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Best of Android: How we test battery life

Arguably the most important feature of a phone

Published onNovember 19, 2017

No one battery test will tell you exactly how long a phone’s battery will last, so how do we measure battery life in a way that will help you?


When it comes to smartphones, few people use theirs in the same exact way as someone else. Different models, different apps, and different habits all combine to make battery life tests generally useless. However, the more tests that are performed, the more confusing it can get as to which situation is most informative to you. Consequently, we’ve changed how we measure battery life in 2020 by attempting to offer a worst-case scenario with a version of Speed Test G that runs on a loop. While this doesn’t cover certain use cases, it does meet most users’ needs in the sense that no phone should have a shorter runtime than the one reported by our test.

Performing tests

First, we set the phone’s screen to 200cd/m2 so that the results can be directly compared. Then, after topping off the cell, we run our proprietary app to cycle through the chosen tasks. After all that, we let the battery run out and log the results in a text file.

A photo of a smartphone being tested with a spectrophotometer.
Setting each phone’s screen to 200cd/m^2 allows us to compare each phone’s performance directly.

After the first battery exhaustion, we charge the phones, and let a baked-in utility track how fast the cells are replenished. We log how long each phone takes to charge fully, and how much power the charger is able to get to the phone per minute. If there’s another performance mode, we will sometimes log those results too, just to show you what happens when you tweak settings.

Alternative chargers

Currently, we do not measure the performance of third-party or alternative chargers, though you may see us show results from manufacturer-supplied wireless chargers, super-chargers, and the like. Unfortunately, there are a lot of other factors that can affect how fast your phone charges, and we don’t account for these variables. For example, using a nonstandard or alternative cable, outlet, or extension cord can all extend recharge times.