Android L improves battery life by 36% in Ars Technica’s benchmark

by: Edgar CervantesJuly 1, 2014

battery level phone signal

Android L is Google’s biggest update to its mobile operating system. We are expecting wonders when it comes to design, performance and new features, but it seems we didn’t give battery life improvements too much attention. This is probably due to us simply assuming it wouldn’t really be a huge jump, but we may have underestimated Google’s work.

Google’s “Project” tradition started with Jelly Bean and Project Butter, which made the UI incredibly smooth. KitKat offered Project Svelte, which allowed lower-end devices to run the software more efficiently. Next up is Project Volta, which is much more than a small improvement in battery efficiency.

android l release performance graphics battery

The test

Ars Technica’s latest tests prove the new software boosts battery life by about 36%! This is no normal battery test, either. Ars Technica went all out and was as precise as possible. Both software versions were tested with the same Nexus 5 smartphone, managing to avoid battery variations. Screen brightness was set to 200 cd/m2, which was verified by a colorimeter.

The test consists of leaving the display on and loading a website every 15 seconds (over WiFi) until the device finally gives up and dies. This was ran on Android 4.4.4 first. Android L was then flashed to the same device and the test was applied again.

Google Nexus 5 black aa 6

What is different about Android L?

Project Volta relies on different techniques to extend battery life. For starters, the new battery-saving mode is said to add an extra 90 minutes of battery life, but this test didn’t quite rely on that.

Google discovered waking the device for a second takes away about 2 minutes of standby time. And this doesn’t necessarily involve turning the screen on, this happens every time an app wants to perform a background action and wakes the processor. The new JobScheduler API allows these tasks to be grouped together, instead of having them act individually.

It’s also important to note Android is now using ART instead of Dalvik, which is known for offering better power efficiency.


Wrap up

This is only a glance at what Android L could offer. More apps need to be optimized to run well with Android L, meaning battery performance could get even better in the future! We are certainly more excited about Project Volta now that we have seen it in action.

  • The Doom Master

    Good news… :) this is what customers expect from Software company ..

    • jack

      I expect security which Android has pretty much zero

      • zebulun69

        that’s a lie for most Android devices with ‘Unknown sources’ option disabled

        • ermajmoore

          my buddy’s sister makes $87 every hour on the internet
          . She has been unemployed for 6 months but last month her payment was $19402
          just working on the internet for a few hours. go right here M­o­n­e­y­d­u­t­i­e­s­.­C­O­M­

      • MasterMuffin

        Troll’s got to troll

      • Jayfeather787

        shut up I am tired of you, shithead

  • Rex

    Very excited to see if this is truly the case!

  • Luis Vazquez

    That’s good. Now all we need is project “Linguista” to make our phones 100% voice controlled.

    • Sunny

      Screw voice commands gimmicky shite

  • K

    Very nice. Common complaint I here from the iPhone crowd is the crappy battery life they get.

    • Nick Bohanes

      I guess they will continue complaining seeing as this is the new andriod operating system not iOS.

    • Lucas Teixeira Gouveia

      I think only Android users with root, custom roms and kernel can get awesome battery life when it comes to smartphones.

  • guest123

    Naw… All they really did was reduce the number of times Google checks on you and sends data back to HQ.

  • daniel hariri


    • MasterMuffin

      a big picture in the middle of the article

    • s2weden2000

      H0w about reading one more time aY…

  • abqnm

    No source link?

    Also, their test loads a page over wifi every 15 seconds, not minutes. (Paragraph 4)

  • Harvie Boles
  • Harvie Boles

    There’s something wrong @androidauthority the “Our battery test keeps the screen on and automatically loads webpages over Wi-Fi every 15 seconds until the battery dies”. Not 15 minutes :)

    • Edgar Cervantes

      Thanks for the heads up!

      • Harvie Boles

        Welcome! :)

  • Veronica Sweet

    How is the battery life increased by 36%? I would just get the iPatch case to avoid spying through your cameras on your iPhones. I’m more of an Apple user because Steve Jobs is truly inspirational. Even though these new phones might be able to help me brush my teeth and peel a potato, I’m going to be on Apple’s side. If privacy is an issue to you, check this out.

    • Like the government cares what you’re doing. Are you a terrorist? Huh… Are you?

