Android Battery Test Reveals Droid X Lasts Longest, AMOLED Handsets Trail

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Ever since the first Android phone appeared, we've been developing a battery test that would accurately gauge their endurance, and lend some objective data to our anecdotal tests.Finally, we've come up with one, and, after testing it on a number of phones, now feel confident in the results to share it with you.

The results, shown in complete form below, may surprise you. Motorola's two flagship phones, the Droid 2 and the Droid X, ruled the roost, but phones with attractive AMOLED screens clearly fell behind the pack. The worst phone for battery life that we tested was the HTC Droid Incredible, which managed an average of only 4 hours and 33 minutes, compared to the Droid X's 7 hours and 42 minutes of endurance.

How We Tested

The test itself is fairly simple. Avram, our tireless Web director, modified the LAPTOP Battery Test we use for notebooks, and created an Android App that does much the same thing: It opens the phone's Web browser to one of 60 popular Web sites, remains there for 60 seconds, closes the browser, then reopens the browser to next Web site on the list. It does so until the phone's battery dies, all while recording the time elapsed.

Here's how we set up the phones before we tested them:

  1. First, we download My Settings and Advanced Task Killer, two free apps that are useful regardless.
  2. Then, we open My Settings, and do the following:
  3. Turn screen brightness to 40%, and turn off auto brightness.
  4. Turn off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS location, cell location, and auto sync.
  5. Deactivate screen timeout; that is, make sure the screen stays on indefinitely.
  6. In the Web browser, we turn off Flash support and plug-ins.
  7. We placed the phone in an area that was receiving at least 4 bars of service.

To the right is a screenshot of the app on the Droid X, after it completed the test once.  Since it's a new test, we ran it at least twice on each phone and took the average. We know this doesn't take into account things such as texting, making phone calls, and using multimedia apps, but we feel it gives a fair indication of how long one phone will last compared to another under similar settings.

Complete Results

Motorola's doing something right: Both the Droid 2 and the Droid X lasted much longer than competing devices from Samsung and HTC. Even with its larger screen, the Dell Streak lasted longer than most smart phones.  Considering the Samsung Captivate and Vibrant are essentially the same phone, it's no surprise that their battery life was nearly identical. However, their AMOLED displays, coupled with a smaller form factor,  seem to have negatively impacted their endurance.  The Samsung Epic 4G and HTC Evo 4G (running Android 2.2) came in just under the average, and the Incredible, as suspected, fared the worst.

So should you steer clear of AMOLED phones if you care about endurance? Not necessarily. OLED technology uses the most power when displaying white, which is why Samsung chose a black background for the app menus on its Galaxy S phones. Since our battery test surfs web pages, most of which have a white background, both the Galaxy devices and the Incredible were at a disadvantage. It really comes down to what you view most often on your phone.
Add a comment
  • Petr Says:

    I dont like this test. I think you should calibrate the devices to same brightness (same amount of light they produce) not just set them at 40%. it is not that hard to do that.

  • shaquille Says:

    i just got my droid 2 and its on cricket and i find the battery life real good and all i do is text and use the internet for a few minuted but not alot and play a little angry bird witch all 3 versions is free in the android market there full versions to.but i have a question if i use my droid while its charged up to surf the web and stuff will this hurt the battery by burning the cells in it...its something my dad told me

  • smonme Says:

    Would love to get a copy of this battery test app f or my mytouch 4g running gingerbread :)


  • Joanne Says:

    AMOLED screens can save quite a bit of battery when displaying a black background. The usage of a Black Google such as for Google searches and a black background on the main screen could help AMOLED's quite a bit.

  • Evan Says:

    I don't get why people get so mad over these results. I have had the Htc Evo and the Samsung Epic and I find these results to be dead on, atleast in my experience. I now have a droidx just made the switch to Verizon and although at first I was thinking about exchanging it for the Thunderbolt if it were to come out before my 30 days is up Im really liking the UI and the great battery life.

  • Per N Says:

    Is this battery life tool available for download somewhere?


  • Jacky Says:

    Mike, may I have the battery life tool or purchase from you? Please contact me by mail for the details, thanks.

  • lasthero Says:

    Hi Mike, is it possible to get the battery life test tool for android phone from you? I'm interesting in the test tool.

