Some might say they experience true horror when low battery causes their phone to suddenly black out during a Netflix binge. But if brands are constantly claiming their devices can survive all day, why do we need to recharge our gadgets every few hours? Which phones really have the best battery life?
Batteries come with an ‘mAh’ rating to indicate the storage capacity available in a single hour. So, a battery with a 3430 mAh battery is estimated to provide 3430mA every hour. However, a bigger battery isn’t always longer lasting. The exact usage time you can squeeze out of your mobile phone all depends on a variety of factors. Some of these include:
- whether you frequently choose 4G data over Wi-Fi
- different apps and configurations
- battery condition
- length of time you typically spend on your phone
To help you understand all the fine print, we’ve created a list of the different battery capacities stated by various brands and ranked them from best to worst. Brands which have a device containing a higher mAh battery capacity are featured at the top. So, before you rush out to get a new mobile phone, make sure your chosen brand isn’t all talk.
Smartphone brands rated on battery life
Here is a list of major smartphone brands available in Australia, listed in order of their longest-lasting battery. This list is somewhat theoretical given brands are listed based on their ‘potential’ battery life, but read on for our comparison of brands based on real-world customer experiences.
For a phone with a hefty storage capacity, consider the 4200 mAh battery in the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. Plus, the device can apparently refuel an empty battery up to 70% within 30 minutes due to the ‘40W Huawei SuperCharge with TÜV Safe Fast-Charge System’. If you’re left without a charging cable on a night out, the Wireless Reverse Charging feature is designed to save the day.
The Chinese tech company also claims the Huawei Mate 20 Pro comes with the world’s first 7nm mobile AI chipset. The ‘industry-leading’ technology is also said to create ‘massive efficiencies’ and even ‘drastically improve’ the user experience.
- Best battery: 4200 mAh
Tired of searching for a power outlet to recharge your phone? The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is one of the brand’s latest releases and is claimed to survive on a single charge every day. This is apparently mostly thanks to the 4000 mAh battery. Other Samsung models claimed to similarly last for at least 17 hours include the Samsung Galaxy A7, Samsung Galaxy A8 and Galaxy J5.
Compared to Samsung’s older models, the Note 9 is claimed to provide 21% longer battery life. But using 3G is still likely to take a few hours off battery life, with internet usage time stated to last up to 14 hours or 16 hours on LTE. Surfing the web on Wi-Fi can give you a bit of extra time and keep the phone running for 17 hours.
- Best battery: 4000 mAh
Nokia phones have a reputation of being virtually indestructible. The Nokia 3310 put the brand on the map as a manufacturer of some of the most durable phones when the device first hit shelves in 2000. The model was revisited almost two decades later when the company launched a new version of the popular phone under the same name.
- Maximum of 22.1 hours talk time
- Up to 51 hours of MP3 playback
- No more than 31 days of standby time
- Maximum of 22.1 hours of talk time.
But if you don’t want your phone to resemble a brick with a keypad, smartphone options like the Nokia 7 Plus have moved away from the company’s iconic bulky yet compact design. This sleek-looking alternative has an integrated 3800 mAh battery claimed to give you two days’ worth of battery life with a single charge. But this claim is based on circumstances where the phone is operating on a new battery for five hours per day. And different models contain a disclaimer warning users that each battery has a limited amount of recharge cycles, and battery capacity will reduce over time.
Later models like the Nokia 8 Sirocco similarly have an integrated 3260 mAh battery, while products such as the 3060 mAh battery-powered Nokia 7.1 contain features like Android 9 Pie, said to improve and prolong performance.
- Best battery: 3800 mAh
Need to quickly charge your phone before you leave home? The SuperVOOC function is said to be a unique feature found in Oppo’s R17 devices. This is described as the newly improved take on a fast charging technology nicknamed VOOC, which is short for ‘Voltage Open Loop Multi-Step Constant-Current Charging’. This is also available in the Oppo Find X smartphones.
Unlike most of the products mentioned in our list, the SuperVOOC function in the Oppo R17 uses a bi-cell battery design. This means the phone provides approximately 3700 mAh battery capacity via two 1850 mAh batteries, rather than one larger battery. The brand also claims that the bi-cell design gives almost up to 50W charging power, while the SuperVOOC Flash Charge can apparently achieve a full charge within 30 minutes.
- Best battery: 3700 mAh
HTC appears to be one of the few brands to specifically address the difference between the phone’s rated capacity versus its actual nominal capacity. The HTC U12+, for example, has a rated capacity of 3420 mAh. But the company also lists its nominal capacity to actually potentially reach 3500 mAh. As with all batteries, performance varies according to things like location, app and phone usage, cellular network and signal strength. So, these factors will affect whether you can actually get up to the 23.8 hours of talk time promised on a 3G or 4G network.
