Battery Life

Battery life is one of the most important aspects of a smartphone, as it effectively determines how long you'll be able to use all of its other features. In order to get a comprehensive understanding of battery life on the Nexus 6 we run a variety of tests that attempt to stress different parts of the device in order to determine the battery performance in different conditions. Most important is that all displays are calibrated to 200 nits to avoid penalizing certain phones for having brighter displays than others.

Web Browsing Battery Life (WiFi)

The first test is our WiFi web browsing test which loads a set of web pages in a loop with pauses to avoid penalizing phones with faster SoCs than others. In this test we see that the Nexus 6 does perform somewhat poorly. Compared to Samsung's Galaxy Note 4 which has essentially the same specifications on paper, the Nexus 6 lasts 4.27 hours shorter. It is likely that this can be attributed to the display, which may not be as efficient as the latest and greatest AMOLED panel used in the Note 4.

At this point we would usually post results for web browsing battery life on LTE. However, I've had difficulty locating a place to perform testing with a reliable cellular signal, and I didn't wish to put the Nexus 6 at an unfair disadvantage by performing the test with poor reception. Because of this, I was unable to obtain LTE battery life results for the Nexus 6, but given the platform it's likely that battery life is around 7.25 to 7.5 hours on our LTE web test.

BaseMark OS II Battery Life

BaseMark OS II Battery Score

In our more SoC-bound BaseMark OS II battery test we see that the Nexus 6 doesn't last quite as long as the Note 4. This is again likely due to a higher display power consumption on the Nexus 6, as both devices share the same SoC fabricated on the same process. However, we see that the battery score is a bit higher, likely due to a higher average CPU frequency afforded by a larger heat dissipation area to reduce throttling.

GFXBench 3.0 Battery Life

GFXBench 3.0 Performance Degradation

With GFXBench which is a more GPU focused test, we see similar results to our BaseMark OS II test. The Nexus 6 doesn't last quite as long as the Galaxy Note 4, with slightly more than 3 hours of usage compared to the Note 4 with 3.7 hours of usage. The gap definitely closes between the two here, but unfortunately it seems that the display continues to hurt overall battery life. The fact that the web browsing result is so close here suggests that Motorola is continuing to target "24 hours of mixed usage", so if one does fit their usage model they shouldn't have isssues lasting a day on battery. I can't help but think that a good LCD would get them much more battery life for the same battery size, but it should be usable here even if it's behind the competition.

Charge Time

The charge time of a smartphone is also very important. While having a long battery life means that a device can be used for longer, if it also requires a very long charging time it may be that the device is less frequently able to be fully charged and thus unable to actually reach its potential battery life. Charge time can also be an important factor in time-constrained situations such as topping up your battery before a flight. In order to test battery life we deplete the device's battery charge to 0, and then measure the duration that the device is plugged in until it reaches a power draw that indicates it is completely charged.

Charge Time

The Nexus 6 includes Motorola's Turbo Charger which can output 9V at 1.6A or 12V at 1.2A to Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 compatible devices. As you can see above, this leads to an exceptionally low charge time of 1.89 hours. I'm very glad that Google and Motorola decided to include the Turbo Charger instead of a typical 5W adapter. Something I would like to note is that my Turbo Charger did exhibit very noticeable coil whine, although this may have simply been an issue specific to my unit.

Introduction and Design Display
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  • darkich - Friday, November 14, 2014 - link

    Good observation.
    Now I just wish Display Mate tests the Nexus and reveals the power consumption of the screen.

    AMOLED is inherently power hungry on white background surfaces(browsing) and even the latest generation doesn't alleviate that weakness.
    I can only guess how bad can it be combined with the screen used for Nexus 6
    Reply
  • grayson_carr - Thursday, November 13, 2014 - link

    In addition to newer, more efficient, AMOLED tech in the Note 4, I'm wondering if Samsung throttles down the CPU more aggressively on their phones to save battery. Maybe that is the real cause of the TouchWiz lag and frame dropping as well? Reply
  • darkich - Thursday, November 13, 2014 - link

    Lag and frame drops on the Note 4?
    Go watch and read some reviews and let me know if you find some of that
    Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Thursday, November 13, 2014 - link

    "Nexus 7 (16GB, Black, Wi-Fi only) is no longer available for sale."
    "Nexus 7 (32GB, Black, Wi-Fi only) is no longer available for sale."

    Check Google Play.

    Thus, it is untrue that "[t]hat hasn't changed at all in the past few weeks. The Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 are both still available, and they still provide a very high quality experience, arguably better than some other smartphones that are both newer and more expensive." It has changed. The Nexus 5 and 7 may be available in other places for the time being, but Google is clearly replacing the Nexus 5 and 7 with the Nexus 6 and 9. So the entry price point (and entry size point) are decidedly different with the official Google experience than they were.

    Hell, even the Nexus 9 shipped days ago and most of us are still waiting on the Nexus 7 to be updated. So not even your statement that we bought the Nexus device to get the OS ASAP is true anymore.

    I don't think I'm going to read your article any further since you're so obviously wrong about little things that make all the difference. How can your judgement of the Nexus 6 be correct if you aren't even correct about verifying Google's replacement of the older Nexus devices? You probably aren't even judging the new versus the old in the context of full replacement, instead thinking that just because remaining stock are currently present at other stores that that means you're seeing Google keeping the product on the market.

    Removing the Nexus 7 in particular from Google Play the very same day that they listed the Nexus 9 on their official store is as close to confirmation as you'll likely get that there will be no more Nexus 7 soon.

    I'm sure your article is great, but when you don't know that Nexus 7 was replaced (not supplemented) I think your conclusion is destined to be wrong.
    Reply
  • vwtodd - Thursday, November 13, 2014 - link

    Forgive the naivety but can the screen be re-calibrated with a future software update? Is this something that Google can adjust going forward? Reply
  • grayson_carr - Thursday, November 13, 2014 - link

    Yes, it's very possible, but it's also very unlikely because they would risk annoying users who got used to and / or enjoy the punchiness and oversaturated colors. And if they were going to do it, they would have done it before launch. But if enough people complained to them and submitted feedback, they might consider it. Reply
  • Taronga - Thursday, November 13, 2014 - link

    I'm a Nexus 4 and 5 user and have generally been extremely happy with the Nexus phones--so much so, that I preordered the Nexus 6 a week ago.

    I admit that I was already wavering a bit due to the size of the phone, but hearing about the (lack of) display brightness and accuracy, battery life, and the missing notification light have made me decide to skip the phone.

    I contacted Motorola yesterday to cancel my order (which only took 50 minutes on hold with the philippines call center) only to be told that I can't cancel a preorder!! Yes, even though my phone isn't due to be shipped for another 2-3 weeks, apparently Motorola has no way to cancel an order in their system. Motorola's way of "canceling" and order is to ship you a phone half-way around the world and then have the customer ship it back...
    Reply
  • Delfang - Thursday, November 13, 2014 - link

    I find it ridiculous for not compare the battery life against Xperia Z3 when you included multiple variations of Galaxy S5. Reply
  • Coup27 - Thursday, November 13, 2014 - link

    They haven't tested the Z3 so how can they include any figures? Reply
  • foxingworth - Thursday, November 13, 2014 - link

    Not to get sidetracked, but I am disappointed to see that the Lumia 930 WiFi performance got added to the database. That review was a joke. That reviewer connected the AC-compatible phone to an N router and called it good enough.

    Please remove that phone from the database so it doesn't get unfairly compared to the other properly reviewed phones. Us Windows Phone users have it bad enough.

    I miss Klug <3
    Reply

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