While the Samsung Galaxy S4 seemed to top the charts for every purported performance test prior to its unveiling, an actual hands-on test now suggests that fourth-generation Galaxy S smartphone may be "just average" when it comes to battery life.
GSM Arena recently put the 2,600mAh battery featured on the Galaxy S4 GT-I9505 model with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor through a ringer of tests to measure its life span, including how much juice it uses to power talk time, Web browsing and video playback. The smartphone was put head to head with a number of devices such as the Motorola RAZR MAXX, the iPad mini, the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, among others, and the Galaxy S4 managed to rank smack dab in the middle for each test.
Samsung Galaxy S4: Talk Time
The Galaxy S4 racked up 13 hours, 53 minutes of talk time with its screen off and the processor idle, beating out its predecessor the Galaxy S3 by three hours, but getting bested by the Sony Xperia Z by two hours.
The battery in the Galaxy S4 has notably gotten a 500mAh upgrade from that of the Galaxy S3, which is known for its lackluster batter life despite being the most popular phone in the world. Similar to the S4, the Galaxy S3 came in two versions, one featuring the 1.4 GHz quad-core Exynos 4 processor and the other featuring the 1.5 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. GSM Arena noted that the Sony Xperia Z features a battery smaller than the S4, but larger than the S3, as well as a slightly older Snapdragon processor.
Boasting the most call power in the test was the Motorola RAZR MAXX with 21 hours, 18 minutes of talk time; featuring a 1.2 GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 processor and a massive 3300mAh battery. Coming up last was the Pantech Burst with just four hours, 46 minutes of talk time; featuring a 1.5 GHz dual-core Scorpion processor and a 1650 mAh battery.
Samsung Galaxy S4: Web Browsing
The Galaxy S4 can power Web browsing for up to eight hours, 42 minutes, again outperforming the Galaxy S3 by a little more than two hours, while falling short of the HTC One by just one hour.
The Galaxy S4 features a brilliant 5-inch 1920 x 1080 Full HD Super AMOLED display, which is good for crystal clear viewing, but has the potential to take a toll of the smartphone’s battery. The Galaxy S3 features 4.8-inch 1280 x 720 HD Super AMOLED display, while the HTC One features a 4.7-inch 1920 x 1080 Super LCD 3 display, which GSM Arena says may have helped to account for its slightly longer Web browsing capacity that beat out all other competitors tested.
The Samsung Galaxy Nexus came in last, powering just three hours and one minute of Web browsing. The smartphone features a 4.65-inch 1280 x 720 HD Super AMOLED display.
Prior to its unveiling, Rightware reported that the Galaxy S4 had ranked on top of its Browsermark 2.0 browser benchmark, scoring 2710 for Web browser speed and was hailed as “superior to 99 percent” of all other phones. HTC One came in third at 2262, while other phones, such as the Sony Xperia Z and Galaxy S3, scored much lower on the list. Though it should be noted that battery tests and browser benchmarks are two different entities, and that Rightware’s test is subject to skepticism as there is no way to know if the device tested was actually a Galaxy S4.
Samsung Galaxy S4: Video Playback
The Galaxy G4 can power video playback for up to 10 hours, 16 minutes, which GSM Arena says doesn’t deviate much from the Galaxy S3, but is still a good showing when you consider the smartphone features a dazzling 5-inch 1080p screen.
The S4 notably beat out the HTC One, which features a 4.7-inch 1080p screen and the iPhone 5, which features a 4-inch 1080p screen, by just a few minutes. Topping the chart for best video playback was the Motorola RAZR MAXX with a whopping 16 hours, 35 minutes of video playback, featuring a 4.7-inch 1080p screen. Coming in last was the Nokia Lumia 710 with just three hours, 27 minutes of video playback, featuring a 3.7-inch 1080p screen.
Samsung Galaxy S4: Battery Life Overview
Despite seeming somewhat average in comparison to other phones tested, GSM Arena credits the Galaxy S4 for possessing a sturdy battery life. The phone is notably in close competition with its rivals, ranking within minutes of most. The tech site gives the Galaxy S4 an endurance rating of 63 hours, which indicates how long its battery lasts between charges if you do an hour each of calling, Web browsing and video watching daily.
Boasting stellar standby capability, the Galaxy S4 should last an entire day for extremely hands-on users, and up to two or three days for average users.
Here are some battery conservation tips adapted from the Galaxy S3.
-- Turn off syncing and check emails in intervals.
-- Try to keep your handset fully charged. Draining power can have a negative effect on the battery.
-- Turn down the brightness or use the auto settings for brightness.
-- Turn off GPS, mobile hotspot, 3G or location mechanisms if they are not being used.
-- Uninstall apps that you don’t plan on using.
Fionna Agomuoh is a Technology Reporter for the International Business Times, a vegan foodie, and a lover of Electric Dance Music.