The bigger they are, the harder they need to be recharged often – 7 phones with huge batteries, but underwhelming "On" time

The bigger they are, the harder they need to be recharged often – 7 phones with huge batteries, but underwhelming
We here at Phone Arena believe battery life to be among the top areas that a handset needs to perform well in. Of course, hardware prowess – the ability to run the latest software, actual responsiveness, lack of lags, twitches, and stutters – is a top priority, but how long a buttery smooth system is actually able to run for is a very close second criteria.

So, we sometimes find ourselves very pleasantly surprised when a manufacturer outfits a handset with a relatively small battery, but somehow manages to squeeze out the most of it, making for impressive screen-on times. At other moments, however, we find ourselves taken aback by the short times that a phone with a massive juicebox can keep its lights on.

But which are these phones today? Well, we decided to take a look. Of course, we could dive in back through the years, but let's keep this relevant – we picked out the few handsets that are still current – either un-refreshed midrangers and top-shelfers, or ex-flagships that can still be bought from retailers as pretty adequate midrangers, which all have a battery capacity of 3,000 mAh or above, but somehow managed to last less than 7 hours on our battery benchmark test – a time that the HTC One (M8) (for example – there are, of course, others) was able to top, even with its smaller 2,600 mAh powerbox.

We remind you that our battery test consists of setting the phone screen's brightness to 200 nits, and then running a custom script on it, which replicates real-time usage.

So, here are the 7 biggest guys with the least stamina – listed from “not so bad” to “how did you manage to drop so fast?”.

7. LG G2



The G2 almost slipped away from this list, as it lasted 6 hours and 48 minutes on our test – just 12 minutes from the threshold we set. The handset can still be bought from a retailer or a carrier, as a pretty adequate midranger. However, by today's standards, its juicer longevity leans towards “average”, which a 3,000 mAh battery should be able to top. Heavy users, beware, though, we'd understand if you can't resist the G2's impressive 76.28% screen-to-body ratio, and LG's style of placing the control buttons on the back of the device.



Oppo's unique N-series brings a very peculiar feature to the world of smartphones – instead of having a front- and back-facing camera, the Ns only have one snapper, which is attached to a swiveling module that can freely turn around on its axis. The N3 even introduced a motorized, remote-controlled swivel, which adds a couple more nifty features – such as, taking a panorama picture automatically.

While the N1 housed a massive 3,610 mAh battery, which kept going for 8 hours and 6 minutes on our test, Oppo decided to cut down the dimensions of the N3, and nerfed the juicer to a 3,000 mAh one, which, as a result, only gave us a 6 hours and 28 minutes of screen-on time – trotting steadfast into average territory, even though handsets that tote similar hardware have survived longer, even with smaller juicers.


5. LG G3



The G3 was the first widely available handset to come with a quad HD screen – its 5.5” display glows with the super-dense resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels, and its 3,000 mAh battery obviously has trouble holding up for long, as it only lasted 6 hours and 14 minutes in our test. The G3's remedying qualities are its extremely compact body, considering the screen size, its laser autofocus-assisted camera, the ever-cool back button placement, and the pretty-looking faux-metal plastic body. So, power users should think twice, while casual text-and-callers should be able to rely on the G3 throughout the day, as long as they don't forget a nightly recharge.



Sure, the Note 4 impressed us with an 8 hour and 43 minute screen-on time, squeezed from its 3,220 mAh battery. Its predecessor, however, does not fare so well – while it has a 3,200 mAh power box – just 20 mAh less than the latest iteration of the phablet – the Note 3 only held up for 6 hours and 8 minutes on our test. This is even 2 hours less than what the 3,100 mAh juicer of the cheaper Galaxy Note 3 Neo gave us. Come on, Note 3, you're the bigger sibling – this is probably embarrassing.



We've been hearing about a Sony Xperia Z4 Ultra being in the pipeline, and it's definitely high-time for that to happen – for now, if you crave a super-large, 6.4”-screened phablet from Sony, with the best possible specs – the best you could do is the original Xperia Z Ultra. Its 7.06 x 3.63 x 0.26 inches (179.4 x 92.2 x 6.5 mm) body houses a 3,050 mAh battery, which only lasted 4 hours and 52 minutes on our test. As a comparison – the midrange Xperia T2 Ultra, which was released around half a year after the Z Ultra, lasted 10 hours and 16 minutes, with its 3,000 mAh powerbox. Let's hope that whatever optimization Sony has been doing on its latest handsets makes its way to the rumored Z4 Ultra as well.



