No matter how cool the features are on any single smartphone, the rage and frustration a smartphone user feels is very real if that user’s phone dies in the middle of a video or worse yet, while editing a document or on a phone call. With Android smartphones and their numerous great features, it is time to look at those smartphones that can deliver the juice needed to run the show-for as long as the user needs, not as long as the smartphone dictates.
How is Battery Life Determined?
The truest test of a cellphone or a smartphones battery life is talk time, web time, media time, and mixed usage, which is how most smartphone review labs rate a phone’s performance. While longer talk time and web time is the most coveted by users, standby time is another factor users want as well. For example, while watching a video will drain a battery quickly because it uses the built-in CPU in addition to the screen and sound, simply talking on the phone will only use the speakers and/or 3G service-not much CPU usage in this scenario. Additionally, the more a user multitasks, the quicker the battery will drain. The top performer is then determined based on various functions and power save features.
Some of the testing conditions include whether the screen has the backlight set to on or if it is in auto dim mode; whether the user is talking suing the 3G services or not; whether the CPU is in save mode or not, among other scenarios. While a user could theoretically tweak Android’s settings to extend the phone’s battery performance, not every phone offers such settings to tweak. Simply comparing one Android smartphone to another and allowing for real world testing in the area users want to see most is the best way to go about determining the longest Android battery life-in this case, talk time.
Top Spot: HTC Legend (Android 2.1)
As of August 11 2010, CNet shows that the HTC Incredible has the longest battery life for any Android smartphone in terms of talk time. With over 12 hours before needing a charge, this unlocked Android smartphone as tested using real-word scenarios including talk time, Internet use, media use and more. Even though the HTC Incredible uses a 3.7-inch AMOLED display, a display technology that always comes up short when testing the battery, somehow, this smartphone breaks the AMOLED records. Not only is the HTC Incredible enough to kill the iPhone with its 8-megapixel camera and awesome uni-body design, but it is also incredible enough to do anything a user wants without the expected battery fail.
Number Two Spot: Motorola Droid X (Android 2.2)
In testing conducted by different labs including CNet and LaptopMag, the Motorola Droid X is consistently in the number two spot, which is not surprising since this “Droid Does” appear in the top 10 lists using any comparison scenario. The testing centers have all rated the Motorola Droid X at seven hours and 40 minutes of talk time with 2520 hours of tested standby time. This means a full eight-hour day available to talk on the phone and play with apps and other items before needing a recharge and this includes Internet and media usage as well. Even when the Droid X is tested using its 3G talk mode, it stays in the number two spot faithfully.
Number Three Spot: Dell Streak (Android 1.6)
The next on the list of best Android battery is the Dell Streak. Yes, that is a bit of a surprise for a smartphone on the fringes of the market considering it is not very popular and has a huge 5-inch display. This display makes it almost the same size as some netbook devices, and could even be considered a Tablet PC; however, it is a smartphone and it came in at almost the same talk time as the Motorola Droid X. It is almost equal in real-world testing scenarios at 7 hours and 35 minutes of talk time-quite remarkable considering its massive screen. Typically, the larger the display, the shorter the battery life; it simply uses more juice to power it. This is something that has led to the criticism that it is just too big for the hand. While this may limit the Dell Streak to a smaller market segment, it does make for a great media platform and it has the battery to back it up.
Kent German, “Long-Lasting Cell Phones; Handsets with Great Battery Life,” CNet Reviews
Mike Prospero, “Android Battery Test Reveals Droid X Lasts Longest; AMOLED Handsets Trail,” LaptopMag