It's 2018 and the best smartphones out there still have a pretty embarrassing battery life

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
It's 2018 and the best smartphones out there still have a pretty embarrassing battery life
Samsung is just about to launch its new Galaxy Note 9 and it has already teased that the "big" battery of the phone will be one of its most advertized new features. How big is that battery, you wonder? The expectations are for a 4,000mAh battery cell, significantly bigger than the 3,300mAh battery on the current Note 8. And that's a great thing.

Battery life is probably the most commonly cited concern of smartphone users and improving that would be a huge positive step for the user experience.

Yet, despite these positive changes, we are perplexed at the general unwillingness of phone makers to push the envelope when it comes to top-tier phones and battery life.


Let us clarify: just a couple of years ago, a couple of 5.5-inch phones were available with a 5,000mAh+ battery and with a frugal chip inside, they could last as much as three days on a single charge (hello there, Lenovo P2). These days, the Moto E5 Plus shows that it is absolutely possible to cram in a 5,000mAh battery in a contemporary phone. Using those affordable phones with their sub-par cameras is not a dream-come-true, but their battery life experience is transformative.

And casting doubts aside, if you look at the battery life tests on these devices, they all confirm that a bigger capacity of the battery absolutely results in a much improved battery life.

You might think that such a big battery would make them too big and too bulky, but a quick look down memory lane shows that the 2016 Lenovo P2 with its 5,100mAh battery cell was about as thin as other modern flagship phones.

Lenovo P2

Lenovo P2

Dimensions

6.02 x 2.99 x 0.33 inches

153 x 76 x 8.3 mm

Weight

6.24 oz (177 g)

Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium

Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium

Dimensions

6.22 x 3.15 x 0.47 inches

158 x 80 x 11.9 mm

Weight

8.32 oz (236 g)

Samsung Galaxy S9+

Samsung Galaxy S9+

Dimensions

6.22 x 2.91 x 0.33 inches

158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5 mm

Weight

6.67 oz (189 g)

Google Pixel 2 XL

Google Pixel 2 XL

Dimensions

6.22 x 3.02 x 0.31 inches

157.9 x 76.7 x 7.9 mm

Weight

6.17 oz (175 g)

Lenovo P2

Lenovo P2

Dimensions

6.02 x 2.99 x 0.33 inches

153 x 76 x 8.3 mm

Weight

6.24 oz (177 g)

Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium

Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium

Dimensions

6.22 x 3.15 x 0.47 inches

158 x 80 x 11.9 mm

Weight

8.32 oz (236 g)

Samsung Galaxy S9+

Samsung Galaxy S9+

Dimensions

6.22 x 2.91 x 0.33 inches

158.1 x 73.8 x 8.5 mm

Weight

6.67 oz (189 g)

Google Pixel 2 XL

Google Pixel 2 XL

Dimensions

6.22 x 3.02 x 0.31 inches

157.9 x 76.7 x 7.9 mm

Weight

6.17 oz (175 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page



In fact, when you compare it to the Samsung Galaxy S9+, you notice that the S9+ is actually a bit thicker, but only has a 3,500mAh battery inside it, nearly 50% smaller.

So... why are we not getting flagship phones with a 5,000mAh battery?

Instead, here is a quick run-down of the most popular phones currently and their battery capacity:


And here is a comparison between these top-tier phones and the 2016 cheap Lenovo P2 in terms of battery life:

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.

hours Higher is better
Lenovo P2
11h 44 min (Excellent)
Apple iPhone X
8h 41 min (Excellent)
Samsung Galaxy S9
7h 23 min (Good)
Samsung Galaxy S9+
8h 5 min (Excellent)
Google Pixel 2
8h 40 min (Excellent)
Google Pixel 2 XL
8h 57 min (Excellent)
LG G7 ThinQ
6h 32 min (Average)
OnePlus 6
8h 10 min (Excellent)

Final Words


It's obvious that it should be technically possible to include a much bigger battery in all of these phones without much of a hit on the actual size of the devices.

With devices like the Huawei P20 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, phone makers show that they are finally willing to reconsider priorities. We for once hope this push towards bigger batteries will happen sooner rather than later. After all, it's a bit embarrassing to be afraid that your phone's battery won't last you the day if go out with friends after work. It's also a bit embarrassing to have to carry a bunch of battery packs in 2018, don't you think?

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61 Comments

1. j_grouchy

Posts: 180; Member since: Nov 08, 2016

What's embarrassing is that it took you guys this long to write this article. I've been saying this for years. My cheap-ass LeEco LePro3 lasted two full days on a charge and was quite powerful. Granted, a small splash of liquid killed it...but otherwise I would have still been using it.

57. Fellwalker

Posts: 538; Member since: Apr 04, 2014

Absolutely. Phone Arena in common with most sites has been embarrassingly quiet about poor battery life. They even lauded fast charge as an acceptable, even preferable, alternative.