  • NeuronFlash Says:

    I have a Samsung Moment and my sons have Motorola Sidekicks. I'd rather have their phone because of the battery longevity issue with the samoled. My next phone will be Motorola.

  • Donny Says:

    Actually, you've got it somewhat wrong. Go ahead and install a task killer. Let it kill everything. Wait a minute. Refresh the task list. See anything interesting?

  • Matt Earle Says:

    I am not surprised Motorola can make a better battery life phone. They have been at this game for a long time. They have a whole bunch of experts at creating small phones that have long lasting batteries. Quite simple, they have a lot more experience at making this type of electronics.

    I have an HTC Desire Z and it is a great phone but I will admit the battery life could definitely be improved. One good thing about most of these Android phones though, that is not true of an iPhone 4, you can carry with you as many batteries as you want and just keep replacing them as they die.

  • Someone Says:


    Actually, you'd be surprised. Android's a lot more automated than Windows or any other OS for that matter. It can automatically start and shut down applications when it sees fit to do so. A task killer may kill a few things, but then Android OS might think: "hey, there's a lot of free memory now, let's go fill it up with some stuff that I've been meaning to get to!"

    I've tried a task killer before and I've not seen *ANY* benefit... actually I've seen worse (subjectively speaking) on a Nexus One. I swear I had 10% on a 3G connection and come back dead after an hour or two of non-use after thinking "hey, this should help save my battery!".

  • S Says:

    For a proper test of the battery what you need to do is not use a task killer and then run a movie at full brightness and see how long it takes for the battery to drain.

  • sandy Says:

    where is Sony Ericsson??? why wasnt it tested???

  • Blargh Says:

    Are you guys really that butthurt that your phone didn't outperform others? Who cares?

    Droid X user. 25+ hours of battery life per charge.

  • xv Says:

    @jroc I don't see why samsung s owners should be peeved by the results, they ran the tests on 100% brightness since they forgot to change the browser brightness setting which overrides everything.

    The tests are heavily flawed because of that even though some of the samsung haters here refuse to believe it.

  • jroc Says:

    I meant a 1300 mAh battery the smallest of the bunch.

  • jroc Says:

    For the folks talking about the Inc battery.....

    First its a 1300 MaH battery, 2nd its a 65nm chip. Compared to the current phones its already handicapped as far as battery life.

    Whatever charge was done to the Inc yall should be glad it held up that well against the Samsung phones. The Samsung owners probably are a lil peeved by these results, but Inc owners should be fist

  • Johnathan Dinan Says:

    With my Incredible I use a desktop charger for my batteries. I charge one at night at home in the phone on the standard charger, and keep a charged battery at work in my cradle. I get at least 8 hours out of my 1st battery, with pretty decent usage, as well as a VERY poor signal in my workplace, which kills the battery further (I keep the WiFi on because of this). My second battery (They are both stock HTC batteries, though one is from an old Droid Eris) lasts a lot longer, possibly because of the charging issue, and also Im not using it in an environment with a poor signal.

  • Jim DeArras Says:

    The DInc has a serious charging problem. IF you get the battery fully charged, the battery life is much better, but to do that, you have to turn the phone off, and once charged, remove and reinsert the power for a final charge period. Adds 40-50% to the run time.

    Charging with the phone on uses something in the OS to monitor charge, and that gets it very wrong.

  • Oprah Winfrey Says:

    PLEASE can you make the battery drain app available so that we may test our own phones. I BEG YOU.

  • Pookie Says:

    I agree, the DI gets horrible battery life. I do use a task killer, because lots of apps have no exit command. I also turned off every auto sync that I could. Finally, I bought the 2150 extended battery. Now my phone lasts 36 hours, like it should.

  • Immolate Says:

    The first Law of Flaws:

    The number of flaws that you discern in a benchmark is inversely proportionate to how well your device performs in said benchmark. This is an example of confirmation bias.

  • Ken Says:

    How about run the tests again at absolute minimum brightness for all devices and then absolute maximum brightness for all devices. That will remove the idiotic "but amoled vs. LCD ...." arguments. Or, better yet, do it again with auto-brightness turned on as that is what MANY people set their phones to...

    bottom line, it is a test with a static set of parameters. It's not perfect and no test will be. However, it is very telling when you look at the extremes.

