The Samsung Galaxy S4 has been faring well on the market since its late April release date. With over 20 million handsets sold so far, many of the complaints early adopters faced appear to be resolved, either through tech savvy fixes as well as through optimizations from Samsung itself.
One major issue that presented itself when the Samsung Galaxy S4 first hit the market was its battery life issues. Many new Galaxy S4 owners complained about excessive battery drain, with handsets exhausting up to 50 percent power of their 2,600mAh Li-Ion batteries over night. These issues were largely found in Galaxy S4 handers containing the Exynos 5 Octa 5410 processor. Many, like those in the U.S., who have handsets containing the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor had little to no problem with battery life, especially when taking steps to maximize battery power.
Previously, we complied two lists of the best ways to maximize battery life on your Samsung Galaxy S4 handset, which you can find at “Samsung Galaxy S4 Review: 5 Ways To Maximize Battery Power” and “Samsung Galaxy S4 Review: 5 More Ways To Maximize Battery Power.” We followed up this series with some battery life tests by tracking how long a Samsung Galaxy S4 handset would remain discharged with various amounts of usage. Performed on a T-Mobile powered Samsung Galaxy S4 handset with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, we left our device discharged for one full day and almost another 19 hours with moderate use, including leaving data enabled for over six hours.
Since then, we have also seen our Samsung Galaxy S4 handset last up to one day and 21 hours with moderate use. But now, we have beaten our previous records by leaving our Samsung Galaxy S4 handset discharged for well over two days with fair usage and data and Wi-Fi enabled for several short periods throughout the two days.
While admittedly an extreme case, the point was to demonstrate that the Galaxy S4 need not suffer from excessive battery drain. Putting in place certain battery saving measures, especially during times when a handset is not being used can not only save lots of batter power now, but can also extend the life of a battery in the long term.
When using battery saving measures we found our Galaxy S4 handset can be discharged for a little over 24 hours with heavy usage and a little over a day and a half with moderate usage. We describe "heavy usage" as over two hours per day with data and or Wi-Fi enabled for browsing, video watching and/or game play. Moderate usage would qualify as up to two hours of data or Wi-Fi enabled browsing, video watching and/or game play. Keep in mind data and Wi-Fi usually remains off if not being used; however, there are occasions where these mechanisms are left on for extended period without being used, for example, our previous 1 day, 19 hour test. This, however, is infrequent. Fair usage would be up to one hour of data or Wi-Fi enabled browsing, video watching and/or game play. "Light usage" would be up to 30 minutes per day of battery draining activity.
Critics of our series about maximizing battery life have said there is no point to owning a smartphone if a number of its features are turned off or regulated, even if for the purpose of conserving battery life. We consider this point, but we didn't refuse to use the Galaxy S4's special features, but we left them off until they were necessary to turn on, especially when it takes only a few taps to enable to disable them.
We also consider what makes a phone "smart" is not the device itself, but how it is used by its owner. A users' input is still needed to operate Air gesture or Smart Pause or any of the several special features included on the Samsung Galaxy S4 and similar devices. A user's input is even needed to use apps and programs that require data and Wi-Fi; otherwise, a smartphone is simply a machine wasting energy when not being used.
Ask not what your smartphone can do for you, but rather what can you do for your smartphone. What can you do to ensure your smartphone has enough power to continue to be smart? With the cost of smartphones increasing with nearly every generation, a savvy smartphone user wants to ensure their device is fully functional for years to come.
How long have you been able to leave your Samsung Galaxy S4 dishcharged, with or without battery saving measures? Let us know in the comments below.
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Fionna Agomuoh is a Technology Reporter for the International Business Times, a vegan foodie, and a lover of Electric Dance Music.