Is Your Carrier Affecting Your Battery Life?

Today we came across an extremely interesting battery test run by Laptop Mag which compared the battery life of 4 devices across the 4 major American providers. Laptop Mag is a division of Tom’s Guide, a name synonymous with quality hardware reviews. The devices tested were the Galaxy S4 & 5 and the HTC One M7 & 8. The four carriers were obviously Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile.

The results were pretty shocking! What the results showed was that the T-Mobile devices were consistently the best performers scoring a perfect 4 for 4. In the case of the Galaxy S5, the T-Mobile device lasted 10 hours and 57 minutes. This is a whopping 3 hours and 27 minutes longer than last place Verizon! The average battery life for T-Mobile clocked in at 8 hours and 11 minutes while Sprint was second at 7 hours 34 minutes. While we expected there might be some small differences we never expected such a glaring difference.carrier-battery-chart2

Many reasons have been given for why this may be. It’s well known that there are sometimes small differences between the variants but nothing to suggest such a large variation in battery life. Another logical explanation would have to do with the bloatware pre-loaded onto the device. As we know, some carriers (Cough, Cough, Verizon, Cough, AT&T) like to go crazy with the preloaded, un-removable bloatware and this could very well be a contributing factor. Laptop mag also put forth the possibility that the T-Mobile’s network may simply consists of radio wave bands that are more efficient at transmitting data than those of their competitors. A still more plausible explanation is the T-Mobile’s lower customer count makes for a less encumbered network meaning downloads are faster and cellphone are able to connection times are cut down. As we know, connecting to the internet is one of the most battery intensive functions of our smartphones.

The test was run with NFC, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi turned off and the screens set to a standard brightness of 150 nits. To put the respective devices through their paces an application was created which surfs through 50 different websites, pausing on each one for 1 minute with the process repeating itself until the device died. The best battery life was observed with the T-Mobile S5 which clocked in an impressive 10 hours 57 minutes. The phone which earns the unflattering tag of worst performer is the Verizon S4 which lasted just 4 hours and 1 minute. That’s a full hour less than the next lowest performer (AT&T) and 2 hours and 41 minutes behind T-Mobile.

This is a truly eye opening test and Laptop Mag deserves some serious credit for thinking outside the box on this one! This may be something to keep in mind when purchasing your next device.

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*All Photos Courtesy of Laptop Mag*

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