Editorials

Don’t buy upcoming phone battery life claims

Looking at upcoming phones, and previous phones claims before they were released and slightly after, there’s always the claim of amazing battery life. Lemme tell you something that someone said to me once that I’ll never forget – if you don’t have anything on your phone and it’s doing nothing, the battery life is astounding.

I’m on my third phone that claimed “all day battery.” I mean, it is as long as you don’t use it all day. That’s the problem and it’s a real issue with reviewers. Reviewers get in a new device, test a phone out with next to nothing on it, in ideal situations, and bam – claim amazing battery life. Go out, take 40 photos side by side with their personal non-review phone.

Three months down the road if they have that device still, when they’ve got all their software installed and are getting 27 push notifications a minute the luster starts to wear off and reality sets in. Reviewers move on to the next phone and are astounded that it lasts all day… rinse, repeat, wipe hands on pants. Articles such as “users noting diminished battery life after updates..” tend to generally be more that the users are realizing that now they’ve got a device jam packed with apps it’s actually using battery.

I’m looking at the S23 reviews that the battery life is phenomenal, the Pixel 7 that the battery life is phenomenal… custom ROM reviews that claim the battery life is phenomenal… you get where I’m going. In most if not all cases it’s a new phone and it’s not got all 227 random apps registered and getting garbage push notifications and they’re not actually using the phone as a primary in most cases if it’s pre-release.

Also let me postulate – a phone has to be returned is a phone that I suspect very few reviewers are spending 18 hours setting up all their junk on and living with and depending on.

Battery life is best measured with data points involving screen on time, brightness, data transmitted, signal strength, ambient temperature, CPU usage, eggplant emojis, camera usage, etc… basically everything takes power and without a replicable test these “feels like” reviews are useless. Oh, your phone can run with the screen off for 13 hours on nothing but hummingbird farts? How long with the screen on? What? Your grandmother who never uses the phone got three days of battery before it died? Astounding!

Every thing a phone does consumes power. Put your phone in airplane mode and turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and don’t turn the screen on. I had an HTC EVO run for weeks without a recharge sitting there doing nothing. I can claim and prove (possibly,) that a 15 year old phone lasted longer than current phones are claiming but it’s not a valid result.

Until you see a review that says exactly how they tested the battery life – EG: screen on white full intensity for an hour = drain of x% battery, screen off transmitted 20tb data over band Y with signal strength X, gave to a baby with YouTube Kids / ran for 9 hours of Wi-Fi, etc… these feelsie battery claims are bunk an consumers will be disappointed.

My Pixel 7 Pro lasts all day… as long as that day is defined from 6am-9:30pm. However my day on the phone generally (playing my games, readin’ my papers,) starts at 8pm and by 10pm I’m getting low battery notifications. If I started the day with those I’m looking at a phone that’s mostly discharged by 11am or so.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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