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Apple iPhone 5s battery life test completed: beats Galaxy S4 and Nexus 5, but far from perfect

Posted: , by Victor H.

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Apple iPhone 5s battery life test completed: beats Galaxy S4 and Nexus 5, but far from perfect
The Apple iPhone 5s battery life is a topic of heated debate, but how good is it really? Is the iPhone 5s battery better than that of the iPhone 5, or has it actually gotten worse? We at PhoneArena have developed a custom-designed battery life test that puts a device through its paces in a way similar to the way an average real person would use it.

Good news is that the iPhone 5s has a slightly but noticeably improved battery life compared to last year's iPhone 5. The iPhone 5s scored a respectable 5 hours and 2 minutes. That’s exactly the time you should expect your phone to last if you use it non-stop, the way you usually would.

However, in real life - thank god - we don’t stay glued to our phone screen all the time and when you are not using your phone it’s using much less energy. In our personal experience with the iPhone 5s we have noticed that under heavy use and on a 4G LTE network, the phone manages to last a full day even under heavier use. This means you have to charge it daily. If however you use your device very scarcely, have strong signal and are not on a 4G LTE network, you could easily get two days between charges.

How does that compare to other devices? Interestingly, the iPhone 5s lasts more than some of its direct rivals like the Samsung Galaxy S4. It falls short of other competitors, though, like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, the LG G2 and the HTC One, all of which last longer. We’d say that Apple has nailed a good balance with a phone that keeps reasonably good looks and a small battery, yet lasts an above average (but not outstanding) amount of time.

Here are some basic facts about the iPhone 5s Li-Ion battery and how it compares to the batteries in earlier generations of iPhones.

Apple iPhone 5s battery, image courtesy of iFixit.

Apple iPhone 5s battery, image courtesy of iFixit.

As for our battery test, we use a simulation of real-life usage. A smartphone nowadays is used for much more than calling and texting, so we had to take this into account. The average smartphone user actually spends most of the time on the web and social media, and you might be surprised that this average Joe of a user actually listens to music and plays games more than he talks! To get a better understanding of that average use, feel free to take a look at the top activities we do on our smartphones.

Finally, here are two tips to help you get the most juice out of your iPhone. First and most influential tip is to try and keep brightness at the lowest possible level. It’s the screen that consumes the most power! And second, make sure to go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh and disable apps there as they may run in the background without you noticing and drain your battery. For more battery advices, check out our smartphone battery life tips and tricks.

Apple iPhone 5s battery test results

We measure battery life by running a custom web-script, designed to replicate the power consumption of typical real-life usage. All devices that go through the test have their displays set at 200-nit brightness.

Higher is better
Sony Xperia Z1
4h 43 min (Poor)
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
6h 8 min (Average)
6h 48 min (Average)
5h 45 min (Average)
Samsung Galaxy S4
4h 59 min (Poor)
Apple iPhone 4s
5h 4 min (Poor)
Apple iPhone 5
4h 22 min (Poor)
Apple iPhone 5s
5h 2 min (Poor)
View all

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posted on 23 Dec 2013, 10:46 8

1. N-fanboy (Posts: 543; Member since: 12 Jan 2013)

I do wish the lumia 1520 gets in such comparisons. But how weired that the 5s out lasts the s4.

posted on 23 Dec 2013, 11:09 9

9. MojoDojo (Posts: 102; Member since: 11 Jul 2013)

Me too, Gsmarena said about the Lumia 1520s battery life "Yes, it is the best score we’ve encountered so far"


posted on 23 Dec 2013, 11:33 7

12. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4888; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)

Wow the phones with huge screens get better battery life than the very, very small iPhone 4s...

posted on 23 Dec 2013, 11:42 12

17. ihavenoname (Posts: 1693; Member since: 18 Aug 2013)

They have also huge batteries...

posted on 23 Dec 2013, 12:13 1

25. flynfree (Posts: 374; Member since: 09 Jun 2013)

Just three minutes, and to know that you have removable battery, and sd expansion, how about that!?

posted on 23 Dec 2013, 12:53

29. sprockkets (Posts: 1611; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)

Huh? Nokia 1520 doesn't have a removable battery. In fact, the only lumia I know of that does is the cheap 520/521 and prob by ext the 525.

posted on 23 Dec 2013, 13:01 2

30. flynfree (Posts: 374; Member since: 09 Jun 2013)

I'm talking about sgs4, not Nokia,and that comment belong to n-fanboy. Merry Christmas to all!!!

posted on 24 Dec 2013, 00:27

59. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

I believe the 710, 810, 820, 822, 620, and 625 also feature removable batteries. The 9xx and 1xxx series do not, and I believe the 720 also does not.

posted on 24 Dec 2013, 01:27 1

60. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)

They also charge you less than Apple does for the bigger batteries......

