iPhone 5 vs Nexus 4 battery tests: LTE phone fares better than non-LTE handset

by: Chris SmithNovember 5, 2012

LG Nexus 4

The Nexus 4 is going to soon be launched at which point we’ll have a plethora of comparisons out between Google’s latest flagship handset and its main competitors, whether they run Andorid, iOS or Windows Phone 8.

Meanwhile, AnandTech has already performed a variety of benchmark tests on the Nexus 4 – but also on the Nexus 10 – and today we’re going to focus on battery life. According to the publication, the Nexus 4 isn’t apparently ready to offer great battery life, despite being an LTE-less handset. That’s certainly interesting considering that Google cited battery efficiency among the main reasons for not including 4G LTE support in its latest Nexus, while downplaying the fact that its relationship with carriers is actually the one to blame for this decision.

Getting back to battery life, AnandTech performed a more complex series of tests that mimic every day smartphone usage in order to come out with results closer to actual battery usage:

We regularly load web pages at a fixed interval until the battery dies (all displays are calibrated to 200 nits as always). The differences between this test and our previous one boil down to the amount of network activity and CPU load.

Other factors, such as “aggressive browser caching,” baseband idle state and CPU workload were also taken into consideration when performing the test:

We also increased CPU workload along two vectors: we decreased pause time between web page loads and we shifted to full desktop web pages, some of which are very js heavy. The end result is a CPU usage profile that mimics constant, heavy usage beyond just web browsing. Everything you do on your smartphone ends up causing CPU usage peaks – opening applications, navigating around the OS and of course using apps themselves. Our 5th generation web browsing battery life test should map well to more types of smartphone usage, not just idle content consumption of data from web pages.

The battery tests were done on “multiple air interfaces” using 3G, 4G LTE and Wi-Fi, and all Android tests were performed using the Chrome browser and 5GHz Wi-Fi “unless otherwise listed.”

The results? The Nexus 4 can offer from 4.18 to 6.27 hours of web browsing over 3G and Wi-Fi, respectively. The device was outperformed by its most important Android competitors, including the HTC One X, the Samsung Galaxy S3 or the new Motorola RAZRs but also by iOS devices, with the iPhone 5 topping the tests at 8.19 and 10.27 hours of browsing over 4G LTE and Wi-Fi, respectively.

So how is it that the Nexus 4, which doesn’t have an LTE power-hungry connection, only offers about half the battery life of the iPhone 5, an LTE device, at least according to these tests? AnandTech explains:

As always we test across multiple air interfaces (3G, 4G LTE, WiFi), but due to the increased network load we actually find that on a given process technology we see an increase in battery life on faster network connections. The why is quite simple to understand: the faster a page is able to fully render, the quicker all components can drive down to their idle power states.

It is also worth pointing out that certain early Nexus 4 reviews out there are saying that Nexus 4 battery life is quite healthy (The Verge), while others seem to disagree (Engadget).

Naturally, we’ll see more Nexus 4 tests once the handset comes out, at which point we’ll be able to better determine its power efficiency.

  • MohammedChhatra

    As a user of an International One X, I can not trust any benchmarks which have it that high up on the list.

    • anon

      I think they’re actually using a One X+. Looking at the rest of the review, the One X says (Tegra 3) next to it in all benchmarks.

      • ajm135

        Actually it probably the one x since the international version has the tegra 3 processor

  • Rodpe

    Dont know, this numbers sound very strange for me…

    • so the iPhone 5 is better on battery on LTE then 3g… hmmmmm

  • FullofBS

    They’re testing pre-release units… who gives a damn?

  • Danny De Nero

    Can we limit Chris Smith posting articles about apple to once a month? Every damn week 2-3 articles about apple products. Listen guy, I don’t care about the iPhone 5 and the tests are completely wrong out of daily usage because my girlfriend’s iPhone enters an LTE area and the battery diminishes too damn fast to be accurate with the testing numbers. While it is better than my S2 it does not do better than my S3.

    Furthermore, I have no hatred towards apple and I appreciate their products though limited when wanting to do anything your own way. I come here for android news and why I choose Android Authority as my primary place to scope out the latest and greatest. I DO NOT however come here to read 50 reasons why the iPhone 5 is better than the GS3, iPhone 5 drop tests, or Apple and their psycho patents on rounded corners and finger sliding.

    I don’t care because I do not own an iPhone. It feels like AppleAuthority is saying, “Thanks for wanting to live outside the box so here is the news on iPad,iPad Mini,iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, new iPad Mini and by the end of this sentence…the new iPad!”

    Normally, I would let it slide but Chris Smith might alert apple on that too

    • Apple_Nexus

      As an owner of both Apple and Nexus devices I do appreciate a more balanced and objective look at Apple products, which you can’t get from most Android sites.

      Saying that, the iPhone 5 costs more than twice the Nexus 4 so you’d expect it to be better, but longer battery on LTE doesn’t make sense. :?

    • le_lutin

      That’s strange. I come to androidauthority precisely because it DOES report on the iphone or the latest winpho or whatever might be in competition with android.

  • Mateus Gabriel

    pure lie

  • I’m currently in the process of trying to sell my North America in HTC One X because of its horrid battery life – and you guys tell me it has the 2nd best battery? With 40 minutes of screen-on time, 11.5 hours discharging I’m at 45% (screen brightness all the way down, wifi off for 1/2 the day, no cellular data).

  • EKfine

    htc one x is up there? holy shit mine was really a lemon then or anand just got a cherry picked one.

  • RarestName

    Come on! Are you saying that if I upgrade from my iPhone 4S, I’ll get worse battery life? I hope that it’s only a review unit fault because I really like this phone.

  • joser116

    People, the Nexus 4 units that the reviewers are getting are just pre-production units. The phone is not even out for pre-order. Google will ship the phone with finalized firmware once pre-orders are up on November 13. :)

  • Nessim

    Guys! lets wait for the final Nexus 4 release… dont forget that the ones present un nature now are barely beta releases.
    Wait and see

  • John Kang

    This is such a bogus…my iPhone 5’s battery life drops dead by the time my Nexus 4 is half way full, both used almost equally reading comics online.

    • >Implying you have a Nexus 4

      • John Kang

        Sorry, Optimus G…which is what Nexus is based on.

  • Joel

    If you’ve been following up on the Nexus 4 and see that many reviews are saying battery is bad keep in mind that what they have is not official. With this phone having a 2100 Mah battery it should be the LG Optimus G due to no LTE,I’m hoping this is true cause its one amazing device

  • ratnok

    I find this hilarious since they they intentionally left out the RAZR Maxx and RAZR HD. Why? Because they would be at the top instead of the iPhone 5 by a mile.