      • Veronica Sweet

        The government cares about what everyone is doing. That is why you are their product. You obviously don’t care about your privacy, but some people do. It’s really easy to hack into cameras on smart phones. I have a friend that does it at parties and it is a violating feeling when your phone is hacked. You don’t have to be a terrorist to have your privacy invaded… I guess that is why you picked Fry as your picture.

        • The Bat

          are you on some kind of medication?

          • The Doom Master

            and if she is please share cause her state of mind seems awesome ,, she’s high above the clouds.. :)

          • Veronica Sweet

            Why do you ask? I’ve been avoiding the fluoride in our water and toothpaste, the aspartame in our gum and diet sodas, and the Trisodium phosphate found in our cereal. Are those chemicals you ingest on the daily? That might be why you think I am on something…

        • Anonymousfella

          Please pass some of what you are smoking…

        • cizzlen

          I could get used to this gimmick

        • Jaime

          Dafuq? I just checked the page you posted and is a campaign for funds for a case that BLOCKS BOTH CAMERAS on an iphone… and it has collected around $1600…
          Dumb iphone users…

          • Veronica Sweet

            yeah it just launched on the 30th of June. Pretty sweet huh?

          • IKR! They could just use a custom rom on Android with all the backdoors removed. Like I do.

          • Veronica Sweet

            Did you check it now? They raised 20K dummy!

        • They have NO USE for your information unless you’re an actual credible threat. If they mine your data, that’s one thing. But… Do they care your currently eating a taco in Philly? No. They don’t and you shouldn’t care that they know. If you’re a law abiding citizen you have nothing to worry about. So what are you hiding?

          • Veronica Sweet

            That I am actually a tranny… thanks for ruining my day!

    • Jayfeather787

      What the hell did I just read? Bla bla bla potato.

      • potato fan

        I guess some people think their phone is a potato peeler. I wonder if she puts it in the dishwasher to clean it too? Or she works for…..wait can you make French fries out of a gs4?

    • Lamellama

      tits or gtfo

      • Jayfeather787

        Wow. That was a little…sudden…and…scary

        • sluflyer06

          a comment that comes 2 hours later is not what I’d call sudden.

          • Jayfeather787

            Yeah but his comment was a little off. Wonder if that is how he handles his girl friends.

          • MasterMuffin

            He’s a llama. He gets all the bitches

          • Jayfeather787

            Damn llamas.

      • The Bat


    • DarxideGarrison

      That fufu lame shit we ain’t wit it

      • cizzlen

        I send some shots at yo fitted

        • DarxideGarrison


      • Veronica Sweet

        They raised 20K so your mom probably was wit it hahaha

    • Dwight Flakus


  • Fabian Pineda

    Can someone explain me the formula that is being used to conclude a 36% increment? I can’t seem to get even close to that number.

    • Original time: 345 minutes
      Android L time: 471 minute
      Improved time: 471 – 345 =126 minutes
      Percentage improvement = 126 / 345 = ~36.5%

    • MasterMuffin

      Do you even math :)

      • Fabian Pineda

        Do you even troll :)

        • MasterMuffin

          Just admit you weren’t trolling

          • Fabian Pineda

            I wasn’t. But you are.

          • MasterMuffin

            Oh. Fun fact: the real number is 37%, because 36.5 rounds up

          • Fabian Pineda

            36.5 doesn’t round up unless the second decimal is higher than 0

          • Jayfeather787

            Wow you are extremely stupid.

          • Fabian Pineda

            Thanks for such useful input

          • Jayfeather787


          • MasterMuffin

            … What guest said

          • Jayfeather787

            That was actually me, but I deleted my Disqus account. Kinda tired of the faggots in this comments system.

          • MasterMuffin

            Goodbye I guess :)

  • Jayfeather787

    YAY!! I notice this very much on the Nexus 7 2013 as well. For a preview, this is outstanding.

  • Balraj

    Just wish the tweaked version of Android L offers the same battery increase
    Im not into stock android…

    But 36% is really good news.. But was the test conducted with Google now on or off?

  • Ryan

    I have been using android L for 3 days now. The battter life is nowhere near that much better. Its not even close. (real world usage)

    • EKfine

      read again…

      “This is only a glance at what Android L could offer. More apps need to be optimized to run well with Android L, meaning battery performance could get even better in the future! We are certainly more excited about Project Volta now that we have seen it in action.”

      • sluflyer06

        No what you need to re-read is that this test doesn’t remotely represent normal usage which makes it pretty much pointless. This test only proves that L is better at this test than KitKat. Its great if battery life is better during active use but if idle drain is like a running river it’s not exactly a win.

