Battery Life

When there are really only three 4G LTE handsets, each with essentially the same level of application performance, in my mind the question of which handset is best comes down to extras and battery life. We’ve gone over all the rest, so what about that all-important battery life?

I’ve read a number of anecdotal reports which assert that the Charge has better battery life than the Thunderbolt. We ran the Charge through all of our battery testing suite and found that it’s about the same. The Charge has a 5.92 Whr (1600 mAh 3.7 V) battery inside. For comparison, keep in mind that the HTC Thunderbolt comes with a 5.18 Whr battery, and the LG Revolution with a 5.6 Whr battery, all of our numbers below were obtained using those stock batteries. 

As an ironic aside, the Charge takes a long time to charge, I timed close to 3 hours from completely empty to fully charged. 

First off is cellular web browsing battery life. In this test, we load a few dozen pages endlessly with the screen set to 200 nits until the phone dies. Everything is turned off except cellular data. I ran the Charge through this particular test three times and averaged. 

Smartphone Web Browsing Battery Life

When it comes to 4G LTE battery life, things are pretty close, with the Charge narrowly edging out the Thunderbolt, and the LG Revolution leading by a half hour. Still, the difference here is pretty small between the three, and that translates to not a very perceptible difference when spread across an entire day. On EVDO the Charge does widen its lead, but I suspect 4G LTE is what most are concerned with.

We repeat the same test connected to WiFi as well, and here the Charge comes in last among the three 4G LTE handsets, but things are very close. 

WiFi Web Browsing Battery Life

Next up is cellular talk time, which consists of a call placed between two phones that we let run until the phone under test dies and disconnects. The display is off during this test, and sound is played at both sides to mimic a conversation.

3G Talk Time Battery Life

Here the Charge lags the LG Revolution and Thunderbolt by over two hours - what we’re seeing is effectively the power efficiency of Qualcomm’s MSM8655 when transacting a 1x voice call compared to the VIA 7.1 baseband in the Charge. I ran this test again after the EE4 update, and things moved up slightly, but not much at all. 

WiFi Hotspot Battery Life Time

Finally is the WiFi hotspot test, which is a decent gauge of how the phone behaves with only cellular traffic in the picture. We connect a wireless client to the phone’s WiFi hotspot, and load a total of four page load tests, and a 128 kbps MP3 audio stream until the phone dies. Here the Charge trails the Thunderbolt and LG Revolution in LTE mode, and the Thunderbolt in EVDO mode. Vivek didn’t run the Revolution WiFi hotspot test, but again I suspect we’d see it too beat the Charge. 

Application Performance: 1 GHz Hummingbird Conclusion and Final Thoughts


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  • GrizzledYoungMan - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link


    I could use some wisdom from the thoughtful nerds at Anandtech here. I'm a Verizon subscriber (who won't be switching networks, on account of the fact that I like getting reception), and I've been holding onto my Blackberry Pearl for last three odd years.

    Seriously. Don't laugh. The reason being that I haven't been so impressed with any Android phone that has come out in recent memory. I really like having a hardware keyboard, and I've found that for the stuff I need to do most - messaging, calling, mapping - the Pearl was as good as the first and second generation Android phones, except not fat.

    Now, it's come time for me to move on. To what? The iPhone is out, since I'm not an asshole. And I would really prefer to get something with an LTE radio. So I'm left with the prospect of the Thunderbolt, which sucks juice like a fat baby, or the Droid Charge, which is just straight up ugly. And, in my experience, has a maddening color cast to the screen.

    In my mind, it's worth it to wait a few more months, after years of avoiding upgrades, for the Droid 3, Bionic, GS2, etc. Any thoughts on the following?

    I like the look of the Droid 3, and my hunch is that battery life would be at least reasonable without an LTE radio on-board. But would I miss that connectivity? Overall, I prefer faster connectivity to a dual core proc. The hardware keyboard on the Droid 3 would seem to be a big draw, but the keyboard on the Droid 2 is so awful that I feel like I'm taking crazy pills every time people rave about it.

