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

  • Chaser - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    If battery life matters there are better choices besides both those phones. Reply
  • Shftup - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    Hi, can you validate the build, etc:
    Android Version: 5.0
    Build Number: LRX21I
    Kernel Version: 3.10.40-gb2ab3cc

  • Kensei - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    Is the Nexus 6 meant to be the next version of the Nexus 5.... or will there be an update to the Nexus 5 down the road? Reply
  • meowmanjack - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    Were you able to test wireless charging at all? I'm curious if Motorola included an alignment magnet near the coil so it plays nice with the Nexus 5's wireless charging pad. Reply
  • mpokwsths - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    I don't see NAND benchmarks. In all previous reviews they were present. Could it be because of the performance doubling that Lollipop brought (in all the Nexus devices) using the same Androbench app? When, in a previous review, I mentioned that, the answer I got was "it is probably a dev preview incompatibility". Now we have the final Lollipop release... Reply
  • mpokwsths - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    Or maybe that performance if only under Lollipop accurate???
    To the readers that haven't heard anything about that:
  • Brandon Chester - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    If you read the Misc section you'll see that the results were inaccurate when I tried to test, as in they were insanely slow, not fast. Reply
  • p-zilla - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    Brandon, this is almost definitely due to having disk encryption on. Can you encrypt a Nexus 5 and do a comparison? Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    Look at the Ars Technica review. Storage performance isn't looking that hot, slower sequential reads probably are responsible for some of the slowness opening apps. Reply
  • Chaser - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    Imagine all the people that pre-ordered this phone. I recently bought the Sony Xperia Z3. Amazing phone with unprecedented battery life. Mostly because Sony's designers made a smart move and didn't fall for the Quad HD hype bandwagon. It has a brilliantly bright and vivid display and in the tradition of Sony, absolutely outstanding audio quality that I can take in the shower with me if I choose :) Reply

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