Spirent’s collaboration with connect magazine: comparing the battery life of the Samsung S5 vs. S4

Have you seen Samsung’s latest ad for the Galaxy S5? It’s called “Don’t Be a Wall Hugger.” The ad brings to life the most frustrating aspect of owning a smartphone—the need to constantly recharge the battery. In the ad, Samsung touts the improvements it has made to Galaxy S5 battery life through better power efficiency. Samsung isn’t the first to feature battery life in major advertising campaigns and given its importance to customers, we expect battery life to be a key industry focus in coming years.

connect magazine report coverSo when connect magazine, Europe’s largest telecommunications magazine, approached us with an offer to collaborate on a battery life study, we saw an opportunity to provide an independent and unbiased view of this critical area. With Samsung’s recent ads in mind, we decided to focus our study on the battery life of the Samsung Galaxy S5 as compared to the S4. The results of our study, published by connect in their article “Battery Life Competition,” revealed that the S5 increases battery life by 50% vs. the S4. Furthermore, the majority of the gains in battery life came from improved device power efficiency.

We know from experience working with multiple tier 1 operators and their device providers that improving power efficiency at this magnitude is no easy task. That’s because power efficiency isn’t just about improving one component; it’s about the entire design of the device—from the way the modem and application processor are implemented to the antenna and RF components. Furthermore, measuring power efficiency can be tricky since different types of usage drain the battery at different rates. As a result, determining the real-world impact of improvements can be very difficult.

Girl looking at a cellphoneFor the connect study all measurements were performed with Quantum, which automates battery life and power efficiency measurements based on realistic use cases like texting, making calls, sending emails and watching videos. Quantum is currently used by multiple operators and their device partners to evaluate and improve the battery life and power efficiency of new mobile devices.

The connect study also conducted tests comparing 3G and 4G power consumption and the results were surprising. Using three usage scenarios—the video addict, the social media “maven” and the business user—identical tests were conducted on live 3G and 4G LTE networks in Munich, Germany. Despite the additional complexity and performance of LTE technology, the results revealed only minor differences between 4G LTE and 3G technology in terms of power consumption. This is exciting because it shows that manufacturers are able to deliver 4G performance without compromising battery life.

Although these results are extremely encouraging and a 50% increase in battery life is impressive, I personally hope these improvements are just one example of an on-going, industry-wide focus on improving power efficiency. With VoLTE video calling rolling out and streaming video service usage on the rise, mobile device power consumption is only going up – and no one wants to be a wall hugger!

What do you think of the results? Join the conversation on LinkedIn.

Download the full study.

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