Which test pits all the important tablets in battery life face-off, it’s not looking good for Android

by: AdrianDecember 4, 2012

What are the first few things you look for when you want to buy a tablet? The answer definitely depends on each one’s preferences, tastes and needs, but a few factors will certainly play a major role in all of your decisions – screen quality, performance and battery life.

The last of these three is especially important for tab users who are always on the go and who need a reliable gadget that doesn’t have to be plugged in every five or six hours. Unfortunately, there are only a handful of tablets that are really capable of boasting an “all working day” autonomy, so it becomes vital to know exactly which of these is the absolute best.

Did someone say “which”? Well, a British website called just that has pitted some of the best tabs around against one another in a comprehensive and supposedly fair battery test. Among the contenders we have the new iPad, Google’s Nexus 7 and 10 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD, so this battle is one for the ages.

10-inch tablet battery life

It wouldn’t exactly be fair to compare a 7-incher with a 10-incher in terms of autonomy, so Which’s test has been broken down into two sections: one for tabs with 9.7-inch panels and larger and one for slates that are smaller than 7.9-inch.

The first comparison looks pretty awful for Android gadgets, which are heavily beaten by Apple’s iPad 4 (called Apple iPad with retina display by Which). This boasts a glorious 811 minute (13 hours and a half) battery life. That result sounds a bit fishy to be honest, but maybe that’s just jealousy talking.

The distant second in the 10-inch rank is another Apple tab, the iPad 2 (for some reason, the third-generation was not tested). This ran for 590 minutes on a single charge, which is still almost an hour higher than the best Android 10-incher. The best that comes not from Samsung, not from Google and not from Asus, but from Sony. Now that’s a shocker!

The thing is we don’t really know what tab this is. Which calls it the Xperia S, but that’s a phone. It could well be the 2011 Tablet S or the recently released Xperia Tablet S, but there’s another problem – the UK website says it only tested here tabs with 9.7-inch screens and larger, while both those gadgets are 9.4-inchers.

Before reaching out to Sherlock to solve this mystery for us, we should probably move on. To number four, where the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 proudly stands right ahead of Microsoft’s Surface RT. Both can go for over 500 minutes on a single charge, while the fresh new Nexus 10 is only rated at 488 minutes. The average for the category is 451 minutes and the worst contender by a mile is the Asus Transformer Prime (with no dock) – only 335 minutes.

7-inch tablet battery life

No mystery here and no major shockers. Apple again comes out on top, with the 783 minute battery life of the iPad mini. Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD gains the silver, with almost ten hours of autonomy (591 minutes), while the bronze medal goes to Google’s Nexus 7 (550 minutes).

The average for the category was found to be of around eight hours, but Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 miss that mark. The Fire does so for a mere 41 minutes, whereas Sammy’s 7-incher only lasted 425 minutes between charges.


I know that you’re probably tempted to call this test utter nonsense after that “Sony Xperia S” mishap. However, we have to admit it – Sony’s branding has been really confusing lately, so don’t judge Which too harsh for that error.

As for the actual test, remember we’ve seen one performed for smartphones not long ago and if that looked reliable, why shouldn’t this be too? I know that it’s painful to see Apple’s iPads so far ahead of our favorites, but hey, it’s not like we didn’t know Android tablets were mostly mediocre in this department. Also, keep in mind that there are a few major players missing from the test – like Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10.1 and the Asus Infinity – and maybe, just maybe those could have saved face.

Any other thoughts on this comparison? Should we take the results for granted?

  • Mak D’Uniq

    Just put galaxy tab 7.7 in 7″ list :/

  • Eric

    Yeah, android drain battery much faster than iOS, to be fair though, it is much more powerful too with multi-tasking. It is annoying though as my android phone needs to be charged everyday otherwise the battery will runout in the middle of the day…

  • mjolnir

    disheartening? yes, but we do get a more advanced OS, iOS does so little compared to JB4.2 of course it uses less power…

    • totally satisfied with my Note2…too awesome to resist..!!!!

    • Jared Persinger

      I’m on 4.1.1 and it’s preatty sweet

  • HellG

    The problem with this that every single review i saw the Nexus 10 had more battery life than the iPad 4…i wonder why its not in the list ;)

    • NicholasMicallef

      it is… and it performed horribly apparently… I’m sure all those reviewers must be liars

    • a22matic

      I own the Nexus 10, and I’ve been impressed with the battery life so far. Yesterday I used it for 8+ hrs streaming, YouTube, surfing the net, ect. When I finally plugged it into the charger, I had 48% battery life left. I can say I adjusted my brightness during that time, so that’s the only adjustment I made.

    • carlisimo

      No, the reviews say the Nexus 10 has more battery life relative to battery capacity. i.e. the Nexus 10 has 70% the capacity but 80% the life (those aren’t the right numbers, but it was something along those lines).

      The Cortex A15 is more powerful than the iPad’s A6X, but also thirstier. It gets used a bit during browsing tests (all that Javascript). The iPad’s GPU is more powerful than the Nexus 10’s, so you can find tasks that drain its battery faster than the N10’s.

