• A Which? investigation revealed that some mobile phone manufacturers are overstating battery life length when compared to Which? testing – with one model doing so by half.

    The consumer champion carried out its own tests to establish the average talk time for popular phone models from five brands and compared the results to the manufacturers’ claims. It found that two big names – Apple and HTC – both appeared to overstate the battery life length of their mobile phones.

    Which? tested nine iPhone models and found that all of them fell short of Apple’s battery time claims. In fact, Apple stated that its batteries lasted between 18 per cent and 51 per cent longer than the Which? results.

    Apple’s iPhone XR had the biggest battery overestimation for talk time on full charge. In Which? tests, the battery lasted for 16 hours and 32 minutes, whereas Apple claimed that it would last 25 hours – 51 per cent more.

    There were also discrepancies found when looking at HTC’s battery life claims. HTC gave an average talk time of 20.5 hours, although the average time achieved in Which? tests (19.6 hours) was five percent lower.

    In stark contrast, Nokia, Samsung and Sony all underestimated talk time when compared to Which? tests. In particular, Sony devices achieved a talk time in Which? tests that was 21 per cent higher than the manufacturer claimed – 16 hours rather than 12.6 hours.

    Sony’s Xperia Z5 Compact delivered nine hours of extra talk time. While Sony claimed that this model would last 17 hours, Which? found it actually lasted 25 hours and 52 minutes.

    Which? is warning people to be wary when looking at the expected battery life of mobile phones as they may vary from the manufacturer’s claims.

    Natalie Hitchins, Which? Head of Home Products and Services, said:

    “With mobile phones now an essential part of everyday life, we should be able to count on our handsets living up to the manufacturer’s claims.

    “There are clearly questions here around how long some mobile phone batteries will last and so it’s important to make sure you find an independent source of reliable information when buying your next phone.”

    Notes:

    • In April 2019, Which? looked at the manufacturers’ claimed talk time for over 50 mobile phones from five popular brands, with a minimum of six phones per brand. Which? used this data to calculate an average talk time for each brand and then compared it to the actual talk time it got from its tests.
    • To complete its testing Which? charges up brand new, independently purchased phones to full battery and times how long they last when making continuous calls. It also puts smartphones through a number of different tests before making a ruling on battery life. Which? does the same test to see how long phones last when browsing the internet non-stop before they run out of battery.
    • Battery life is just one criteria Which? takes into consideration when reviewing mobile phones. Which? also runs a number of other tests, including how long a phone takes to charge, and how long it lasts on a short 15-minute charge in addition to other elements, including build, camera and sound quality before calculating a score.  To find out more about how we test mobile phones, go to: https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/mobile-phones/article/how-we-test-mobile-phones
    • Buying a phone with a good battery life doesn’t need to be a gamble. The in-depth battery testing that Which? carries out has shown that some brands are consistently better than others when it comes to claimed battery life. To find out more, visit www.which.co.uk/mobilephones

    Rights of reply

    Apple: “We rigorously test our products and stand behind our battery life claims. With tight integration between hardware and software, iPhone is engineered to intelligently manage power usage to maximize battery life. Our testing methodology reflects that intelligence.

    Which? haven’t shared their methodology with us so we can’t compare their results to ours. We share our methodology for testing which we publish in detail here https://www.apple.com/iphone/battery.html.”

    HTC: “At HTC we diligently test all aspects of product performance. Differences in setup and testing environments may result in some variation to stated talk time figures.”

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