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Report: Some new smartphones have worse battery life than old counterparts

One would assume a new version of a previous smartphone would have better battery life than its older counterpart, right?

Published onNovember 2, 2018

Android 9 Pie review battery percentage Ambient Display
  • A new report from The Washington Post suggests some newer smartphones get worse battery life than their older counterparts.
  • Specifically, the Google Pixel 3 and Apple iPhone XS tested worse than their previous models.
  • The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 tested the best of all the Android phones on the list.

Over at The Washington Post, journalist Geoffrey A. Fowler conducted a series of battery life tests on popular smartphones, including both Android and iOS devices. Fowler found that some new devices actually fared worse than their older counterparts in his tests.

One would usually assume that the newer a smartphone is, the better its battery life will be. However, Fowler found that in a few cases, the older device fares better than the newer device when it comes to battery life.

For Android, Fowler found that both the Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL tested better than the Google Pixel 3. However, both second-generation Pixels didn’t do as well as the Google Pixel 3 XL.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 battery review: Huge, but enough?
A photo of a man using the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.

For iOS, it appears the Apple iPhone XS didn’t fare as well as the iPhone X. In fact, the iPhone 8 Plus handily beat the iPhone XS and XS Max.

Remarkably, the iPhone XR topped the entire list when it comes to battery life, beating out the top Android device — the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 — by a slight margin.

Check out Fowler’s full chart of results below:

Despite the anomalies of the Pixels and iPhones, most of the results do tend to match with the idea that newer phones get better life than older phones. The results also suggest bigger phones get better battery life, which makes sense because they usually have bigger batteries.

To conduct his test, Fowler used a light meter to set every device at the exact same brightness level. He then used a script to make the devices endlessly scroll through web pages. The results you see above are how long it took for each device to go from 100 percent battery to empty.

What do you think? Have you noticed worse battery life on a newer device as compared to a previous model in the line? Let us know your experiences in the comments!

NEXT: Report: We all have different smartphone preferences, but battery life unites us

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