Sunday, 15 February 2015

Benchmarking Android 5.0 Lollipop battery life on Galaxy S5, LG G3, One (M8) and Nexus 5

Previously we explored how the jump from Android 4.4 KitKat to 5.0 Lollipop had affected several flagships in terms of performance, now it’s time to have a look at what it does to battery life. For this test we’ll be using the Samsung Galaxy S5 (Snapdragon 801 version), LG G3 (2GB RAM, 16GB storage), HTC One (M8) and the Nexus 5.

All four were recently updated to Lollipop and the new major version of the mobile OS promises additional battery savings through clever optimizations.

They are collectively called Project Volta. The first component is JobScheduler – it organizes background tasks from multiple apps and runs them in one go. This means, for example, that tasks that require an Internet connection will go together, instead of waking up the data modem multiple times.

Apps can specify what they need to run (e.g. Wi-Fi or for the charger to be connected) and JobScheduler will only run them when it’s actually possible. Developers can also specify time frames instead of exact times, so more apps can be grouped for a burst of activity.

Android 5.0 also has a native Battery Saver mode. Many phones already had such a mode, but they are custom jobs from their respective companies.

So, how well did the two flagships do? Keep in mind that we’re comparing a phone to itself here, not each against the other.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 got a big boost in the Endurance rating – it lasts 11 hours longer. The standby performance in particular improved significantly. The HTC One (M8) got a decent boost too, 6 hours. The LG G3 and Nexus 5 lost several hours as standby did not improve, but the video test returned worse results on both (more on that later).


  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (Lollipop) 83

  • HTC One (M8) (Lollipop) 77

  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (KitKat) 72

  • HTC One (M8) (KitKat) 71

  • LG G3 (KitKat) 69

  • LG G3 (Lollipop) 63

  • Nexus 5 (KitKat) 40

  • Nexus 5 (Lollipop) 38

The Galaxy S5 also showed a massive improvement in talk time, a good 6 hours were added to its longevity after the update. The phone doesn’t do much in a call with the screen off, but it seems that Lollipop is good at keeping errant battery hogging apps at bay.

The HTC One (M8) and Nexus 5 went the other way and lost about 6 hours. The LG G3 did not improve here, but didn’t lose any time either.

Talk time

  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (Lollipop) 27:37

  • LG G3 (KitKat) 25:54

  • LG G3 (Lollipop) 25:38

  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (KitKat) 21:20

  • HTC One (M8) (KitKat) 20:01

  • Nexus 5 (KitKat) 16:40

  • HTC One (M8) (Lollipop) 14:15

  • Nexus 5 (Lollipop) 10:01

The web browser is pretty intensive app with the screen always on and the chipset rendering web pages constantly. That leaves little room to optimize and both phones basically repeated their previous results.

Still, the HTC One (M8) gained over 3 hours of endurance and leapt ahead of the group. The rest of the group stayed in place, as expected.

Web browsing

  • HTC One (M8) (Lollipop) 12:29

  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (Lollipop) 9:39

  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (KitKat) 9:36

  • HTC One (M8) (KitKat) 9:06

  • LG G3 (KitKat) 6:40

  • LG G3 (Lollipop) 6:29

  • Nexus 5 (KitKat) 4:46

  • Nexus 5 (Lollipop) 4:45

The video player is less intensive as the video decoder does most of the work. So the Galaxy S5 posted an identical time on 5.0 Lollipop as it did on 4.4 KitKat. The LG G3, HTC One (M8) and Nexus 5 all lost an hour of playback time.

Video playback

  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (Lollipop) 11:15

  • HTC One (M8) (KitKat) 11:14

  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (KitKat) 11:05

  • HTC One (M8) (Lollipop) 10:11

  • LG G3 (KitKat) 9:57

  • LG G3 (Lollipop) 8:30

  • Nexus 5 (KitKat) 6:06

  • Nexus 5 (Lollipop) 5:01

The battery life after the update from 4.4 KitKat to 5.0 Lollipop is a mixed bag. The Samsung Galaxy S5 definitely improved, lasting longer in calls and while it’s sleeping.

The HTC One (M8) got a massive boost in web browsing time, making it one of the best phones in that field. It came at the cost of worse talk time (6 hour will definitely have an impact) and slightly hampered ability to do movie marathons.

The LG G3 didn’t gain anything and the losses were not great either, only the video playback time shrunk. The Nexus 5 matched the biggest losses, 6 hours in the call department and an hour in the video playback.

Do you have your own impressions from the real life battery performance of any of these phones? Share it in the comment section below.

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