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

December 4, 2012
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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.

Conclusions

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?

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