Battery Life

With the iPad Air Apple moved to a 32.4Wh battery, a significant decrease from the 42.5Wh unit in the 3rd and 4th generation iPads. The smaller battery doesn’t come with a change to Apple’s claim of 10 hours of battery life, which implies a reduction in overall platform power. I confirmed a substantial reduction in platform power in my crude measurements earlier in the article. Although it’s possible for the iPad Air to draw substantially more power than the iPad 4, our earlier power data seems to imply that it’s unlikely given the same exact workload. Our battery life tests agree.

We'll start with our 2013 smartphone/tablet web browsing battery life test. As always all displays are calibrated to 200 nits. The workload itself is hidden from OEMs to avoid any intentional gaming, but I've described it at a high level here.

Web Browsing Battery Life (WiFi)

Our web browsing workload came in at exactly 10 hours of continuous usage - an improvement compared to the iPad 4. Battery life on LTE was good as well, consistently delivering just under 10 hours of usage. The fact that both LTE and WiFi tests deliver similar results tells me that we may be bottlenecked by some other component in the system (perhaps display?).

I've been running the same video playback test for a while now, although we're quickly approaching a point where I'll need to move to a higher bitrate 1080p test. Here I'm playing a 4Mbps H.264 High Profile 720p rip I made of the Harry Potter 8 Blu-ray. The full movie plays through and is looped until the battery dies. Once again, the displays are calibrated to 200 nits:

Video Playback Battery Life (720p, 4Mbps HP H.264)

Video playback battery life also improves slightly compared to the iPad 4. Apple’s battery life claims aren’t usually based around video playback, so exceeding their 10 hour suggestion here shouldn’t come as a shock. Apple’s video decode power has always been extremely low.

Our final cross-platform battery life test is based on Kishonti's Egypt HD test. Here we have a loop of the Egypt HD benchmark, capped to 30 fps, running on all of the devices with their screens calibrated to 200 nits.

3D Battery Life - GLBenchmark 2.5.1

Our 3D battery life rundown test shows a substantial improvement in battery life over the iPad 4. IMG’s PowerVR G6430, running a moderate workload, can do so more efficiently than any of the previous generation GPUs in Apple’s SoCs. Much like the A7’s CPU cores however, there’s a wider dynamic range of power consumption with the G6430. Running at max performance I would expect to see greater GPU power consumption. The question then becomes what’s more likely? Since the majority of iOS games don’t target the A7 (and instead shoot for lower end hardware), I would expect you to see better battery life even while gaming on the iPad Air vs the iPad 3/4.

Charge Time

The iPad Air comes with the same 12W USB charger and Lightning cable that we first saw with the iPad 4. Having to only charge a 32.5W battery means that charge times are lower compared to the iPad 3 and 4:

Charge Time in Hours

A full charge takes a little over 4 hours to complete. The adapter delivers as much as 12W to the iPad, drawing a maximum of 13.5W at the wall. I still think the sweet spot is somewhere closer to 2.5 hours but that’s another balancing game that must be played between charge time and maintaining battery health. It’s still so much better than the ~6 hours of charge time for the iPad 3 and 5.69 hours for the iPad 4.

WiFi & LTE Connectivity Usability, iOS 7 and the Impact of 64-bit Applications
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  • eanazag - Monday, November 4, 2013 - link

    The innovation that the Thunderbolt people are really waiting for is faster eMMC flash on the iPad. USB 3 or Thunderbolt is not going to help the fact that the flash storage is too slow to even make USB 2 sweat. I completely agree that sync and restore via iTunes is painfully slow. I would also argue that WiFi sync on 2 stream N is useless if the iPad still sports slow storage.