- Best battery: 3500 mAh
The Google Pixel 4 is one of the most anticipated phones of 2019. But what about its also fairly popular predecessors, the Google Pixel 3 and Google Pixel 3 XL? When it comes to battery life, Google’s devices don’t win this round – especially when battling against the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. The Pixel 3 includes a 2915 mAh battery, while the larger Pixel 3 XL features a better 3430 mAh battery. But these models are said to offer 18W fast charging.
- Best battery: 3430 mAh
Looking for a device with strong stamina? The Sony Xperia XZ2 includes a 3180 mAh battery and comes with a function aptly called Smart Stamina. The brand claims the feature cuts energy consumption to prolong phone usage time. It also predicts how long your battery will last based on how you normally use your phone, and alerts you to activate STAMINA mode if the device thinks you’re going to run out of power later in the day.
With poor battery condition being one of the main offenders when it comes to shortening the phone battery’s lifespan, Sony says this device includes technologies that help keep the bars up and improve the health of your phone for longer. Some of these features include:
- Qnovo Adaptive Charging: monitors the health of the battery when plugged in to avoid overworking the battery when being charged.
- Battery care: pauses charging at 90% and waits just before your wake-up time to reach 100% in order to prevent damage typically caused by leaving a fully-charged battery plugged in.
Smart Stamina is also available in the smaller Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact, which contains a 2870 battery. However, the previous Sony Xperia XZ Premium includes a much larger 3230 mAh battery and similarly provides STAMINA mode.
- Best battery: 3230 mAh
This tech giant doesn’t pack the same punches as its competitors in terms of battery life. Although later models like the iPhone Xs (2658 mAh) and iPhone Xs Max (3174 mAh) apparently offer longer lasting power than previous generations, including the iPhone 7. Compared to new devices such as the iPhone X, Apple stretches the battery life of the iPhone Xs Max an additional 1.5 hours or 30 minutes for iPhone Xs users.
Despite the eye-catching Super Retina Display featured in some Apple products, video playback can be one of the downfalls for some consumers. The iPhone Xs allows you to enjoy up to 14 hours’ worth of videos, or 15 hours for iPhone Xs Max users, before completely draining the device’s battery. Internet usage is also a big player in shortening your phone’s lifespan. Searching the web on the iPhone Xs can similarly kill the phone within 12 hours of constant use, or 13 hours on the iPhone Xs Max. For people who like long chats, the iPhone Xs Max will give you up to 25 hours before switching off. The talk time of the iPhone Xs is similarly limited to 20 hours.
- Best battery: 3174 mAh
LG attempts to trim the smartphone fat with models like the LG G7 ThinQ phone. The device is powered by a 3000 mAh battery and Qualcomm Snapdragon Processor. It also supports both wireless and fast charging functionalities. Features like the AI camera and 7.1 channel surround sound might just make the LG G7 ThinQ a viable contender for people who tend to use their mobile phone for taking photos, listening to music and enjoying other types of entertainment.
Other similar products such as the LG K11+ similarly include a 3000 mAh battery. However, this alternative operates on an older operating system and lags on aspects like storage a and RAM.
- Best battery: 3000 mAh
It might be cheating, especially since Moto Mods are optional accessories. But Motorola claims that its Moto Z3 Play can last for up to 35 hours before it needs to recharge, provided it’s used with the moto turbopower pack. The device itself includes a 3000 mAh non-removable Li-Ion ‘all-day battery’. It also comes with a 15W TurboPower charger, which can apparently bring a substantially depleted battery back up to ‘half a day’s power in half an hour’. The brand warns actual battery performance depends on different things like temperature, battery condition, usage patterns, signal strength, network and device settings.
- Best battery: 3000 mAh
Phone battery life judged by users
The claims made by smartphone manufacturers are one thing, but what about the real world? How long will those batteries last when it really matters? Not on paper – but when you need to make a phone call, send a text message, or check Facebook? To offer a guide, Canstar Blue’s customer satisfaction research has seen seven major brands rated on battery life.
More than 1,700 Australian adults who have bought a new smartphone in the last two years rated these seven brands in the following order for battery life:
- Oppo: 5 stars
- Samsung: 4 stars
- Sony: 4 stars
- Huawei: 4 stars
- Nokia: 4 stars
- HTC: 3 stars
- Apple: 3 stars
There is a certain amount of perception involved here given the ratings are based on the experiences of phone users rather than ‘facts’, but when you look at both lists, you’ll see they are actually quite closely aligned.
All in all, this comparison gives you plenty to think about. Maybe you have your favourite phone brand and not even a bad battery will put you off. But if you’re tired of running low all too quickly, maybe think outside the box next time and try another phone out for size.