So not only is the battery life worse on Apple products, they give you a smaller screen and battery for a much higher price. I don't give a s**t if they have a smaller battery. They also have a less power hungry screen and OS and they charge you more.

But who cares about the details. Bottom line is that those phones have better battery life and they cost less. Who cares if they had to use a bigger battery to achieve it? They are charging you less.

posted on 29 Dec 2013, 09:53

80. gallitoking (Posts: 4721; Member since: 17 May 2011)

if that is how you measure a phone I feel sorry for you.. if you are going to talk s&^t about a company at least do minor research so you wont look like a fool...

posted on 23 Dec 2013, 10:54 6

2. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)

Not bad at all.

posted on 23 Dec 2013, 10:56 4

3. alterecho (Posts: 1098; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)

Wow @ G2
Also, the iPhone 5S' improvement over 5 is great.

posted on 23 Dec 2013, 15:02 1

43. Lauticol (Posts: 364; Member since: 25 Jun 2011)

Add the HTC One Max and see

posted on 25 Dec 2013, 22:34

71. Finalflash (Posts: 3433; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)

Well most of that is from cheating since the iPhone 5 had a screen about 10% brighter than the 5s. So that is at least how they get most of the difference. People don't test the phone at the same brightness level but percentage and so both phones at 50% brightness would have the 5 doing for work than the 5s.

posted on 13 Jan 2014, 18:41

86. bigstrudel (Posts: 523; Member since: 20 Aug 2012)

Like the Galaxy S brands insanely dim AMOLED screens?

posted on 23 Dec 2013, 10:56

4. enthasuium (Posts: 138; Member since: 21 Nov 2013)

fake ,,,,pls correct

posted on 23 Dec 2013, 11:05 1

6. nerdylish (Posts: 51; Member since: 13 Apr 2013)

How do you know it's fake?

posted on 23 Dec 2013, 11:02 1

5. enthasuium (Posts: 138; Member since: 21 Nov 2013)

PLS, this script is not correct. Add galaxy core(midrange device) ,, it scores more than 5s and others. this test is a fake

posted on 23 Dec 2013, 11:07 4

7. saurik (Posts: 86; Member since: 13 May 2013)

I know that feel, bro..

posted on 23 Dec 2013, 11:37 3

14. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4275; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)

The Galaxy Core has a much lower resolution display, a much less energy consuming processor (Cortex A5), and a larger battery, of course it's going to score higher.

posted on 23 Dec 2013, 12:09 3

23. bucky (Posts: 3033; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)

I'm pretty sure this is for top end devices...

posted on 23 Dec 2013, 12:50 2

28. remixfa (Posts: 14597; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

those old processors actually use MORE juice than the new ones for many tasks because they are built on much bigger die casts. Bigger = more power consuming.

posted on 23 Dec 2013, 13:21 1

31. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4275; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)


"The ARM Cortex-A5 processor is the smallest, lowest cost and lowest power ARMv7 application processor"

The A7 is using a 28nm process, but the Cyclone cores consume a lot more power despite that.

posted on 23 Dec 2013, 13:35 4

32. Pancholo (Posts: 380; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)

Derp. This is for high-end devices.

Butthurt gonna butthurt.

posted on 23 Dec 2013, 14:53 1

41. Leo_MC (Posts: 2296; Member since: 02 Dec 2011)

Yes, and a Nokia 1100.

posted on 23 Dec 2013, 20:10

54. taikucing (unregistered)

Not fake, because A7 CPU is clocked at 1.3 GHz. No wonder it's energy efficient.

posted on 23 Dec 2013, 20:22

55. taikucing (unregistered)

It depends on the design of transistors too. If there's a flaw in the design, it can cause "leak current" which leads to higher power consumption.

posted on 23 Dec 2013, 22:49

56. JakeLee (banned) (Posts: 1021; Member since: 02 Nov 2013)

I'm getting really tired of this : someone invents a story just to bash Apple and many fans simply want to believe this.

CA5 and CA7 aren't the older ones but heavily toned down ones of their counterparts CA9/15 in favor of smaller size, reduced power consumption, and much lower costs.

They all lack the most advanced enhancements like superscalar and out-of-order execution.
They behave just like the 10 years old ARMv5 with the ISA of ARMv7.

posted on 23 Dec 2013, 23:05

57. JakeLee (banned) (Posts: 1021; Member since: 02 Nov 2013)

And a much lower review score as well - IF it gets reviewed at all.
Let's focus on flagships and sorts like, because phones like Galaxy Core are simply in a wrong place here.

posted on 24 Dec 2013, 07:42

63. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4275; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)

I know that. I wasn't directly comparing the Core and the 5S, I was explaining why it would have better battery life. Just because it has better battery life doesn't make it a better device, though, they're in completely different classes. I would rather have a 5S than any low end or mid range Android device (even some of the high end ones), despite battery life.

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