Smartphones are getting bigger, faster and more useful. But are the batteries getting any better? I took the Samsung Galaxy S5, Sony Xperia Z2 and HTC One (M8) on a 24 hours road test to see if the top new smartphones could keep going as long as I could.
10am – Time for the testing to start. I unplugged the phones and switched them on with the batteries at 100%.
10:17am – I got the day off to an active start with this 7 Minute Workout app, a really handy personal trainer. The quick workout, which gives you video instructions, took a toll on the batteries.
11:20am – Next I tried out gaming on the phones. I loaded up Plants vs Zombies 2 and played for 10 minutes. By the end of the game the Samsung’s battery had caught up with the other phones.
14:55pm – I left the phones alone over lunch, which gave me a chance to see how efficient they are on standby. Here the Sony really stood out, losing just 1% charge in three and a half hours.
15:55pm – Next I checked how the batteries cope using 4G mobile internet. I caught up on an episode of EastEnders on BBC iPlayer while on the bus into town (which looked odd as I was playing it on three phones at the same time), so it was handy I had a big 4G data allowance. The Galaxy S5 did really well with this test.
18:10pm – Then I decided to use the Amazon Kindle app for an hour, thinking that the white pages might take a heavy toll on the batteries. Amazingly, they all coped well with producing a very bright screen.
19:10pm – Then I went into London for dinner, so I spent 20 minutes checking Facebook and browsing the web on the train. All of the batteries coped well with constantly loading web pages.
19:30pm – Once I was off the train, I had to find the restaurant. So I spent 15 minutes navigating to it on Google Maps. Amazingly, using 4G and GPS at the same time had no effect on the Samsung battery.
19:35pm – When I got to the restaurant, I tried to get hold of a friend who was meeting me. I sent and received a few texts and made a short phone call with each phone.
21:05pm – When I was waiting for the bus home, I played a 2048 number puzzle for 5 minutes. The Sony didn’t lose any battery from doing this, giving it a big lead over the others.
22:10pm – At home, I streamed Spotify for an hour, playing it through the speakers. The One (M8) used a lot of battery to power, probably because its BoomSound speakers are so good.
8:40am – The next morning, after 10 and a half hours of standby, the HTC’s battery was noticeably lower than the other phones.
At 10am, after 24 hours of using the three phones for the exact same things, it was obvious that the Sony Xperia Z2 had the best battery life.
So it looks like the average user could get up to three days battery life from the Sony Xperia Z2, up to two and a half days from the Samsung Galaxy S5 and almost two days from the HTC One (M8). That means even the phone with the worst battery life in this test would still keep going a lot longer than any flagship smartphone we’ve seen before