AMOLED was billed as the double-punch to traditional LCD panels on smartphones: better image quality and lower power consumption, adding up to a handset that lasted longer and was nicer to use. According to Laptop‘s testing, however, the reality isn’t quite so clear cut. They put eight Android smartphones – including the DROID X, Epic 4G and EVO 4G – through their paces running a custom battery testing app, and found that Motorola’s LCD panels actually came to the top of the pile.
The DROID X lasted the longest, at almost 8hrs solid, while the DROID 2 came in third place at just over 7hrs. Despite its 5-inch display, the Dell Streak slotted into second place, at 7.5hrs. Down at the lower end of the chart was the HTC Incredible, with an AMOLED panel and 4.5hrs of runtime, and Samsung’s Captivate and Vibrant (both Galaxy S family phones) with 4.75hrs.
Of course, this isn’t really scientific in purist terms: the phones use different batteries (as you can see listed in the results chart below), different processors and are running various versions of Android. Google has made power saving and performance tweaks between software iterations. They also tested the handsets in the web-browser, but because of the way the display technology works, AMOLED/Super AMOLED is more frugal showing black or darker colors than it is white (i.e. most webpage backgrounds). Still, if you’re a web addict and you’re looking for a long-legged Android phone on which to surf while mobile, it seems LCD may still be the way to go.