Mobile phones with the best battery life
By Louise Muyanja
No one wants a smartphone with poor battery life. Read on to discover the mobile phones that excel in our battery tests.
When you’re out and about, you don’t want to be worrying about whether or not 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 are ready for a day of activity and engagement, our phones seem to be readily scheduling their next nap.
What we've found in our lab tests
We’ve tested hundreds of smartphones and found huge differences in battery life between phones. For instance, we’ve seen 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.
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 we give 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 phones with the best battery life
This new smartphone has made waves for its incredibly fast battery charging capability. After a mere 15 minutes of charging, it reached 54% of battery, one of the fastest battery charges we’ve ever seen. It only takes 41 minutes for it to reach a full charge and you’ll still get 21 hours and 40 minutes of call time. Very impressive.
This smartphone series has long had a history of good battery life, with one of its previous models lasting for 32 hours of call time in our tests. This smartphone isn’t just the most affordable one in its range, it also has the best battery life of the lot, lasting for 31 hours and 25 minutes of phone calls before hitting flat.
There’s no two ways about it, this smartphone has surged past the competition to top our battery tests. It stood out the most for talk time, giving us a staggering 34 hours on full battery and after 15-minutes charging, it lasted 10 hours. It’s pretty good for charging quickly as well, taking only 15 minutes to get to 32%.
The unsuspecting heavyweight in our battery tests, this phone absolutely blew us away for its full charge battery performance. Its enormous battery gave us more than 32 hours of call time and 19 hours of internet surfing. Not only is this incredible for a phone of its price, but it's also better than the premium phones we've tested. It's a sure buy if battery is your top priority.
This brand has shaken up the industry with the market-leading battery performances on its smartphones and this affordable model is no exception to the rule. An astonishing 39 hours of call time is what you'll get on a full charge, which is one of the best performances we've ever seen.
You wouldn’t expect much from a phone that costs less than £200, but we were pleasantly surprised by how it came through our tough tests. Battery life is phenomenal – lasting for an unmatched 46 hours of call time or 17 hours of internet time, which is the best we’ve seen to date.
Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct as of July 2020.
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 our mobile phone assessments include a quick-charge battery life test. 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 lasts while browsing the web.
As with our standard battery life tests, we find huge differences between phones. 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 fully recharge.
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 to 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. 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 – which uses battery power – unless you disable wi-fi altogether. 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 also don't want to turn it off. Most smartphones have power-saving modes (Power Save for Android and Low Power Mode for iPhones) 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. Doing it on wi-fi might not be such a drain on the battery.
- 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 help to avoid battery drain.