Mobile phones with the best battery life
By Callum Tennent
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
With over 32 hours of call time on a single charge, it’s no shock that this phone is tied for first place in our testing. This astonishing figure is surely hard to match, but the 15-minute quick charge doesn’t disappoint giving you more than 2 hours of heavy usage to get by until you need to refill the power. This will serve you if you’re looking for a top-of-the-range smartphone.
Despite the big screen, this phone also has excellent battery life, a super-fast processor, and is packed with features. We got over 20 hours of call time from it, plus over 12 hours browsing the internet. Throw in a vivid screen and excellent cameras, and you're on to a winner with this impressive Best Buy.
Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct as of November 2018.
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.