The Find 7 was Oppo's first flagship to tote the new QHD resolution, which everyone seems to be racing towards nowadays. Unfortunately, the effort gave poor results, as we found the display to be dim, cold, and inaccurate. To top it off, the 3,000 mAh battery in the rather bulky Find 7 only managed to last 4 hours and 30 minutes. Thankfully, Oppo enthusiasts still have the choice of getting a Find 7a – the slightly "downgraded" version, which has a 1080p resolution, 1 GB less RAM, and a slightly different variant of the Snapdragon 801 CPU. Still, it lasts 6 hours and 6 minutes, which is still average at the very best, but hey – at least it's 90 minutes more than the "bigger brother".



Say "Hello" to the King of this list – the 6" phablet from Alcatel, with its 3,100 mAh battery, which made up for the underwhelming 4 hours and 28 minutes screen-on time on our test. We actually took the OneTouch up as a daily driver, looking to confirm the rather shocking result. We found that, with light-to-medium usage, the phone would last us through the day. However, any need to write extensive texts / emails, take photos, do a lot of calls, as some days may require, quickly melt its percentage and the battery screams "Chaaarge!".


And here's all of them, neatly listed next to each other

Battery life (hours) Higher is better
Sony Xperia Z Ultra 4h 52 min (Poor)
LG G3 6h 14 min (Average)
LG G2 6h 48 min (Average)
Alcatel OneTouch Hero 2 4h 28 min (Poor)
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 6h 8 min (Average)
OPPO Find 7 4h 30 min (Poor)
OPPO N3 6h 25 min (Average)

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42 Comments

2. FlyingDutch

Posts: 97; Member since: Jan 30, 2015

What do they have common? Android.

6. tedkord

Posts: 17198; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

The first one they listed had a test time of 6 hours 28 minutes. The iPhone 6+ time in the same test was 6 hours 32 minutes. For minutes more. Of course, the iPhone 6 Plus got about 2 hours less than the Galaxy Note 4, but then again the Note 4 was rated as better than the iPhone 6+ by the overwhelming majority of tech reviewers. Oh, and it runs Android, the choice of Note than 8 of every 10 buyers. Cry some more.

15. RoboticEngi

Posts: 1251; Member since: Dec 03, 2014

Put in all the iphones and none of them are on the top.

3. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

BREAKING NEWS AT PA "Phones from years ago have underwhelming battery life compared to phones from last week, stay tuned for more filler news at 11".

9. UglyFrank

Posts: 2191; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

Exactly +1

14. AstronautJones

Posts: 305; Member since: Aug 01, 2012

I wouldnt say the g3 is a phone from years ago. Most or all of these phones are currently for sale.

21. alouden unregistered

+1 Thank you for your response! Last year, the G2 was known for its excellent battery life. When I had it, I was routinely charging it every other day. That is the only android device I can say that about, past or present. And I still think the G2 would beat some of the current phones. It certainly did better than the GS5 (I know: not exactly current) in my hands. Anyway it is no surprise that current phones would have better battery life....

30. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Actually many phonesphones from years ago have better battery life than many of the lates ones.

7. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

And the Droid Turbo just crushes them all. :)

29. zekes

Posts: 230; Member since: Aug 14, 2012

Not the zmax

8. tedkord

Posts: 17198; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

I notice you were very careful to cut the list off before you got to the iPhone 6+, which lasted only a few minutes more than the longest lasting phone listed. So 6 hours 28 minutes is unacceptable, 6 hours 32 minutes is just fine.

11. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Actually, it's even worse than that. The first phone listed has a test time of 6 hours and FORTY EIGHT minutes, not 28 minutes. So it lasts LONGER than the iPhone 6 Plus. Which means that they skipped right over the 6 plus and excluded it from this test, despite it getting worse battery life than the first phone listed, the G2.

13. tedkord

Posts: 17198; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Yeah, I missed the G2. I corrected that in a reply. They cut the list off at 3000mah, but that was intentional to keep the iPhone off it. The 6+ has a 2915mah battery, 2.8% smaller than the 3000mah they claim makes a battery "huge."

