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


View All Comments

  • crydee - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    Samsung never updates.. I still have the Galaxy first Android on AT&T and still no working GPS. Reply
  • sprockkets - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    I saw the picture and thought this was a review of the new iphone! Oh my! Now I can see why apple is so angry!

  • spctm - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    Not sure why it is so but I am running Cyanogenmod 7.1 nightly on a nexus one and I get these scores.

    SunSpider: 3354.2
    BrowserMark: 54697
    Linpack: 36.7 (Free Version)

    Sunspider and Browsermark are way faster on cm-7.1, which is quite surprising as it is running Android 2.3.4 base. But Linpack is more along the lines with what Brian got. Not sure if the free version's ad streaming would have some impact on floating point operations of Linpack.

    Just thought I would post this observations and see if others have similar results.
  • silverblue - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    Looks to be a good phone, though I wonder if it'll be better than the Charge. Reply
  • Omid.M - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    "I have an odd Sensation that the next one will be exciting..."


    Can't wait for the Galaxy S 2 review. Hope it lives up to AT expectations.

  • name99 - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    My only complaint is that every once in a while, the LTE data session sometimes stalls briefly – sometimes for a a few seconds, other times for a few minutes. When that happens, you’ll see the uplink green arrow blink, but no orange downlink arrow. Rebooting the device fixes things.

    Jesus Christ.
    THIS is precisely why Apple has nothing to fear, as long as competitor vendors ship crap like this --- and reviewer web sites are so blinded by Apple hatred that they give them a pass. I mean, WTF --- a phone that you, randomly and frequently, have to reboot, and the reviewer thinks this is just par for the course?
    This is 2011, not 1982. Forcing a reboot to fix random problems should be a strange and unusual situation, not a daily occurrence!
  • ThomasA - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    Long time VZW customer, since GTE. This may change. The future should be interesting with the '4G' push, and now, the 'new' Verizon tiered data plans looming. Having a '4G' device will require either a big wallet or detailed restraint.

    I suggest using a cheap flip-phone for chit-chat and another device on hotspots (laptop, netbook, iPod touch) for web needs. Unless you enjoy transfusing the telecoms.
  • sitharien - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    You are both correct, I was way mistaken. I look forward to Anand's review. I am holding off on any upgrade of my EVO 4G until I get a better picture of the Android battery landscape. Reply
  • BGK - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - link

    So what's the verdict on Charge vs Thunderbolt. If battery life is about the same, that leaves the screen as the Charge's major advantage.

    Also, do you think some of discrepancies in battery life in the reviews had to do with the reviews of the thunderbolt being done on older versions that may have been less efficient?
  • tdenton1138 - Thursday, June 23, 2011 - link

    Visit XDA or Android Central forums. You can read up about both phone for people who use them every day... I love my Charge (every phone does seem to have its quirks) and don't imagine I'll bother upgrading for quite some time. Great screen, no lag (voodoo lagfix is needed here - why does Samsung use RFS filesystem when EXT4 is so much better?), acceptable battery, hackable. Until someone can demonstrate a real need for dual+ core on a phone (now tablets perhaps...?), I'm happily sitting out of the upgrade race for a while. Reply

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