iPhone 5 vs Galaxy S3 – how much does it cost to charge them?

by: Chris SmithSeptember 29, 2012

We’re back with one more iPhone 5 vs Galaxy S3 comparison, after performing our own drop test, comparing them on video, checking out benchmarking results, display quality but also various ads. This time around we’re looking at a report that shares more details about the corresponding electricity cost for each device.

According to Opower, the iPhone 5 will cost you $0.41 to charge every year, while the Galaxy S3 is slightly more expensive, at $0.53 per year. Why is the Galaxy S3 more expensive to charge? The answer to that question is obvious, the Samsung flagship handset has a bigger battery, which means it takes longer to charge.

What’s important to notice is that today’s smartphones are very efficient when it comes to power consumption. Comparatively, laptops, desktops, gaming consoles and TVs are a lot more expensive to charge each year (see the graph below).

Curious how they measured the power consumption of the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S3? They used a Watts Up Pro Electricity Consumption Meter and assumed that “the average smartphone user will charge their device once per day, in the off position, from 0% to 100%.”

Here’s what they found out:

Galaxy SIII: consumed 12.3 watt-hours to charge, taking 2 hours and 26 minutes. Maximum wattage was 6.6 watts, with an average of approximately 5.0 W. Multiplying 0.123 kWh/day by 365 days = 4.49 kWh per year. At the average US residential rate of $0.118/kWh, the annual charging cost is projected to be $0.53/year.

iPhone 5: consumed 9.5 watt-hours to charge, taking 1 hour and 50 minutes. Maximum wattage was 6.3 watts, with an average of approximately 5.0 W. Multiplying 0.0095 kWh/day by 365 days = 3.47 kWh per year. Annual charging cost is projected to be $0.41/year.

Is power consumption something you think about when buying a new mobile device?

  • So if I watch movies and TV using my laptop, tablet, and smartphone I am being greener to the environment by not using as much electricity. OK!

  • The Galaxy S3 beats the iPhone in everything else, so they had to stoop so low to find the dumbest bullshit they could find that the iPhone wins at. SMH

    • s3toosikkk

      u’re a dumbass. i have the s3 n its an awesome phone. but the only thing the ip5 loses out to s3 is customisability. it’s actually faster n better at everything else. i chose the s3 tho bcos customisability is impt to me.

      • Yup sounds like an iSheep is getting upset because the iPhone 5 came out with specs that all other phones had a year ago. Sure the iPhone has the fast A6 processor, I’ll give it that but it’s the same old bullshit. It’s a iPhone 4 with a LITTLE bit bigger screen and iOS has been the same since the iPhone 2G. I owned a 4S for a while but iOS just killed it. So i switched to the S3 and I’m never going back.

        • AverageUser

          This is not a win for I-Phone because it does not show real use just Ad-hoc theory with some ground in a perfect world.

        • AndroidBrian

          I love android, and its sad that the Android user is worse than what the apple user was 3 or so years ago.

      • GZ

        I am putting my top scientists on figuring out what the fuck you just said.

      • It’s obvious spelling sure the hell wasn’t important to you.

      • martin henderson

        Wow. And everybody wonders why the US is ranked behind third world countries in education.

  • Mggiphone

    Sure … Why dont they compare normal use. A GS3 will need to be charged less often. My 4s needs 2 charges per day because I can’t wait for it to reach 0%.

  • lilmoe2002

    OH MY GOD!!! It costs me 12 cents more a year to charge my Galaxy S3????? Preposterous! I’m switching to the iPhone 5 ASAP!!!


    • finferli alla deriva

      you can use it only on monday…

    • Mark

      Hmm. 12 cents over how many years to pay for ur iphone 5 just to switch??

    • Hanshen Jordan

      lol :D nice sarcasm

    • I can see the headlines:


  • Quadraticadder

    The S3’s display area is 44 % bigger than the smaller display area of the I phone 5 (9.8 vs 6.8 square in) and the s3 display has 28% more pixels (201560 more) so it makes sense that it needs more juice.

