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

  • brentwgraham - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    I pre-ordered the Nexus 6... I'm now wavering and considering either a Note 4 or an Xperia Z3...

    Good news is they bungled the launch so badly that mine hasn't even shipped yet.
  • Coup27 - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    I also have a Z3 having come from an S4. The Z3 is awesome. I put the two side by side before selling my S4 and the display is much better on the Z3. The S4 had a green tint where as the Z3 seems to be accurate in colour reproduction and white point. The speakers produce a much better sound with the only negative being they aren't very loud. The design is great, but did take some getting used to. Finally, batter life is on another level. My S4 used to die after 2 days. With exactly the same usage I can easily hit 3 and still have some left. Reply
  • grayson_carr - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    Well, guess I will stick with my Nexus 5 for now. The poor display brightness and calibration killed it for me. Not to mention the fact that he said the Nexus 5 feels faster on Lollipop. The size and price don't do the Nexus 6 any favors either. I love the Note 4 hardware, camera performance, accurate display calibration setting, and battery life, but after playing with one in store several times, I just don't think I can deal with how slow it felt and how many frames it dropped in pedestrian scrolling tasks. Reply
  • sqeaky_fartz - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    Are the front facing speakers actually stereo, or is it like the 2nd gen Moto X in that regard? Reply
  • Brandon Chester - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    Actually stereo. Reply
  • lostleaf - Friday, November 14, 2014 - link

    Are you able to comment on the sound for the stereo speakers? I would like a comparison to the htc one m7 or m8. Reply
  • Spawne32 - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    I can honestly say I wouldn't even remotely consider this phone an upgrade from the Nexus 5, which was a game changer for me in terms of sub $400 dollar smart phones. This is exactly what I expected with the switch from LG to motorola for the OEM for the nexus 6, a ridiculously high price tag for mediocre performance. It's a damn shame to see google stray away from providing a good quality phone at a reasonable price to some ridiculous hunk of crap at almost a $700 dollar price tag. Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    I still think the performance degradation test makes more sense if you divide by the first cycle. The way it is, if a phone with performance of 100 drops 40%, and a phone with performance of 50 drops 10%, the first one will have dropped a lot more, but still show higher total performance in the end, when the test is about seeing how badly the device throttles. Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    The system and web benchmarks show a regression from the nexus 5...Hmm. Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - link

    There are also some lag issues...I'm kind of relieved to see it has some lag issues, as that means Nvidias Denver isn't the culprit in the Nexus 9. Reply

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