    One question, though, for the tester: Did you "bump" charge the incredible? It has to be charged while on, then powered down to finish charging... that will add probably an hour to the total time use on the phone as the battery doesn't charge all the way. Known bug...

  • thehaggis Says:

    Good comparison, no matter what the various camps say. btw, any chance you could share/sell the battery testing app?? It would be great for general comparisons of battery health and phone/app troubleshooting.

  • K-Funk Says:

    As others have stated, you can't just assume that 40% brightness on all phones is the same. I keep my Galaxy S phone at minimum brightness, and it's still plenty bright (at least indoors). In fact, I would go even darker if I could.

    In addition, the Galaxy S browser has an independent brightness setting. I don't know anything about the "My Settings" app, so I can't comment on whether this overrides the browser brightness. However, Laptop Mag should confirm this or add a disclaimer.

  • Jin Says:

    Interesting results... To get the most out of your AMOLED screen you need to use black whenever possible to save your battery as it uses a lot less power than white. There's which is a black Google Mobile search. I have it set as my start page. explains how it all works.

  • watbetch Says:

    @Mike, um no it doesn't, hence them giving you a separate menu option.

  • jroc Says:

    Guys, thanks for the tests.

    U cant please everyone. Even if the X woulda came up on the short end, like someone said, depending on how I use my phone, its been great for me.

    For those looking for a new phone, take this test, tests at anandtech, etc for what its worth...

    So those that didnt know before reading thu the posts, use the brightness settings in the browser for the Samsung phones and your battery will last longer browsing the web. Dont visit too many web pages with white backgrounds and the battery will last longer.

    Its no big deal....

  • Pavel Says:

    The thing you really need to do the next - use the photometer to register the REAL luminosity per some size of each device, then change the brightness to get them EQUIVALENT and THEN do the same or any other experiments on battery life. Instead, the result is too speculative.

  • Droid X = Man Phone Says:

    Cry me a river Samy Fanboys. Its not their fault that the Droid X turned out to be the best. It has a better battery, a non overrated display, and a great OMAP processor. Each phone has and implements their own perks. I find the test moderate and a great header.

  • Milind Says:

    @Space Gorilla
    "The Droidbot’s heads are already exploding after seeing these test results with Flash off. But wait! I get 28 hours battery life on my INSERT ANDROID DEVICE, your tests can’t possibly be accurate! Imagine a battery test with Flash on and some of these devices last for only a couple hours. What then?"

    Then - Nothing. If I can get 28 hours battery life on my device with my usage, why should I care how long it lasts under any test condition? My Vibrant almost lasts the entire day on a charge, but not always and I have a battery charger at my home, in the car and at works. So it's not a big deal. I'd love to see battery technology improve so I wouldn't have to do that. But I think if I can get a day's worth of usage, I'd be happy.

  • John Brown Says:

    @mike prospero: my settings app DOES NOT override browser brightness settings.
    The test was just not fair to galaxy phones since they probably were in full brightness.

  • TJ Says:

    ITT: alot of butthurt AMOLED device users.

    People, this test is perfectly fair. Stop spitting out random babble in an immature attempt to defend your device. It is what it is. No one cares if Device A gets worse battery life than Device B so long as YOU ENJOY DEVICE A!!!!!

    Stop crying and just enjoy your phones jeez...

  • James Says:

    Funny how there is no comparison to the iPhone 4 that is still flying off the shelf?

  • orgreeno Says:

    I've got a Samsung Galaxy S and I can confirm it has a short battery life. I came from a 3gs and was shocked at the difference. I'll try Battery Manager (or Juice Defender or Advanced Task Killer) and see if it makes a difference. Has anyone tried these on the Galaxy?

  • Nedjo Says:

    Only way to make this test relevant is to run it on old (AMOLED) and new (TFT) HTC Desire!
    Make app public so that these guys can make tests:

  • Avid2000 Says:

    This test is flawed because it's not *real world* based. I spent a week using the DroidX, EVO 4G and Captivate in the real world (browsed the web, made and received phone calls, sent text message, listened to music, etc) and my results are completely different.

