Is smartphone battery life getting better or not?

Review

Are we finally getting better battery life?
Is smartphone battery life getting better or not?

Feel like batteries in smartphones haven’t got better in years? To see how the newest and best phones of 2014 compare to the classics of 2011, we compare the battery life of the brand new HTC One M8 to one of HTC’s older smartphones, the HTC Sensation XL, which was released in November 2011.

CALL TIME

We put a SIM in each of the phones, and made them call each other. OK so it wasn’t the most exciting phone call in history, but it did tell us that the new HTC One M8 can last over twice as long as the old Sensation XL.

AFTER A 30 MINUTE PHONE CALL
HTC ONE M8 97%
HTC SENSATION XL 94%

LOOKING AT WEBSITES

If you get a smartphone, you’ll probably want to use it to browse the web fairly often. So we logged onto the office Wi-Fi, sat back and caught up with the technology news. In this test the XL again burned twice as much power as the One M8.

AFTER 30 MINUTES OF WEB BROWSING
HTC ONE M8 92%
HTC SENSATION XL 84%

WATCHING VIDEOS

Both of these phones have large screens, the One M8 at 5” and the Sensation XL at 4.7”. This makes them great for watching videos. So we loaded on an episode of Breaking Bad (what else?) and ogled the screens excitedly. The old phone again found it touch going.

AFTER 50 MINUTES OF VIDEO WATCHING
HTC ONE M8 85%
HTC SENSATION XL 71%

STANDBY TIME

Once we were finished playing around with videos, we set the phones down, and played with all the other gadgets in the office and gave these two a rest. Phones spend a long time asleep in standby mode, so while it’s no fun, it’s important to see how they fare. Here are the results.

AFTER 10 HOURS IN STANDBY MODE
HTC ONE M8 78%
HTC SENSATION XL 61%

THE FINAL RESULT

The old phone was beaten pretty convincingly when it comes to battery life, despite the newer HTC phone having much more processing power and a larger, brighter and higher resolution screen.

When making calls the HTC One M8 lasts twice as long as smartphones did three years ago. It’s the same story when it comes to looking at webpages and playing videos.

The only test where the gap wasn’t so big was when the phones were asleep in standby mode, and even then, the One M8 used less power.

The HTC Sensation XL had a great battery life for a smartphone when it first came out. But our test reveals that smartphones in 2014 last almost twice as long as the best of a few years ago.

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