    The Droid Bionic sounds like an awesome beast - and like something that could also replace my kindle, my ipod and my netbook to a limited degree - but I have an ugly hunch it's months and months away. And that when it does arrive, it's gonna be gigantic and require a portable nuclear reactor to run for more than a few hours.

    I hear that the Samsung GS2 is coming to Verizon, but is that likely to happen in my natural lifetime? And if it does, what are the odds that it also has an LTE radio without the accompanying diabetic-5-year-old appetite?

    Alright, this has degenerated into a semi-rant, but thoughts from others in the same situation are appreciated! Thanks!
  • Pessimism - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    You're right that the QWERTY market for Android is sadly lacking. Motorola seems to be the only vendor even taking a decent crack at it. Downside is they refuse to open their handsets to the community (bootloader/system is locked down and encrypted up the wazoo) and they have already orphaned many of their earlier, otherwise capable droid phones on obsolete releases. Reply
  • GrizzledYoungMan - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    Yeah, the locked bootloader thing also bugs me. It really wouldn't if handsets shipped with stock Android, and some measure of confidence that the OS would be updated in a timely fashion. But given that handsets ship with absurd bloatware and crappy UI overlays - I guess that's what we need these dual core procs for, to get all that crap working? - and heinously slow update cycles, I want control of my own ROM.

    Sigh. I gotta say, this is all really frustrating. Relative to the choices I had back when RIM was king, the smartphone market seems to have gotten crappier. Reviewers get very excited about big screens and kickstands and video streaming (I mean, jebus, who gives a crap about video streaming? I need to live, people), without noticing that phones have gotten obese and slow and half-assed.
  • PeteH - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    "The iPhone is out, since I'm not an asshole."

    C'mon dude, don't be that guy. Just say you don't want an iPhone.
  • GrizzledYoungMan - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    Yeah, you're right. Maybe I am an asshole.

    I thought long and hard about the iphone. Unlike other Apple products which fall mind-blowingly short of the hype - I'm looking at you, OS X, you fat, slow, stupid bastard - It's clearly the best hardware package out there as far as size/performance/battery life, and iOS has definite advantages over Android (although neither is a clear winner in my mind, given the applications I have for a smartphone).

    But, I mean, man. I just can't do it. I can't be part of the whole Apple "thing" - the implied smugness, ignorance, the submission to an authority that clearly has contempt for me.

    Just can't do it.
  • Omid.M - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    Yeah, seriously! I will admit when a product is well executed. I'm not the " I hate brand X" guy. I like BMW, I like the Hyundai Tiburon V6. The Nissan 370z...etc. If it's well-done, it's well-done.

    Apple makes a great product. It's just a different philosophy in terms of design and UX. They use high quality parts and their testing is good and pretty thorough. If there isn't a good Android phone out by the time there's an iPhone with a 4" screen and LTE on Verizon, I may go with iPhone. But, I do love the kind of apps that are available for Android, in terms of monitoring system resources, etc. Some cool stuff is available that you can't get on iOS unless you jailbreak.
  • robco - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    "The iPhone is out, since I'm not an asshole."

    Actually with that comment, you proved that you in fact are...
  • piroroadkill - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    You probably own an iPhone though, right? Reply
  • robco - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    I do, and I like it. But there are things about it I don't like. There are Android handsets that look good. I'm even open to WP7. I use a Mac, but it's a laptop. Say what you want, but Apple makes great notebooks. If I were in the market for a desktop, it would likely be a Windows box.

    I'm an asshole, but not because I own an iPhone. I was an asshole long before I got one. Assholes use all different kinds of technologies, drive different types of cars (not everyone who drives a BMW is a douchebag for example), live in all types of places. Being an asshole and owning an iPhone are mutually exclusive.
  • name99 - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    "Being an asshole and owning an iPhone are mutually exclusive."

    You mean they are ORTHOGONAL.

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