Android battery life is something that pops up in reviews all the time. We all want to know whether or not an extra charger or battery pack is in order, but results can be mixed. A new study exhaustively puts four of the top Android phones — and two generations of flagships — through the battery ringer. It seems which carrier you pick is just as important as the phone you choose.
Laptop took the Galaxy S4 & S5, as well as the HTC One (M7) & (M8), out for a long spin. Grabbing one of each for each carrier, they tested battery life using a standardized approach. If you’re wondering how they ran the test, here’s what they have to say:
The Laptop Battery Test is an Android app that surfs 50 popular Web sites, pausing for 60 seconds on each page, until the phone’s battery runs out. For smartphones, we turn off Bluetooth and NFC and set the brightness to 150 nits. We also turn off Wi-Fi, so that the phone uses only the carrier’s network, and make sure that it’s receiving at least 3 bars of service.
Their findings? It seems little magenta is a big winner, here. T-Mobile was found to have the better battery life among all carriers. The biggest margin of victory came with the HTC One (M7), where T-Mobile’s variant lasted a solid two hours longer than AT&T’s option. If you’re wondering which phone/carrier combo to avoid — it’s the Verizon Galaxy S4. That phone/carrier duo will only last four hours before needing a charge.
So, how much of a gain are you really getting in choosing T-Mobile? Over the course of the past year, Laptop found that T-Mobile brought an average of 8 hours & 11 minutes of battery life. Sprint was second with 7 hours & 34 minutes. AT&T checked in with 7 hours & 26 minutes, while Verizon gets you 7 hours & 12 minutes.
Laptop also considers why the results come up as they do, saying it could be that T-Mobile’s network isn’t as strained as others. Bloatware could also be a reason, where T-Mobile has less on a device than other carriers, but Laptop isn’t buying that one. “However, a cleaner software load likely doesn’t account for such a big difference in battery life from one carrier to the next. There’s something else at play here.”