    If I had a request for USB 3, it would solely based on higher power specs for charging or docking. I
    Reply
  • mnbob1 - Friday, November 8, 2013 - link

    Apple has put a lot of emphasis on iCloud and backing up to iCloud. I have an iPad and an IPhone and haven't connected either to my computer for over a year. I backup to iCloud and use iTunes Match to access my music library which also gives me ad free iTunes Radio now. I store photos to iCloud because I take advantage of Photo Stream. My documents are backed up to Drop Box. Earlier this year I upgraded from an iPhone 4S to and iPhone 5. With iCloud all of my device settings were restored within a few minutes and my apps were downloaded in the background so I could still use my phone while that was happening. With iTunes Match I was able to see my entire music library of over 7,000 songs and choose what I wanted to download to my phone when I wanted to. I was able to restore my photos quickly and access my documents from Dropbox quickly. The whole process took me less than an hour initially since I don't bog my phone down with a lot of apps that I don't use and I only download the music as I use it. I trying to figure out why you guys think you need to connect up with thunderbolt or USB 3.0 when the iPad Air also has wifi with MIMO capabilities. Stop tethering your portable devices to the desktop because Apple isn't going to do thunderbolt because it would exclude Windows PC's or upgrade to USB 3.0 because the need for data going across that wire becomes less important and it becomes more of a charging port. Reply
  • IUU - Sunday, November 17, 2013 - link

    I am glad you 're feeling so comfortable having your dafa stored on other people's hds.
    I suppose you feel comfortable, storing your food in other people's refrigerators,
    writing your diaries and personal notes on other people's diaries and notebooks.(Marx and Lenin would absolutely fall in love with you).
    And all this, despite the fact that your "entire music library" is laughably small to what an average local storage could offer. Oh I get it, you do this as a future proof policy, because you somehow know
    e storage won't improve in the future, despite the fact that the known laws of nature allow for much much more than zettabytes to be stored locally.
    Like the ignorant chinese peasant, thanking his lords for offering him 200 dollars instead of 100, you thank your cloud bosses for offering you 50 instead of 25gb. Sorry, but trying to convert the data network to a feudal type traditional energy grid won't work, because it's against the ways of nature.
    This energy grid is going to die soon as well, much to the dislike of the last remaining tyrants.
    Reply
  • pojkeboy - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Ha. I love this comment. Reply
  • pdjblum - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Despite the snap 600, the nexus 7.2 is still a wonderful device for a couple of hundred less than a mini with a reasonable amount of storage, not the pittance they offer in the base model. Not sure how he can recommend a mini at all when it is hundreds more than the nexus 7.2? The Verge will do that because they shit crApples, but a so called objective, highly intelligent reviewer should have a problem with that. Reply
  • akdj - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    The Nexus 7.2 is a POS. I returned mine within 3 weeks. 475,000 optimized tablet apps in the App Store, maybe 15 in the Play store. What a joke attempting to surf on the Nex7 in portrait. Decent performance, yeah....but without apps that aren't 'blown up' phone apps, it's a joke. With the mini, you're not just buying a quality built tablet (that is obviously more powerful than the Nex7), but into an extremely active and blossoming eco-system...now $50+ in 'free' productivity and creative apps optimized for the system...and phenomenal post purchase support. Google is selling their tabs right @ the cost of the BOM. Why? They're in it for YOUR personal info...they're miners, data miners. Your information is what they make their money on, not the hardware.
    While the Nex 7.2 maybe a decent choice for some looking to save a bit of cash, if you've got the money, the iPad is THEE only way to buy into the current tablet market. Period.
    Reply
  • pdjblum - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    crApple makes their money on ignorant, entitled, insecure people who want to pay extra to feel good about themselves. Reply
  • Scannall - Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - link

    Bitter much?

    Fact is, I don't mind paying more for a quality product with great service and support. With the added bonus of having apps I actually use, that have NO Android equivalents. Not to mention 16:9 form factor sucks for my tablet usage.

    I don't buy the cheapest car on the market either.
    Reply
  • jopamo - Sunday, November 3, 2013 - link

    "crApple doesn't make any money from me, yet I am equally ignorant, entitled, and insecure as the people I who claim want to pay extra to feel good about themselves."

    There. Fixed that for you. :)
    Reply
  • akdj - Monday, November 4, 2013 - link

    It's YOUR ignorance that shows---using 'crApple' and for YOU to decide folks' insecurities? I'm thinkin' you might be a bit secure---either that or you Mom said "HELL No!"....."If you want one, get a job, save some money---and buy it yourself!"
    Am I close? Certainly nailed YOUR insecurities...lol, always wonder about the ambiguity of the 'net and what these nay-sayers would actually have the Balls to say to an Apple owner in real life, face to face.
    pdjblum----Silly, Silly Boy
    Reply

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