  • John Cummings

    No Galaxy Tab 7.7 ?? This “Report” is Disheartening.

  • Ed Baker

    Wish I hadn’t seen read this.. Till now my tab 2 has always lasted longer than the wife’s Kindle fire and held it’s own against my son’s new nexus 7. Now I am going to have to adjust my setting to get under 10 hours of continuous battery life. I have stream music/video all day long and use it non stop for everything. I think this study needs to be studied.
    Do the radios run the same stream vs download across all platforms.? If the hardware doesn’t work the same, then they can’t be be compared. Even if the program results are the same…. Example… Compare the fuel use of a plane and a car…..

  • Why on earth didn’t the Acer Iconia 510 get checked, I have one and it outdoes my company iPad easily

  • cnxsoft

    It would also be interesting to compare different Android browsers.

  • Scorpineo

    Of course the ipad is going to do best, it can’t do true multi-tasking.

    • RarestName

      I can, I use Backgrounder all the time.

    • I like android, but god shut up people if you pay twice the price then you get an hour more battery life. My nexus 7 never went below 30%, past 6 or so hours battery life is so good it is irrelevant

  • Scorpineo

    I could get longer battery life if I turned off my live wallpapers, but they look so pretty!

  • Scorpineo

    Why don’t you guys do your own battery tests? Do you do any original journalism?

    • Totally agree..Y dont Android authority perform some of these test.. I really think u guys have the potential to make it more realistic rather than just depending on which..

    • kascollet

      + 1000 !

    • You are all too right. We cover a lot of stuff, and do our own featured journalism, op-ed’s, device reviews, device VS, app reviews, event coverage, and much, much more. I’ll make sure we get a nice thorough piece and video on this done right away.

      I believe the Nexus 10 could dethrone the iPad 4 from what I have seen, and let’s be frank – Android devices are capable of so much more than their “i” equivalent counterparts.

      • Scorpineo

        That’s great! Can’t wait to read it. Android sites need to start doing their own benchmarks instead of leaving it up to the iFanboy sites to do it and skew the results in Apple’s favor (cough, ENGADGET, cough).

        Everyone is biased, so somewhere in between their results and our results, will be the truth. Problem is, few Android sites do their own testing and benchmarks. So, the truth is deceptively leaning in Apple’s favor.

        I could design a benchmark battery rundown test that uses Google’s JS benchmark tool and totally make Android get awesome numbers in battery life. Likewise can be done for iCrap terds.

  • ahahahahah ishit 4? 811 minutes my brother can only get hours out of it before it warns you about battery!

  • Web Browsing is the least often thing I do on a tablet so it doesn’t really say much.

    • kascollet

      Now that’s a weird use case !

    • vampyren

      LOL i didnt know people used their tablets for serving coffee now days :D

  • If a tablet can make it through a normal day’s usage, that’s plenty enough for me. I’ll just plug it in over night. My Nexus 10 easily gets 2 days for my usage. I don’t find the battery life at all lacking. Besides, Android is a much more useful OS on a tablet.

    • After 24 hours on battery with 2 hours screen on time, my Nexus 10 still has 67%

  • kascollet

    Those number seem as irrelevant as the smartphone one’s (last link of the post). Check Anantech’s much more realistic results (including real brightness calibrating for example). The Nexus 10 scores much better vs the iPad (and the iPhone 5 vs the GS3).

  • Kevin

    my prime only lasts like 5 hours without a keyboard? wow, that’s amazing seen as it hasn’t been charged for 3 days and still has over 85%.

    • Kevin

      an yes i know thats standby time, but the other halfs ipad is about the same, so surely in use it cant be that much different! but hey.

  • Josh York

    Just me, or strange title to article. I can’t get it to sound right. LOL

  • jeremy

    i mean really who cares anyway. we have a nexus 7 and a galaxy tab 10.1. i can honestly not think of one single time when i was like man i wish this battery lasted longer. i use my tab 10.1 everyday, but only charge it 1-2 times per week. same with the nexus 7..

  • [email protected]?

    Hi Android Authority,

    This is Rory Boland from Which? – the organisation who carried out the tests. Thanks to Android Authority for picking up this story.

    I wanted to address a couple of the questions. The Sony in question is indeed the Sony Xperia Tablet S and in the 10 inch category we included a selection of tablets that are 9.4 inches or larger.

    While the iPad was the standout winner it’s worth mentioning that a number of Android tablets ran substantially longer than the average we clocked for 10 inch tablets – the Galaxy Tab 2 for example.

  • thepeddle

    The Fact that the Ipad3 was mysteriously omitted makes this test the most fishy. Seeing how Apple is discontinuing the Ipad3 but will keep selling the Ipad2. Coincidence?? A test ran by Apple to show that their Tablets are the best in Battery life while omitting the very Tablet only that they are no longer going to sell?? Sounds a little too convienent for an unbiased test.

    • carlisimo

      Are you being sarcasting?

      They tested the models that are still being sold. That’s completely normal.