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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  • Chiropteran - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    Isn't that like using windows XP test results and labeling them as Windows 8? The performance of the N5 might well change (for the worse) with Lollipop... Reply
  • vshah - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    this is pretty terrible. devices should be labeled as tested. Reply
  • tuxRoller - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    Regarding the camera, it's arguable how good/bad the actual hardware is given that, until lollipop, we haven't had a way to get at the RAWs. Now that we can, we can see what the device captures, and the quality of the post-processing.
    From various sources (both reddit, and forbes) the results seem to be that with a bit of work using rawtherapee you get significantly better results. What remains is for someone to produce an app that makes better choices than google.
    Considering that google has used pretty good image sensors with the last couple of nexii, the only unknown is lens quality. Hopefully someone will perform a test with another lollipop device that uses the same sensors as the N5/N6 but different lens and examine the DNG image, with settings as close to like-for-like as possible.
    Reply
  • anactoraaron - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    But camera software improvements can reduce latency and focus to capture time though. Reply
  • Spawne32 - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    I would imagine both phones are running a "dev preview" as the battery bug which is clearly rearing its ugly head in the battery tests, were only fixed 2 days ago. Reply
  • Brandon Chester - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    There was no mention of battery improvements in the small update that shipped on Monday. Reply
  • gregspruce - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    Droid Turbo review? Reply
  • Chaser - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    I can help. Large phone with (built in Kevlar case). Dim display. No simultaneous voice and data on "Americas most reliable network". Reply
  • gregspruce - Thursday, November 13, 2014 - link

    I have the phone, I just want to see their take on it.
    BTW, display is more than readable in direct sunlight, so...
    Also not the first phone to ditch dual modems and lose simultaneous voice and data pre-VoLTE.
    The Turbo is fantastic, absolutely the best choice on Verizon right now, my friends on other networks are a little jealous currently, especially in light all of the Nexus reviews.
    Reply
  • humjaba - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    Damn. Still looking for something >5" that gets stellar battery life, that I can get on AT&T, and that won't cost me my first born son. The Sony Z3 looks perfect but I'm not interested in paying that price off-contract. Maybe I'll have to start hunting for a oneplus one invite... Reply

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