Our Nexus 5 battery life test is ready, Grumpy Cat is not impressed

Our Nexus 5 battery life test is ready, Grumpy Cat is not impressed
We know you can't wait for a battery rundown of the Nexus 5, and we made one as soon as we had a chance, with pretty foretold results. Google's Nexus 5 skimps on a few things to get to that juicy $350 price point without subsidies, and perhaps the most major one is its 2300 mAh battery capacity.

A brand new Nexus 5 with broken-in battery lasted 4 hours and 50 minutes on our standardized test, where the phones are running a taxing custom script with screens set at the same 200 nits brightness level. The results are in the ballpark of the Xperia Z1, iPhone 5s and Galaxy S4, but the Nexus 5 endurance is a far cry from the excellent 6 hours and 48 minutes of its forefather LG G2

Granted, the G2 has a 3000 mAh unit, so its score is explicable, but what about the HTC One? It has the same 2300 mAh sealed battery unit capacity as the Nexus 5, yet lasts about 15% longer. All in all, the Nexus 5 battery test results are unimpressive, so almost daily charging would be the norm as with most smartphones. Still, the handset should get you through the working hours with normal usage, and that's what counts for decent battery life these days.

The handset's teardown showed that it is not overly hard to get to the battery and take it out with certain dismantling skills and a few tools handy, but that goes only for boosting its repairability score. This feat certainly doesn't count if you are the typical user handling a unibody Nexus 5 with embedded battery unit. 

Are you surprised by the Nexus 5 battery test results, or is it about what you expected from the 2300 mAh juicer?

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
Google Nexus 5
4h 50 min (Poor)
Sony Xperia Z1
4h 43 min (Poor)
Apple iPhone 5s
5h 2 min (Poor)
Samsung Galaxy S4
4h 59 min (Poor)
5h 45 min (Average)
6h 48 min (Average)

Story timeline

Related phones

Nexus 5
  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.3 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, Quad-core, 2260 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB
  • Battery 2300 mAh(17h talk time)



1. cripton805

Posts: 1485; Member since: Mar 18, 2012

That's pretty bad if kitkat is supposed to be less power hungry. Would that mean that the Nexus 5 might be dead last after the competition gets the update?

4. ilia1986 unregistered

Being less battery hungry is not Kitkat's primary aim. Being faster and requiring less ram for system processes is.

9. cripton805

Posts: 1485; Member since: Mar 18, 2012

Its faster because if requires less ram and processes. Thus should improve power consumption... Which goes hand in hand. Get it? Guess not.

10. ilia1986 unregistered

No it doesn't. Just because less ram is being used and the overall performance is better, doesn't mean there is significantly less stress on the battery.

13. cripton805

Posts: 1485; Member since: Mar 18, 2012

Yes it does. It requires heavier usage of its processor which in return cuts its battery life even while the phone is idle. Also, some of those phones have skins on top of the stock OS. It does affect the battery life.

88. Bioload25

Posts: 213; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

I dont think so,as all the hardware is going to work as normal,but the software is way lighter than other versions,so you get a much more fluid and smooth performance in the OS but with the same battery life you can underclock the processor if you root your kitkat device,and that would make battery consumption way better

11. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

I think it only uses less RAM when there is a constraint. It won't make sense if the phone has 2GB ram and Android deploys sequential launch to conserve RAM. That would slow down the phone a bit.

15. cripton805

Posts: 1485; Member since: Mar 18, 2012

Yes, PA also noted that Google modified Google services and the OS as a whole which puts strain on the devices on its own. Try running 100mb or more of apps in the background and you will see a difference in battery life. Just like apps, the os and services put a strain on the device and by making them more efficient, it also helps the battery life.

36. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Uhhhh no, ram and cpu still take a major back seat to the DISPLAY which eats about 80%+ of all batteries in any smartphone. So unless Google magically found a software way to limit screen battery consumption, battery life will remain the same. Making the OS more ram and cpu efficient would have a marginal (read

39. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

marginal effect.*

50. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

Screen and wireless technology use the most power in my experience.

56. cripton805

Posts: 1485; Member since: Mar 18, 2012

Do you pay attention to anything Im posting? Who said that the screen wasnt the major reason that it drains more quickly? I know that the screen is going to be the #1battery killer or maybe #2. As of right now, my own battery on my GS3 has been drained 26% between the OS, Google services, and system idle. The screen was only 33% because I have my brightness set all the way down and on my GS3 its still bright enough to see. Do you people even know that you can look this up on your phones??? You can see how much battery the OS uses up on each specific category.

57. cripton805

Posts: 1485; Member since: Mar 18, 2012

Oh and they have been improving battery life with software updates for years... I know because Ive been an Android user since Eclair and I tend to follow up on the news about the updates.

43. jove39

Posts: 2147; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Well...kitkat is supposed to be power efficient...you'll find it in coming releases.

8. woodshop20

Posts: 459; Member since: Sep 14, 2013

Well, you can't complain too much. The Nexus 5 costs almost half that of an HTC One,.

23. bucky

Posts: 3790; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

It's quite expensive when you consider it off contract vs price of another phone on contract. Also, it can get quite pricey in many parts of the world. Don't get me wrong, great phone but the price can't keep being the excuse for the nexus short comings every year. Battery and camera are always a slight concern with nexus devices.

26. fanboy1974

Posts: 1345; Member since: Nov 12, 2011

I would pay $350 all day long if it meant not being locked into a contract. Sure I can get a lg g2 for $100 on contract but there are some pretty good prepaid plans such as t-mobiles $30 a month plan. Just by ending one of my verizon lines I will end up dropping $90 total ($40 for the phone and $50 for data on my family plan). That's a savings of $60 per month if I go t-mobile. In one year that's $720 dollars saved. No Verizon contract phone can beat that.

28. bucky

Posts: 3790; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

In Canada, the plans are the same whether I sign a contract or not. Also, the contract cancellations after a year or so are almost always lower than the resale of the phone.

84. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

That is what I am doing - running my Nexus 5 no contract for 30.00 a month with T- M0...great great deal


Posts: 1459; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

When you compare it to a contract phone it can definitely win either way. On contract it's 49.00 at Sprint.....this is the price of lower level phones with half the specs of this. Either way you buy it it s a steal for what it is contract or not!

44. bucky

Posts: 3790; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

That's awesome if that's the price there. I see it listed for full contract prices :/

80. jimv1983

Posts: 61; Member since: Oct 10, 2013

The 32GB HTC One is $650 off contract. The 32GB Nexus 5 is $400 off contract. The Nexus 5 is just over 60% the cost of the One not less than half.

17. Evil_SaNz

Posts: 259; Member since: Oct 20, 2011

Pretty bad 10 min less vs galaxy s4 while having a cpu clocked crazy high? Not understanding.


Posts: 1459; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

Not too bad when you consider it has a 2300mah battery, and the G2 has a 3000. The battery is last years technology size wise....wake up!

74. 4.1.2

Posts: 11; Member since: Oct 30, 2013

So not getting this phone now.... The commercial looked cool but this.... No

2. TrueGee85

Posts: 7; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Disable Google Now and you will see an incremental increase in the battery life. It worked on my Nexus 4.

18. dexter_jdr

Posts: 1163; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

i thought google now is just an app for downloading apps? how is battery affected by it

25. orca99

Posts: 87; Member since: Oct 05, 2013

No, google now is not for downloading apps. Have you actually used android ever?

32. quiksilver78

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 07, 2013

Bro, do you even bench?

38. dexter_jdr

Posts: 1163; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

just borrowing tab2 10.1 i only know its a menu on every android to update/search apps

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