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Galaxy S5 scores amazing on our battery life test: the longest-lasting flagship has the endurance of a tablet

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Are you sitting down? You'd better be, as we have a new king of our battery life test, and it is none other than Samsung's Galaxy S5. It managed the whopping 7 hours and 38 minutes of screen-on time in our grueling battery endurance run, which is the best result we've seen so far from any flagship. It actually stopped just a few minutes shy of the Xperia C, or it would have been the phone with the longest battery life we've ever tested. For comparison, it closes in on the most enduring device we've measured - the Galaxy NotePROiPad Air, and iPad mini 2, but those are tablets, with the respective gigantic battery capacities.

During the phone's unveiling event, Samsung promised up to 10 hours of Internet browsing, 12 hours of HD movie watching, or 21 hours of 3G talk time on a charge, and we can attest that the Galaxy S5 meets and exceeds those promises. Manufacturers, as well as most third party services, measure battery life with the screens set at about 150 nits of brightness, while our routine script is run at 200 nits, and features mixed browsing and media display patterns. Those include a lot of white background, too, which AMOLED screens draw the most power to display, and still the S5 managed to break the flagship record. How has Samsung done this, though?

The notable thing with the Galaxy S5 is that it breaks the flagship record with "only" a 2800 mAh battery, surpassing even phablets with their huge 3000+ mAh juicers. Thus, there must be more at play than capacity alone here, and Samsung might have utilized additional battery-saving techniques for the first time in the S5.

Remember LucidLogix's battery-saving optimizations that we wrote about not long ago? At the time we mentioned that Samsung has inked a deal for implementing the PowerXtend battery-saving algorithms in a yet-unknown device. Well, that mystery handset turns out to be none other than the Galaxy S5 flagship. The PowerXtend suite comprises of three proprietary algorithms, called WebXtend, NavXtend, and GameXtend. All of them rely on better hardware management and load-balancing that are supposed to extend the battery life on Android devices. GameXtend is the most interesting here, as it allows up to 50% better battery longevity, while NavXtend and WebXtend promise up to 25% savings. Despite that these are software algorithms, they have to be implemented at a system level by the manufacturer itself, which is precisely what Samsung has done with the S5. In that case, Lucid's PowerXtend implementation might be the culprit behind the jaw-dropping battery life stats that Samsung promises for the Galaxy S5, and which we can now confirm to be entirely true, as you can see in the graph below. We only hope that other Android phone makers will adopt the tech, too, as battery life is the thing users want to see improved in their smartphones the most.

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
Motorola Moto G
7h 12 min (Average)
Google Nexus 5
4h 50 min (Poor)
HTC One max
7h 27 min (Average)
OPPO N1
8h 6 min (Average)
Alcatel OneTouch Hero
8h 11 min (Average)
LG G2
6h 48 min (Average)
Sony Xperia Z1
4h 43 min (Poor)
HTC One (M8)
7h 12 min (Average)
Sony Xperia C
8h 44 min (Good)
Apple iPad Air
8h 38 min (Good)
Samsung Galaxy NotePRO 12.2
8h 58 min (Good)
Samsung Galaxy S5
7h 38 min (Average)

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Story timeline
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    13 November Our Google Nexus 6 battery life test is complete, phablet lags behind the Note 4 As it turns out, this is the first Nexus device to achieve an excellent battery life on our custom test, or, all told – 7 hours and 53 minutes. Unfortunately, while this is a pretty great score overall, it does fall behind other recent QHD juggernauts, like the Galaxy Note 4 and the DROID Turbo, both of which fared better (8 hours 43 minutes and 10 hours 42 minutes, respectively)...
  • Step aside, Sony Xperia Z3, the Motorola DROID Turbo is the new king of flagship battery life
    31 October Step aside, Sony Xperia Z3, the Motorola DROID Turbo is the new king of flagship battery life Get a hold of this, folks – Motorola's insanely spec'd out new flagship clocked the amazing 10 hours and 43 minutes on our trying battery life test – more than then any other high-end model we've tested, ever. In fact, the only two devices that are even more resilient are the ZTE Max and the Huawei Ascend Mate 2, both of which are significantly less decked out. This puts the DROID Turbo ahead of the Xperia Z3 (9 hours 29 minutes) and even the Xperia Z3 Compact (10 hours 2 minute). What's more, this results gives the Turbo a solid lead on other Quad HD smartphones, like the Note 4 (8 hours 43 minutes) and the LG G3 (6 hours 14 minutes)...
  • Apple iPad Air 2 battery life test: shorter battery life despite Apple’s claims
    27 October Apple iPad Air 2 battery life test: shorter battery life despite Apple’s claims Apple has gained a lot of bragging rights with the iPad Air 2: it’s the world’s thinnest tablet, and at that - one of the lightest - plus, all of this without compromising on performance…
  • Surprise, surprise! The Note 4 defies expectations by acing our battery life test, becomes the longest-lasting QHD phone
    10 October Surprise, surprise! The Note 4 defies expectations by acing our battery life test, becomes the longest-lasting QHD phone When Samsung execs took up to the stage during the company's Galaxy Note 4 announcement event and made it clear that the Galaxy Note 4 will not come with a significantly larger battery, we were a bit worried. After all, a Quad HD display is pretty much guaranteed to require more out of the battery, and we had proof -- just look at the LG G3 and Oppo Find 7. Neither of those had horrid endurance, but they weren't exactly industry-leading, either...
  • Our Meizu MX4 battery life test is complete: ties with the Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8
    2 October Our Meizu MX4 battery life test is complete: ties with the Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8 Meizu isn't exactly a household name in the West, but in its homeland of China, it very much is. The company has been involved in the smartphone business for a while now, and its latest flagship, the MX4, is quite promising -- the phone is spec'd out to the brim, more or less.[img right gallery4 200 [[142028,142030,142029]] /] What we were particularly interested in, however, was its 3100 mAh Li-Polymer battery and how well it will handle our stressful battery life test...

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Samsung Galaxy S5 specs
  • Display 5.1 inches 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP (Single camera) 2.1 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 2GB RAM
  • Storage 32GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 2800 mAh
  • OS Android 6.0 Marshmallow Samsung TouchWiz UI

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