, alto that goes well beyond the scope of a product review (as anything that requires rooting/jailbreaking does). But switching launchers or simply tweaking stock settings should be in the discussion at some point imo. It's a degree of customization that you don't (easily) get w/other phones/OS.
    Reply

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