2. emadzarenazari

Posts: 8; Member since: Mar 16, 2018

iPhone X's battery life sucks! I have to charge it twice a day

9. mahima

Posts: 738; Member since: Nov 20, 2014

iphone always wins in phonearena battery test but not in real life usage

55. Valdomero

Posts: 695; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

iPhones excel in standby time, SOT differs greatly on how you use the device, gaming for instance drains battery life the most.

3. T12RYK

Posts: 849; Member since: Jun 10, 2011

iPhone beat out all Samsung phones even though they have a bigger battery. Get rid of Samsung hot trash devices. #Apple

4. cmdacos

Posts: 4247; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Half capable device lasts longer? Imagine that...

5. T12RYK

Posts: 849; Member since: Jun 10, 2011

Aww - Don't be jealous. Samsung crams in battery draining features that no one uses and CrapDriod fans glee with excitement.

8. apple-rulz

Posts: 2163; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

Everyone needs 4K live lockscreen wallpaper!

20. sissy246

Posts: 7124; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Speak for your self DA troll. You don't like it don't buy it. Now go back to your basement and play.

50. T12RYK

Posts: 849; Member since: Jun 10, 2011

Don't knock the basement till you've tried is kiddo. Also no one in their right mind would buy it! #Trolling

54. perry1234

Posts: 647; Member since: Aug 14, 2012

Comment of the day. Unfortunately no option of giving multiple thumbs-up.

64. T12RYK

Posts: 849; Member since: Jun 10, 2011

I know. My comments are just amazing!

17. TheOracle1

Posts: 2324; Member since: May 04, 2015

If you want real battery stats use GSMArena's numbers. Phonearena have a notoriously bad battery test that seems to always skew towards excellent numbers for iPhones. They even have the Mate 10 Pro ranked higher than the Lenovo P2 which is nonsense. The iPhone X is a good phone in many ways but battery wise the S8 and S9 blow it away in real life.

40. cmdacos

Posts: 4247; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Not just GSM arena. Check any other source

19. Papa_Ji

Posts: 855; Member since: Jun 27, 2016

https://www.gsmarena.com/battery-test.php3 See where your CrapX lies.... way below every android flagship... S9/9+ >>>>> crapX

21. skyline88

Posts: 698; Member since: Jul 15, 2013

your i-dumbphone last longer than actual smartphone? not surprising.

63. Serious85

Posts: 19; Member since: May 23, 2017

I don't like Samsung either, but Apple is an expensive good for nothing piece of s... That UI is a joke when it comes to productivity and multitasking, ok more stable with less lagg but that's all? The X is the first iPhone that catch my attention after the 4s but for that price.... fu.k themselves.

6. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3145; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

People want wafer-thin phones with no bezels, 8 GB RAM, 2 TB storage, 5G modem, SD850 or above CPU and a battery that lasts for 2 days while playing Pokemon all day with streaming music in the background. To top it all off, they want to spend no more than $400 for it. Here's a thought, go to school and get the education you need to make this happen. Current technology doesn't exist yet, it's waiting for the next Einstein or Oppenheimer.

14. TheOracle1

Posts: 2324; Member since: May 04, 2015

You just described the Mate 10 and Mi Mix 2 actually.

25. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3145; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

What, in battery life maybe? Neither carries anywhere close to those specs. If you want to cherry-pick stats I can throw in the KeyONE which smokes all current smartphones in battery life.

32. TheOracle1

Posts: 2324; Member since: May 04, 2015

Wrong and wrong. They're actually both very, very close to those specs apart from 2tb of storage and 5G. As for the KeyOne, I suggest you check GSMArena for the facts. The KeyOne isn't even in the top 50.

39. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3145; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

Almost is for horseshoes and hand grenades. Neither has 8GB of RAM and neither has the top-end Snapdragon. Add the storage and modem and you're not even in the same ballpark. Thanks for playing.

41. chenski

Posts: 773; Member since: Mar 22, 2015

In many cases almost is more than good enough, gg

47. TheOracle1

Posts: 2324; Member since: May 04, 2015

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S specs: 8GB 256GB Snapdragon 845. Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 specs: 8GB 128GB Snapdragon 835. Ignorance is bliss. Do some research before you talk out of your a$$.

7. supracer

Posts: 26; Member since: Jul 21, 2015

Just add the mate 10 pro to the comparison and see this beast! I'm loving this phone!!

10. isprobi

Posts: 797; Member since: May 30, 2011

I care more about battery life than a thin phone and my Razer with 4,000 mAh battery easily lasts through a day and if I fall asleep without charging it I can still use it in the morning.

11. Poptart2828

Posts: 418; Member since: Jan 23, 2018

Problem is, phone arena is only including whatever garbage phone is sold in the US. Majority of phones made for the US are made to break down fast so an upgrade is unavoidable. Why add longevity to the phone with a huge battery when manufacturers want you to upgrade at any cost. I've tested this theory for my own amusement.

12. NarutoKage14

Posts: 1326; Member since: Aug 31, 2016

We need phones with 10k-20k mha batteries.

13. jove39

Posts: 2147; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Start excellent rating at 10h. Good at 8h.

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