  • AverageUser

    This is flawed for so many reasons. It does not show based off average use. If they did a real test where they used the phones the same way and recharged them at 10% battery life to 100% when they unplugged and did this several times over to add in the effects of bigger battery and different components energy drain. So I know what it is compared with real use then this can stand some ground, but when they do you charge your phone for x amount of time for 365 days does not show real use or battery life.

    If I asked a 10 year old what one with cost more and gave them this info they used for this they would give you the same answer and if its a kid with some tech smarts they will tell you the one with the bigger battery should last longer because it has a bigger battery.

    CNET if you want someone to give you some real test that can stand ground I am looking for a better job

    • AverageUser

      Also if we did charge once a day this is only based on if I unplug my charger.

  • DroidFTW

    But you will have to charge your S3 a lot less often than your i5, this only applies if you charge both of them only once

  • DroidFTW

    so in the end it is cheaper to choose the S3

  • Plato

    I wonder come from you take “At the average US residential rate of $0.118/kWh”
    You did not include all the charges.
    I am living in NYC and may charge is $0.1079/kWh. Here is the kicker.
    Add the following:
    Supply chargers:
    1. Supply
    2. Merchant function charge
    3. GRT & other tax surcharges
    Delivery Charges:
    1. Basic service charge
    2. Delivery
    3. SBC/RPS charges
    4. Temporary NY State Surcharge
    5. GRT & other tax surcharges
    My true cost per kWh is $0.31168. So all the number from the plot multiply by 3 if you in NYC.
    So now for:
    IPhone5: 3.5kHh * $0.31168=$1.09088/year
    Galaxi SIII: 4.9kHh * $0.31168=$1.52723/year
    I calculated that my satellite box can add &50-100/ year in electricity to you bill (if you are continuously connected). And that they do not telling you when you sigh the contract.

  • AndroidBrian

    If you think about it the iphone buys itself in only 4,166.66 days. No brainer

  • Quadraticadder

    They’ve even drawn the I phone 5 to be taller that the Samsung galaxy s3 in the side by side picture in the article! Lame.

  • Interesting comparison didnt realise it would be that cheap to charge your phone for a year ! If you head over to http://galaxys3apps.org and grab the power monitor app it will calculate the power used by your phone !

  • KB26

    Add an extra 50$ for an adapter and new cord for the iPhone5

  • pyro

    if electricity is problem then i am not worried about buying S3.. it has great Features .. I don’t believe after all this long I5 just increased the shape of it screen. I was about to buy it but changed my mind.

  • SaintHenri66

    Free when you charge at work….

  • Bob

    Things people do to really find fault with Android. You are not talking about $1200 or $120 or $12 here. Its a mere 12 cents extra per year?!? Get a life already. S3 wins hands down no matter what bullshit you come out with iSheeps. You just cant find any major flaws in S3 cant you? Good! coz i have a dozen more flaws and prolly a truck load more of shits you have to endure.

    • Vboom

      Why on the defensive?
      Nobody said it beat the S3
      I have the iPhone 5 and my least favorite part is it battery life
      It actually says in the article the S3 only takes longer because it is a bigger battery which is something I envy on the Samsung phones.
      There is no need to start saying iSheep are spewing bullshit when it is an article on an android website that is purely informative.

  • martin henderson

    Really??? OMG, I need to switch to an iphone tomorrow!! Change your name to iphoneauthority and fail with apple.

  • trebor

    As I have thought.. Chris Smith. lol

  • Thomas

    Do you have too much time on your hands ? Lucky you…

  • Lolec

    Since Iphone 5 launch this site is IphoneAuthority !

  • Gray Fox

    Battery: The iPhone 5 has a Li-Ion 1,440mAh battery that gives up to
    eight hours 3G talktime. The Samsung Galaxy S3 has a 2,100mAh battery
    that offers up to 11 hours and 40 minutes on 3G.


    That might account for some of it.

  • sheep

    Chris Smith??? Oh! Is this the guy from Yahoo!

  • majmovan

    hahahaha, now I will use my UPS backup to charge my SGS3, so that it cost me $0.00 :D

  • Aaron

    Depend on usage…….