When the team at A Current Affair asked me to help them out with a Smartphone battery test – I was shocked to think that I’d never actually seen it done before.  With millions of smartphones sold every year we always talk about battery life and wanting more – but just which phones are going to offer you the best battery life.  The results were quite a surprise.

Before the hate mail rolls in, this is hardly scientific.  We’re looking to put these phones head-to-head to see how they cope in similar conditions.

And while it’s a massive spoiler alert – lets be clear – the Samsung smartphones did extraordinarily well compared to the rest!

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When considering which phones to test, we wanted to have a few of the new and popular large-screen “phablets”, the flagship models at the top of the market, a best-seller and something cheap and easy.

Which left me with these devices:


  • iPhone 6 Plus $999
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4 $949
  • Huawei Mate7 $699

Flagship phones:

  • iPhone 6 $869
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 $749
  • HTC one M8 $869

Top seller:

  • iPhone 5s $749

Cheap and easy:

  • Huawei Vodafone $99

In answer to the (several) requests I’ve “received” regarding not including a Windows Phone device (among others) in this test – frankly, I didn’t have one.  These are all handsets I had in the EFTM studio ready to charge and review.  Shortly after this I received the Lumia 830 to review but it was too late.  And, frankly, these are the top sellers and the phones of the moment, Sadly (despite my own praise for the Lumia’s) they just aren’t selling in big numbers too!

So, I charged them all up and we headed to the studios at Channel 9.

We powered them all on, and I set them all to equal settings.  WiFi on.  Bluetooth On, Screen brightness at full, screen timeout at 5 minutes, and power saving modes (applicable in many android phones like HTC and Samsung) off.

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This would ensure they drained fastest, and also on an equal footing.

I don’t see this as a “will my phone last the day” test, this is about rate of decline.

The tests we conducted were:

  • YouTube streaming – picking a 4 hour long video and playing it for an hour or more on end
  • Phone Calls – setting them to call each other for set durations
  • Texts – sending similar volumes of texts to each other
  • Social – spending equal amounts of time on social media sites and apps.

Simple stuff, hoping to show a result.

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It’s also worth noting that these are very different phones.  Bigger screens, more pixels, different battery sizes.

Battery Screen  (Width) Screen (Height) Total Pixels
iPhone 5S 1560 640 1136 727040
iPhone 6 1810 750 1344 1008000
iPhone 6 Plus 2915 1080 1920 2073600
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 3220 1440 2560 3686400
Samsung Galaxy S5 2800 1080 1920 2073600
Huawei Mate7 4100 1080 1920 2073600
Huawei Vodafone $99 2000 480 854 409920
HTC One M8 2600 1080 1920 2073600

Without question I was surprised by the rapid decline of the iPhones, and the ability of the $99 phone to keep up and bat well above its average.  Though the iPhones have small batteries, and the $99 phone has a very dull screen and low resolution.

So while they performed poorly like for like, you’re getting the performance from those specifications.

Here’s the order in which the phones died in our testing:

1. iPhone 5s
2. iPhone 6
3. HTC One M8
4. iPhone 6 Plus
5. Huawei Mate 7
6. Huawei Vodaphone $99
7. Samsung Galaxy S5
8. Samsung Galaxy Note 4

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However, people are buying phones for battery life these days and when you realise that in reality there are phones that simply do last longer – that’s a huge consideration for many.

For others, it’s not so easy – you’ve got a phone with poor battery life, or you really want a certain phone – in those cases, here are my tips for longer battery life:

  • Turn screen brightness down
  • Turn off wifi when not needed
  • Turn off Bluetooth when not needed
  • Utilise any power saving modes the phone might have
  • Check the settings to see which apps are draining your battery most
  • Remember the Internet chews lots of data so minimise your time surfing or viewing online content

View the full story at A Current Affair