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


View All Comments

  • synaesthetic - Thursday, November 27, 2014 - link

    I'm still deeply in love with my Nexus 4 despite it being two years old, but the 16GB storage is starting to chafe a bit. I'll be looking at trading up, selling the N4 to fund a 32GB Nexus 5. It's a better phone in practically every way and I really think LG did a fantastic job on both the N4 and the N5.

    The N6 is just... really, it's confusing. I don't get it. How could they fuck this up?
  • EleGenius - Tuesday, January 27, 2015 - link

    I felt the same way about my Nexus 4 but after water damage I purchased the Nexus 6 as the N5 was no longer available from the Play Store. I rooted the N6 for the notification light and Titanium Backup, turned off ambient display, installed brightness pro (quick manual control from any screen with one touch), and I'm loving the device. I get about two days worth of battery without playing games. I'll admit It's taken me about a week to get use to it but now it's easily my right hand and going back to the N4 in a way seems silly.

    My wifi connections and cellular signal with T-Mobile has been solid. I’ve noticed only one issue and that’s within the first 10 seconds after the phone has restarted there's a slight delay (I think it's the encryption being initialized) but after that I think the update 5.0.1 has resolved the encryption speed as the phone is as fast if not quicker then I am.

    If you're happy with your N4, keep it it’s a good device. My N4 ran Loliopop very well except for the random daily reboots which I haven’t experienced on the N6. If you upgrade to the N6, I think you'll find it's a great device too even if it first comes off as confusing. My only caveat would be smaller hands and if you wear tight pants with small pockets. I'm 6'3" - 6'4" with above average fingers and can use this device one handed. I can see where people with smaller hands may run into handling issues. This device fits very well in my front pockets too. A little snug when wearing jeans but still completely manageable.

    I was bothered by the N6 at first but now after owning it it’s easily my favorite Nexus to date. I use my N6 more then my N7 and with it rooted for the notification light (Light Flow) it’s like having by N4 back but better, much better. Don’t throw the N6 out yet, it’s turning out to be a solid device that’s now become my digital right hand. If you give it a chance I think you may find the same to be true.
  • jimv1983 - Thursday, November 13, 2014 - link

    How anyone could ever go from a Nexus device with stock Android to a Samsung phone running that TouchWiz garbage amazes me. Reply
  • grayson_carr - Thursday, November 13, 2014 - link

    Same. Samsung owners are always going around talking about how fast their phones are... no lag, no slowdowns, perfectly smooth, etc, but every time I go into a store to play with a new Samsung phone on launch day, it feels slow as hell, dropping frames left and right, compared to my Nexus devices. The GS5 and Note 4 are no exception. Maybe Samsung phones feel fast compared to older phones, especially older Samsung phones, and maybe that's why so many people think they are fast, but they just don't perform at the same level as modern Nexus, Motorola, and HTC phones. If they did, I would have a Note 4 in my pocket right now, because I love the camera, screen, and build, and I can live with the cluttered and slightly garish software. Reply
  • akdj - Friday, November 14, 2014 - link

    Change the launcher
    The Note 3 SMOKED the Nexus 5
    The Note 4 SMOKES the Nexus 6
    And it's NOTHING to do with the 'hardware' as it's essentially the same. That said, something in the software isn't allowing the Nexus 6 to run ANYwhere nearly as quickly, efficiently and smoothly as ANY other Android flagships. Period.
    That was the same issue with the Nexus 5 ( that and the shitty camera )
  • akdj - Friday, November 14, 2014 - link

    Wish there was an edit ...
    Because you're essentially admitting TouchWiz is superior to 'stock' Android. TouchWiz @ release was trash. Through the release of the G3--->& everything but the kitchen sink.
    Since then with the S4 & 5, Note 2, 3, & now 4---> Samsung's spent MORE time developing the compelling features of TouchWiz while elimating the 'duff'
    The carriers and their bloat ass to the crap. I've owmed them all, and when it comes to 'large phones' or phablets, there's not an equal to the Note 4
  • theduckofdeath - Friday, November 14, 2014 - link

    You'd have to go really far back in history to find trash TouchWiz. TouchWiz had a hardware accelerated UI on the GS2. Yeah, that was with Android 2.x. I agree the TouchWiz Samsung used on the original Galaxy S needed a lot of tweaking, thanks to horrible choices of file systems and really sloppy colour and sound calibration. But since the GS2, I've never felt the need to root a Samsung phone. Reply
  • mlambert890 - Saturday, December 20, 2014 - link

    Far back? TouchWiz has noticeable user experience impact ON THE NOTE 4

    Samsung zealots simply don't notice or are in denial, but anyone objective IMMEDIATELY sees it.

    When you go to swipe to the left and your 8 core desktop level phone pauses? That's not normal just FYI. Benchmarks don't tell that tale.

    TouchWiz has REAL WORLD performance impact in exchange for zero benefit

    Yes you can change launchers, root the phone, install hacked ROMs, and get a PhD in phone. Or you can just avoid Samsung
  • nafhan - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    Eh, I've gotta' say I feel extremely satisfied with buying a Nexus 5 (yes, 5) last week. Reply
  • grayson_carr - Thursday, November 13, 2014 - link

    If Google put a slightly larger battery and the camera from the Nexus 6 in a revamped Nexus 5, I would buy it in a heartbeat. The processor, RAM, and screen are shockingly all still great, even a year in. It's still as fast, if not faster in day to day tasks than the Nexus 6 (and pretty much every other phone), and the sub pixel density of the screen is actually higher than the Nexus 6, not to mention much better brightness and color calibration! Reply

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