    The Samsung Captivate's battery lasts 2 to 3 times longer than the DroidX and 5 to 6 times longer than the EVO. Again, that's in the real world, not some silly test where the phones aren't doing anything except burning displays.

  • Avram Piltch Says:

    @Steve, we may try removing that site, but during our testing of mobile Flash, we found other sites with Flash ads or elements that caused slow or inconsistent loading (see my article on Flash issues) so to be on the safe side, we disabled it. We may try again with Flash on.

  • Steve Says:

    "The reason why we turned Flash off was that one of the sites in the test list ( autoplays a flash video on its home page. During one run of the test, this flash video caused the test to crash in the middle. So we disabled Flash to ensure that the test completes."

    So why not remove that site from the list and rerun the tests with Flash on?

  • Paul Eccles Says:

    I prefer tests which are real-world based. Anandtech does a good job. They do a 2G talk time test, a 3G talk time test, a Wifi browsing test, a 3G browsing test, and a test of H.264 video playback.

    I noticed the motorola's do well in his tests as well, as does the iPhone.

  • James Kendrick Says:

    The Droid X and Droid 2 have an app running called "Battery Manager". This app monitors system usage and adjusts settings on the fly to continually maximize battery life. Looks like it works really well, given the Droid's hardware is not that different.

  • Thor Says:

    "During one run of the test, this flash video caused the test to crash in the middle. So we disabled Flash to ensure that the test completes."

    No, that can't be. Just last week on this site, Android fans insisted that Flash runs perfectly.

  • Derick Says:

    @Mike Prospero - It's actually the other way around... the brightness setting in the browser overrides the main brightness setting on the Galaxy S.

  • Avram Piltch Says:

    The reason why we turned Flash off was that one of the sites in the test list ( autoplays a flash video on its home page. During one run of the test, this flash video caused the test to crash in the middle. So we disabled Flash to ensure that the test completes.

  • NeoteriX Says:

    Avram and Mike,

    I applaud your efforts to take a step forward in objectively measuring battery performance on Android/mobile devices. While not perfect, I think it is a solid starting point, especially when the overwhelming observations about battery life approach more hoodoo voodoo than objective science. Naysayers will attempt to criticize methodology when their favored device performs more poorly than expected.

    I do have one question -- why was 3G chosen instead of wifi? I recognize that 3G more accurately represents real-world usage (this is likely your reason), wifi is probably something a little more controllable and repeatable. Phones can be placed similar distances from a wifi router, standardizing the amount of antenna power transmitting data. Even ensuring that 3G signals are at four bars overlooks the lack of standards when measuring bars (see iPhone 4 fiasco) and the range of signal differences within a bar.

    I will also note that the Lux meter would improve the methodology, but is definitely more of a pain in the ass. I accept the 40% solution to be a valid compromise, although standardized light output would certainly be better.

  • Fredrik Olsson Says:

    I would like to see these settings with factory fresh phones. Just unbox them, setup a default user, charge the battery and test.

    That should more accurately reflect actual user experience.

  • Space Gorilla Says:

    Interesting that you turned Flash off. I'd like to see what Flash does to battery life. I'm sure it's not good. The Droidbot's heads are already exploding after seeing these test results with Flash off. But wait! I get 28 hours battery life on my INSERT ANDROID DEVICE, your tests can't possibly be accurate! Imagine a battery test with Flash on and some of these devices last for only a couple hours. What then?

  • pk de cville Says:

    Would love to see the test redone with:

    Flash enabled

    Task Killer Removed

    And add the 2 iPhone 4s to the testing.


  • Mike Prospero Says:

    @ David Sifry - I took the screen shot after running the test.
    @ Dakin80 - As we mentioned, our battery test is a script that opens a browser for 60 seconds, then closes it, then reopens the browser. So, during a given period of time, the Incredible would chew through the same number of web sites as the Droid X.
    Using My Settings, we turned off syncing, so that updates weren't installed, etc. Also, the speaker is turned off as well.
    @ John Brown - I believe that My Settings also overrides the brightness setting in the browser on Galaxy phones. And, I recall from just looking at the phones while they were running the tests, that their brightness didn't change.
    @ bhelit - We will test the Nexus One and update the chart with the results.

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