12. tedkord

Posts: 17198; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

And yes, I saw the 3000mah limit. That was how you kept the iPhone 6+ off the list. As if that 85mah makes a difference. The G2 in your list actually lasted longer than the 6+.

16. paul.k

Posts: 290; Member since: Jul 17, 2014

For all your "iPhone 6 battery life is worse than Android flagships" needs, please visit http://www.phonearena.com/news/Living-with-the-Apple-iPhone-6-battery-life-or-my-secret-life-as-a-wall-hugger-part-3_id65772

26. tedkord

Posts: 17198; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

What relevance is that? He just said he gets through the day with his usage. He just get through the day with less left over than other people. He even talked about having to plug in and charge up frequently. Like I said in another comment here, the iPhone 6 + had worse battery life than the LG g2, which is listed in this article, with only a 2.8 percent smaller battery. Go to the battery life reviews, and you will see that the Galaxy Note 4 get about two hours more time in this test than the iPhone 6+. So, yes, it does get worse than other Android flagships.

33. Slammer

Posts: 1515; Member since: Jun 03, 2010

These articles and editorials are all paid advertisements to excuse Apple for a smaller battery or skimping on other things. Spending years around batteries, has allowed me to recognize faults in this article and Phonearena should be ashamed of themselves. Dismissing the larger batteries' daily hours of use over smaller to justify an advantage for smaller batteries, is cunning advertising and marketing yet, a bit inaccurate. The design of the batteries are basically the same except for size. Smaller batteries may charge faster but it makes only slight difference in performance and lifespan. All are designed to withstand roughly 600 cycles of charge regardless of size. This is industry standard to ensure repetitive sales. If you let your Li/Po battery totally discharge, you have damaged it. The larger the battery applied to standard size screens and usage, the more time a device can be used before reaching critical charge time of 15-20%. Please accept my request to refrain from making excuses just for sake of keeping Apple relevant in cutting corners. As I posted earlier, if everyone is happy how their Apple products work now, they need to imagine how well Apple products would work and last if Apple employed standards. Stop thinking of "is" and start asking: What if? John B.

18. Neros

Posts: 1016; Member since: Dec 19, 2014

Lmao note 3. You know that the phone would get a much better results now with all the updates it has received. The phone came out originallybwith android 4.3, which was a pretty trashy iteration of android.

22. arjunezdaz

Posts: 32; Member since: Nov 30, 2014

smartphones today should have a minimum of 15,000 mah battery and laptop carry case to take the battery along

24. Takeharu

Posts: 283; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

The battery life on my Xperia Z Ultra is quite brilliant. I often get 7 hours of sot..

31. buccob

Posts: 2956; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Yeah I though so too that it was better than what they tested here... Probably a firware update with better battery life? My uncle recently got the Z Ultra instead of the Nexus 6 because of the price and he is very happy, even though it is quite old, the Z Ultra still holds up pretty good, and battery life is not bad.

27. kerginaldo17 unregistered

PA made a comparison with phones with large battery capacity, 3.000mAh up

32. natypes

Posts: 1110; Member since: Feb 02, 2015

My G2's battery is amazing. The latest update really helped. But, I'm rooted, although on a stock 26a KK rom.

36. Stuntman

Posts: 843; Member since: Aug 01, 2011

Make the phones thicker.

37. Blazers

Posts: 724; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

I agree with the Note 3 findings. I find this to be one of the most annoying things about this phone. Other than that, I have no complaints. I have never been a fan of live wallpapers, and especially any live wallpaper with gyroscope features as that absolutely destroys my battery.

39. simpleas

Posts: 196; Member since: Apr 30, 2014

Yeah, moral of the story. Note 4 owns all. Good bye.

40. anup807

Posts: 12; Member since: Jan 13, 2015

Nexus 6 appears to be missing from the list.

41. rallyguy

Posts: 620; Member since: Mar 13, 2012

"We here at Phone Arena believe battery life to be among the top areas that a handset needs to perform well in. Of course, hardware prowess – the ability to run the latest software, actual responsiveness, lack of lags, twitches, and stutters – is a top priority, but how long a buttery smooth system is actually able to run for is a very close second criteria." I wish that was true. All I keep reading from PA articles seems to be about plastic and metal build materials.

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