    • Sunny

      This is a devopler edition you fool a preview.
      Final stable release is much better than this

  • monkey god

    Could it be that the battery savings is helped by the fact that the L preview is an incomplete version of Android and therefore presumably may not have as many modules/processes running in the background as Kitkat does?

    • bahehs

      I like the way you think.

  • Mattias Jonsson

    So this was without the battery saving thing turned on?

    • RarestName


  • cr_buck

    Anyone know if by delaying tasks if this does something similar to Windows Phone where apps can only run every 30 minutes or can an app still run more frequently if it specifies. I thought I saw somewhere that it only combines low priority tasks but lets tasks that are higher priority run as needed.

  • Vuyo Ncube

    Power efficient OS, power efficient app ecosystem. Perfection.

  • The Bat

    so essentially they are just reducing the wakeups which you can do yourself my using wakelock detector and removing apps which constantly wake the device up (facebook being the worst offender) and greenifying everything else , which is why i get gr8 battery life from my s4

    • Stunkuf

      Essentially yes that’s what I do and it seems to work well

    • Ammar Ashoor

      Yep, I’m sure all the ”google services wakelock!” questions in XDA are there for nothing /s

  • toboev

    “The new JobScheduler API allows these tasks to be grouped together, instead of having them act individually.”
    Wow. Could they please package up the algorith and give it to all UK local authorities, so that the roads only get dug up the once, by all utilities at the same time, and preferably not the day after the road has just been resurfaced.

    • Tsadok Salomon

      Good point

  • DIYEyal

    Great news! Things like this get me excited..

  • Gopakumar M (Maikkara House)

    When iam going get update on my tablet

    • sluflyer06

      lol really?

      • Gopakumar M (Maikkara House)

        when i will get this latest version of android update on my samsung tablet dude??

        • sluflyer06

          Fall? L is just a developer preview, its not even close to being released. There is no official ETA.

        • Ammar Ashoor

          If Samsung thinks you need an update (more like never…)

        • Jaime

          Chill man… You are obviously not very tech savvy, why do you need this new version so much?
          I’ll tell you this: if you have a tab pro or note pro, you’ll get it around February probably.

  • now we need Project Butter Butter :D it is still laggy with software from lg, samsung. I know it is not Google’s fault, but Butter Butter may help maybe :D

  • Muzamil

    Android can,t be better than IOS but Samsung can be better than iPhone

    • David Hvatov

      Sony is better, than both.

  • sluflyer06

    It’s too bad in REAL WORLD many users are getting signifigantly less battery life on L. I desperately wanted to stay with L on my Nexus 5 but but the phone never slept and battery life tanked accordingly. battery page and better battery stats both showed no particular app burning up battery or wakelocks.

  • Tran Nguyen

    How is Android L able to control another apps to save battery life without my in-experience ? Master Cleaner app wouldn’t help much.

  • Android Developer

    I’m not sure project volta has anything to do with this battery performance. This is a very active usage that they’ve tested, while project volta works more on background operations.
    however, maybe project volta has more than what google said.

    • Simon Belmont

      Yeah. If anything this is more indicative of ART’s effect on battery life than the Job Scheduler API.

      Of course, we can take away that even when the screen is on, battery life is much improved in L release over KitKat. The battery life in sleep mode is probably even more noticeably better.

      • Android Developer

        Wonder which rom will get a hold on L before the others (for devices that google didn’t yet publish it to).

        • Simon Belmont

          None for now, unfortunately. Google only published the GPL parts of the stuff for those Nexus devices (it’s not the full source, so ROMs can’t be compiled yet).

          The upshot is that we at least know that all current Nexus devices are almost certainly getting L release. Not bad considering the age of a couple of them (the N7 2012 in particular, which is great because I own one).

          • Android Developer

            Yes, I wonder how long will nexus devices get updates these days, now that Google says the new versions should work fine even on low end devices.

  • s2weden2000

    That’s right!

  • John Michaels

    Well…I only wish this was reflected in my Nexus 7 (2013). Android L has cut my battery life in half. On KitKat, I got about 7 days of battery life with light usage. I’ve left L sitting idle for the last 3 days completely bone stock, and the battery is already dead.

  • Cyndz

    I installed Android L on my Nexus 5 and I must say I do see a difference with the battery life.

  • PatLed

    Wow! Thanks God! This is a good new for my Led Lampen.