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Mobile phones with the best battery life

By Oli McKean

No one wants a smartphone with poor battery life. Read on to discover the mobile phones that excel in our battery tests.

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When you’re out and about, you simply don’t want to be worrying about whether your mobile phone will make it through the rest of the day. Here, we reveal the best and worst mobile phones for battery life – and give you tips on how to prolong it.

It’s 1pm. You’ve used your phone for reading and replying to a few emails, quickly catching up with the news, and making one or two calls. But the battery has significantly depleted already, and you’re unsure when you’ll next be able to charge it.

Unfortunately, this is a frustrating reality for many of us. While we ourselves are ready for a day of activity and engagement, our phones seem to be readily scheduling their next nap.

We’ve tested hundreds of smartphones, and found huge differences between phones for battery life. For instance, we’ve unearthed smartphones that offer more than 30 hours of continuous calls from a single charge, while some can’t even muster five. And while some phones would let you browse the web tirelessly for more than 10 hours, others give up after less than three.

A smartphone can be an expensive piece of kit. So the last thing you’ll want is to splash out on a phone that needs seemingly constant recharging.

Below, we’ve highlighted three of the best (and two of the worst) mobile phones we’ve found for battery life. Our battery life star rating is based on exactly how long each phone lasts when making calls and browsing the internet – as well as how long it takes to charge from flat to full.

We also explain our quick-charge test, and our top tips on helping prolong your phone’s battery.

If you’re simply looking for the best smartphones you can buy, head straight to our Best Buy mobile phones.

Mobile phone Click for full review Battery life call time Battery life web browsing Charge time Total test score
Mobile phone icon
24 hours 52 min 11 hours 17 min 1 hour 42 min 93%

On top of offering brilliant battery life, this is the joint highest-scoring mobile phone we've ever tested. It completely wowed us in our test lab with its super-fast processor and fantastic cameras.

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Mobile phone icon
 25 hours 24 min  10 hours 44 min 1 hour 43 min  73%

It's amazing to think that this phone would let you have a conversation for more than 24 hours before needing a recharge. Your calls will also sound clear, and it has a fingerprint scanner for speedy unlocking.

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Mobile phone icon
26 hours 23 min 11 hours 48 min 1 hour 46 min 71%

This phone has absolutely outstanding battery life, and also offers a speedy processor and a clear display. That said, its rear camera takes slightly disappointing photos with inaccurate colours - reds often look oversaturated, yet the general tone of the image is many times dull and dim.

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Mobile phone icon
8 hours 27 min  5 hours 10 min 3 hours 20 min 58%

You'll be disappointed by the battery life offered by this phone. Its display is clear enough, but colours look slightly muted.

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Mobile phone icon
 6 hours 45 min 5 hours 10 min 3 hours 24 min 16%

It's not just the battery life that is awful on this smartphone. It deals with even the simplest tasks sluggishly, call quality is terrible, and it has simply one of the worst screens we've ever seen. 

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Our quick-charge battery life test

Life isn’t predictable, so you won’t always have a few spare hours to fully recharge your phone before you leave the house for the day.

That’s why we’ve added a quick-charge battery life test to our mobile phone assessments. We charge each phone for 15 minutes from flat, and then test how long each lasts when making continuous calls. We then repeat this test, but examine how long it musters while browsing the web.

As with our standard battery life tests, we find huge differences between phones in this test. The best phones give over three hours of call time, or more than two hours of web browsing – which should be enough to see you from A to B before you have a chance to recharge your phone.

On the other end of the spectrum, one phone offered a frankly laughable 15 minutes of call time or eight minutes of web browsing.

Our top tips on boosting your phone’s battery

While there’s a limit to how much you can prolong your phone’s battery life, there are a few things you can try:

  • Turn down the brightness, and avoid the 'auto' setting. The biggest drain on a phone's battery is its display, so turn down the brightness to the lowest level that's comfortable for your eyes. Also try to avoid the 'auto brightness' setting. While it might be convenient to have your phone automatically adjust the display, most are not terribly efficient at doing this, and switching the display brightness up and down is another common battery drain.
  • Consider using a dark (or black) wallpaper. It won't transform your phone's battery life, but every little helps. If you're not too bothered about which wallpaper you use, a darker style will mean less power is needed to illuminate coloured pixels.
  • Switch off wi-fi and Bluetooth when you're not using them. Even if you're not connected to wi-fi, your phone will still search for a wi-fi signal unless you disable it - which uses up your battery. Bluetooth is also a battery drainer - so make sure you turn it off when you're not using it.
  • Use power-saving modes. These are handy for when you're not really using your phone but you don't want to turn it off, either. Most smartphones have power-saving modes (Power Save for Android and Low Power Mode for iPhones) you can use that will automatically disable all your device's power-sapping features.
  • Keep apps updated. App updates often include optimisations, so it's nearly always a good idea to use the latest version. But try to avoid running these updates while you're on the move!
  • Turn it off! This might seem extreme, but if you know you're not going to use your phone for a few hours, it can't hurt to turn it off. You can also enable Flight Mode, which will avoid having to wait for it to start up, and can still help to avoid battery drain.

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