Battery Wars: Smartphone Shootout


Smartphones are getting faster, more powerful, and featuring bigger and better screens, although the potential of mobile computing is being held back by batteries that die way too quickly. Any smart phone manufacturer that can make a breakthrough on this front will have a significant advantage in the smartphone wars.

Without getting too technical, battery life is measured in milliampere hours (mAh). It’s a measure of how long your device will operate before the battery is completely discharged.

Apart from the size of the battery, there are many factors that can affect battery life on smartphones, such as screen size, type (LED, LCD, AMOLED), and resolution, the number of processor cores, and the efficiency of the Operating System. While I wont be breaking into a science lab to measure all those variables, I’ve compared the battery capacity of the flagship smartphones of each of the major players in the industry – including their phones that will be imminently launched.


Click to enlarge: Smartphone battery life

Leading the pack is the BlackBerry Z30, which is launching in November 2013, followed by the Samsung Galaxy S4. Most surprisingly, Apple doesn’t appear to be trying at all, with the iPhone 5 scoring the lowest, and their upcoming iPhone 5s just marginally better. This is why people keep visiting your office asking if you have an iPhone charger they can borrow (iPhone 4 or 5?  … Can’t everyone just use Micro-USB already?).

Phone milliampere hour (mAh)
BlackBerry Z30 2,880
Samsung Galaxy S4 2,600
BlackBerry Q10 2,100
Nokia Lumia 1020 2,000
BlackBerry Z10 1,800
Apple iPhone 5s 1,570
Apple iPhone 5 1,440



The BlackBerry Z30 has the further advantage of using the BlackBerry 10 Operating System, which is the most efficient and stable Mobile OS on the market, and that I’ve ever used. This translates to an extra edge – particularly over Android, which is a much bulkier system, and requires a bigger processor to drive it, and thus taking a further hit on the battery.

One of my current phones is the BlackBerry Q10. When people are taking a look at it, they often confuse the Micro-HDMI video output as another Micro-USB / power plug. And when I’m away from my desk, I often find other people’s phones plugged into the charger on my desk when I get back. People are craving a way to make their phones survive longer, and to charge them quicker.

BlackBerry is claiming 25 hours of battery life for the Z30 in a mixed use scenario. If it can keep me away from being chained to a power socket, it’ll keep you moving.


2 responses to “Battery Wars: Smartphone Shootout

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