Which test: Galaxy S3 wins battery challenge, heavily beats Apple’s iPhone 5

October 12, 2012
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With (some of) the hype surrounding Apple’s iPhone 5 finally toning down, it’s time to clear our heads, let our egos rest, and try to objectively answer the age-old question – is the new iPhone better than all Android phones?

We Android enthusiasts surely took a beating in the iPhone 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S3 drop test, which showed almost beyond the shadow of a doubt that Apple’s new device is stronger and sturdier than our “king.” Still, not all of us are incurable clutzes that drop their phones from five feet high, so other things might help tip the balance back in our favor.

Like the battery life. We’ve complained time in and time out about the lack of long battery life superphones, with the worthy exception of Motorola’s Razr Maxx. Still, the Samsung Galaxy S3 has managed to stand out of the crowd a bit, so we were very eager to see if the Phone 5 could undercut it in that department, too.

Thankfully, the good guys from British website Which? came to our rescue, with one very thorough battery life test pitting the Galaxy S3 and iPhone 5 one against the other. The battle involved other, more lightweight contenders, too.

I don’t know exactly how familiar you are with Which? tests, but these are one of the most trustworthy around. Not only are those guys very experienced in performing tests based on hard facts and data, but when talking about battery life they go the extra mile and broadcast their own 3G signal. That way, all phones start off equally, with no outside elements impacting the autonomies.

That said, let’s see how have some of the best smartphones around performed in the test:

Samsung Galaxy S3 – 359 minutes in web browsing, still the king

There isn’t much we can say other than kudos Samsung! Six hours of browsing with screen brightness set to maximum on a 4.8-incher with a 2,100mAh battery? Wow! Just wow!

Apple iPhone 5 – 200 minutes, dis-ap-point-ing

Fanboys have praised the heck out of Apple for increasing the iPhone’s screen size, but here’s the reverse of the medal.  The 4-inch 1136 x 640 screen and the new Apple A5 CPU drain this baby’s juice in only three hours and twenty minutes of web browsing, which is a terrible result, being just at over 50% of S3’s autonomy. Burn!

Apple iPhone 4S – 208 minutes, poor, but more honorable

Now that has got to sting. The 4S’s battery lasts 8 minutes longer than the iPhone 5’s, despite being one year older. The explanation? It’s pretty simple, actually. In its quest to make the new iPhone thinner than before, Apple only equipped it with a 1,440 mAh battery. This is almost identical to the one on the 4S, but the one year old iPhone has a smaller screen with a more modest resolution that drains the juice out of the battery slower. Regret “upgrading” yet?

HTC One X – 226 minutes, better than the iPhone, way behind the S3

Here’s another bittersweet result for HTC’s hero device, which shows that the Taiwanese were very close of making it, but did in fact struck out. The One X can handle its browsing for almost four hours, which is way behind the S3, but still ahead of the iPhones.

Sony Xperia S – 276 minutes, the most pleasant surprise

Though the One X performs decently in Which’s test, the Sony Xperia S wins the silver. The 4.3-incher was released way back in February, but can still hold its own with over four hours of autonomy, despite not being equipped with a very generous battery (just a 1,750 mAh unit). Not bad, Sony, not bad at all!

Missing from the test: Motorola’s Razr Maxx, Samsung’s Galaxy Note and Galaxy Note 2

The average (based on 99 tested phones): 193 minutes

What do you guys think about the test’s results? Do you think they’re accurate? Could the Samsung Galaxy S3 be so far ahead of the competition?

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