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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  • name99 - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    "Now, it's come time for me to move on. To what? The iPhone is out, since I'm not an asshole."

    Absolutely. This line totally proves it.
    Reply
  • JasonInofuentes - Friday, June 24, 2011 - link

    I don't think I've ever read such a pessimistic comment! I'm puzzled since you sound like an enthusiast, but I think I know where the problem lies.

    My wife loves going shopping but hates shopping. She likes new things and enjoys the excitement that comes from knowing that you're going to go get it. But she hates that you have to distill from the myriad of options the one item that will make her happiest. The end result is that she inevitably buys several options and then returns them after closer inspection.

    You shouldn't sound pessimistic you should be thrilled. When you invested in your Pearl the number of smartphone models per carrier numbered in the single digits. Now you have some 30 or so devices to choose from and 5 platforms, and all on one carrier (VZW)! So here's my advice to you. Go buy one. Is it going to be the right one? I don't know. But if you feel like the options are going to be better in a few months then wait. And then buy one.
    Say you get the GS2 variant. And it sucks. Carriers want you to be happy and not leave. So with their 30 day guarantee in mind they will likely let you trade for a different phone so long as you didn't break the first one. Try, rinse, repeat.

    I'm not saying this to be discouraging. I love that you're so passionate about this that you can end up having a rant about it. But trust me, this is an awesome and enviable position to be in. You ahve ltos of options. And lots of them are great options. Can you go wrong? Yep. But don't let your preconceptions about the users of a particular platform (::ahem:: iOS) cloud your choice. And don't let FUD rule your choice either, Brian's graphs clearly show that on LTE and WiFi the Thunderbolt and Charge have comparable battery life and that the Thunderbolt trumps the Charge by some margin in talk time.

    Lastly, if the Pearl was great for you for three years, why are you going to upgrade? I'm serious. What is the missing feature that you think you need this phone to fill? Seriously, write it down, and don't make it too generic. Is it video? Flash? A particular type of app (career or hobby related)? Music? Better browsing experience? Write that feature down and then look at your choices with that in mind. It could turn out that a suitable phone is already in the bargain bin.

    Either way, enjoy the hunt and let us know what you turn up.

    Jason
    Reply
  • gungan310 - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    Its actually 12 mm thick, and so just about 1 mm thinner than the thunderbolt and revolution, not 6mm as you've stated. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    Should be fixed now, thanks!

    -Brian
    Reply
  • FATCamaro - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    So ridiculous. Should be an iphone5 killer tho right. LULZ! Reply
  • gshayban - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    Can't really dock the phone for not having SVDO.
    LTE gives you simultaneous data and a phone call.
    Reply
  • scook9 - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    Except that there is 3G in a lot more places then there is 4g right now making that a gimmick at best

    That is one of the key reasons I got a ThunderBolt and not the other 2
    Reply
  • vision33r - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    All GSM devices on Tmobile/AT&T gives you data/voice at the same time. It's only stupid CDMA devices that can't support it. Reply
  • robco - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    Stupid CDMA devices that, depending on where you live, will actually let you make phone calls. AT&T has a fast network - when you can get it. For those of us who live in areas with poor AT&T and TMo reception, there aren't any other options at the moment. Reply
  • Omega215D - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    CDMA is still inherently better than GSM as it depends on code division rather than time division of GSM. This means more streams per spectrum which means less towers need to be built as each tower can accommodate more users. This is why 450MHz CDMA is popular in small less developed countries.

    GSM is just Europe having its way as many asian countries have embraced CDMA for the longest.

    Stop being an asshole and do some research instead of following the shitfaced sheep. You wanna troll go troll somewhere else fag. I saw your previous comment about people who use android flip phones every 6 months.
    Reply

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