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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  • Ortanon - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    =( Reply
  • seanleeforever - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    Nexus lines were speed on cheap. after owning few nexus devices i made the jump to Note 4 and could not be happier.
    like DLeRium said, i have always been EXTREMELY disappointed in nexus line for everything other than processor power. looks like the Nexus 6 is no different. the battery life test shows how far behind the nexus line is to samsung's device given the same spec.
    and those camera shots, eventhough it a improvement to the old, is not that great.

    and most importantly, note 4 cost 550 dollar (750-200 if pre ordered in the U.S.), it is superior than nexus 6 in nearly every area. there is no sense in getting the nexus 6.
  • Vepsa - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    Having owned a Galaxy Nexus and a current Note 3, I am very glad Verizon will be getting the Nexus 6. I cannot stand TouchWiz and find my self doing a lot more on my Nexus 7 that I do on my Note 3. Yes, the camera isn't as good and the Exchange client isn't as good, but I prefer the stock Android experience a lot more. Now if you'll excuse me, I must check for the Lollipop update on my N7 again (2013 LTE). Reply
  • seanleeforever - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    that's the beauty of andriod, everyone has his/her favorite flavor.
    there was a period of time where i preferred stock andriod, which was why i had few nexuses, including the original nexus one. the main issue was the UI response. when hardware were underpowered, the UI response between a stocked andriod and skinned andriod was huge. however, at least in the Note 4 (sd 805), there is no trace of slowing down running touch wiz (and note 4's touch wiz is quite different from note 3). read any review any where and you can see it.
    then it comes to functionality. it is safe to say the reason it is called the note is because the pen and the mufti-tasking it brings. if you just want a big screen, there are number of alternatives. and touch wiz is just brilliant way of doing multi tasking, whether to minimize a window or doing split screen. and the pen interface is also brilliant. you cannot get those support in stock andriod. there really isn't anything that stock can do that touch wiz cannot, but the opposite isn't true at all.
  • wolrah - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    FYI, the pen works just fine in AOSP ROMs. My housemate has a Note 3 running Cyanogenmod and has no problems with it.

    Multitasking in both split-screen and popup forms has been available for some time in some AOSP ROMs and is available in most others through Xposed Framework extensions. Multitasking was one of the few things I liked on TouchWiz, so when I switched my GS4 over that was the first thing I installed.

    AOSP out of the box may not have all the same apps that TouchWiz bundles, but there is nothing I'm aware of that can not be replicated with easily installed free apps.
  • seanleeforever - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    there are levels of "working", i don't suppose his Note 3 has the pen shortcuts that's available the moment he pull out the pen, or screen write with ocr, or s note sync between devices? of course then you could say: there is an app for that, drop box to sync files and etc.. but why change something that's not broken? let alone of the inconvenience it brings?
    alternatively, i would like to say, what could you not do on stock touch wiz that you could do on AOSP?
    nowadays, it is really a personally preference to mod the rom not a necessity (sort like how i like build my own PC rather than buy one). in fact, stock rom will likely cause reduced performance/battery life. just check out the google play edition of S4 and One.
  • akdj - Friday, November 14, 2014 - link

    I'm with SeanLee here
    As a Note user (1 & 3 --- on NEXT so I'm paid off next month and I'll be selling to update to the N4) as well as Nexus owner, several phones, Nexus 7 (bothe the '12 & '13 models) ...even the original Xoom hangin with iPad 1 in a box, in the closet somewhere.
    I'm 43 now. We own a family business, have mortgages, car payments, coaching baseball and wrestling and 'enjoying' my technology hobby if and when given the chance
    When the chance comes, I'm different today than five years ago. I don't want to flash my ROM, hang out at XDA or troubleshoot challenges post root
    I want a phone or a tablet that 'works', that's supported (widely and by typically trust worthy and hard working/creative and detailed developers) by the Play Store, easy to update and find what I need with support if I 'F' something up!
    I'm also a user of iOS. iPhone is my personal set. iPad my tablet of choice and the Note 3 (this afternoon the N4) specifically for business and is with me everywhere.
    I don't wear 'skinny' jeans, but I've never had an issue getting the Note 3 in my pockets. I'm with the author as well. Years of iOS usage for phones and the Note (specifically the '3'---I couldn't get outta the original Note quickly enough!) changed that for me.
    That said, this new Nexus does look to be a let down with the price hike without the 'calibration' and efficiency of the other flagships on the market. The hardware, camera, even design look great! But over 5/5 ½" without a stylus but smaller than an iPad seems ...maybe not useless, to me.
    Maybe the better word would be overkill
    Anyway, as always, YMMV
  • mlambert890 - Saturday, December 20, 2014 - link

    Odd because I immediately noticed UI hitching on the Note 4 AT THE SAMSUNG kiosk and immediately wrote it off. Dealt with it on the Note and Note 2... Not interested.

    Of course as with all things if you don't WANT to notice it you probably won't

    Despite having near desktop level power the Note 4 absolutely still slows down thanks to TouchWiz though.
  • Jdotjdot7 - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    Nexus lines were pretty decent. I just got the Nexus 5 like 3 months ago and I honestly can't say I'd choose any other smartphone currently. It was cheap as hell, I've had screen-on times over 6 hours and it's just a nice little phone that doesn't lose its appeal with age, something very rare in smartphones. I'd still choose a Nexus 5 even among the current crop, I was expecting to at least somewhat like the Nexus 6 but this review basically showed that Google went in the opposite direction. Reply
  • Spunjji - Friday, November 14, 2014 - link

    This definitely reflects my own sentiments. I'm actually rather pleased; for the first time ever I've owned an Android phone for more than 12 months without wanting to replace it / throw it at a wall. Reply

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