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Old Oct 17, 2011, 09:06 AM   #1
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iPhone 4S Battery Life Worse for 3G Data and Media as Compared to iPhone 4




iLounge publishes their review of the iPhone 4S and provides one of the more extensive battery comparison testing we've seen for the new model. There's been some ongoing debate in our forums about how the iPhone 4S's battery compares to the iPhone 4. In Apple's official specifications, the company claims the iPhone 4S has an improved talk time but worse standby time as compared to the iPhone 4. iLounge put the two devices to the test.

For tests with 3G Data, Audio Playback, Video Playback, and Video Recording, iLounge found that the iPhone 4S came in under the iPhone 4's battery life times. For Wi-Fi and FaceTime testing they found it to be similiar to the iPhone 4, and on Cellular Calls, they found the iPhone 4S slightly better.

For a detailed and complete list of data see iLounge's review. This graph compiles some of the data (AT&T only):




One interesting finding with 3G data was that while their Verizon 4S unit ran for the same time as the AT&T model (~ 5 hours and 54 minutes), they found the Sprint model to lag at 5 hours and 23 minutes. Comparisons across mobile providers may not be completely fair due to differences in signal strength which could impact battery life.
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In voice calls, they found the AT&T iPhone 4 and AT&T iPhone 4S to have comparable times of around 7 hours and 6-16 minutes. The Verizon 4S model, however, showed a surprising 8 hours and 27 minutes, while the Sprint 4S again lagged at 6 hours and 27 minutes. iLounge notes that the Verizon model may have shown 4 bars more often than the other two.

Both media playback and recording has taken a hit on the iPhone 4S as compared to the iPhone 4. For video recording, of course, it should be noted that the iPhone 4S is recording much higher resolution video than the iPhone 4.

Ultimately, their conclusion on iPhone 4S battery life is based on what your exact usage model is:
Quote:
If you spend much of your day near a Wi-Fi network and only rely upon the iPhone 4S for web browsing and phone calling, you won't notice a major difference--unless you're thinking of switching to Sprint, in which case we'd be a little concerned. Similarly, if you use 3G data, plan to record or play videos, or want to listen to hours of audio during the day, you can expect greater battery drain from the iPhone 4S.
As we mentioned, there may be some confounding data due to regional signal strengths, but given the other complaints about Sprint's data speeds, it still seems to be the worst choice amongst the iPhone carriers. iLounge's full review covers many other areas and is worth a read.

Now, we should note that some users seem to have been experiencing dramatically decreased battery life on their iPhone 4S. One solution to that is said to be the calibration of the battery, in which case you drain your entire battery once and then charge to full. Some have found their battery gauge to be inaccurate until this is performed. Apple includes other tips on their site about improving your battery life on the iPhone.

Article Link: iPhone 4S Battery Life Worse for 3G Data and Media as Compared to iPhone 4
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 09:08 AM   #2
bbplayer5
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You mean better performance came at a slight cost? WEIRD!
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 09:11 AM   #3
Caharin
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Originally Posted by MacRumors View Post
Ultimately, their conclusion on iPhone 4S battery life is based on what your exact usage model is[.]
I salute you, Captain Obvious: Protector of the Already Known!

/salute

(Directed at iLounge of course, not MacRumors!)
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 09:12 AM   #4
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 09:12 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by bbplayer5 View Post
You mean better performance came at a slight cost? WEIRD!
It is weird since competition is steadily heading the other way around.
Apples key marketing point becomes invalid while everybody was making it SUCH a BIG deal against competition.


All I say is lol.
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 09:13 AM   #6
slrandall
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Hmm. Mine lasts forever; it came charged at around 65% and lasted a day and a half of constant use.
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 09:15 AM   #7
ng-design
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I'm glad it wasn't just my imagination

I upgraded to the iPhone 4S from the iPhone 3GS and I noticed that the battery seems to drain much faster; even faster than a phone I've had 2 years.

I can't compare it to the iPhone 4, as this article did, but I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who thinks the iPhone 4S drains the battery more.

I haven't tested it extensively enough to really make a firm conclusion. But I'll be interested in reading what other people observe in their day-to-day usage.
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 09:16 AM   #8
leenoble
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iOS 4 or 5 on the iPhone 4

Was this with iOS 5 on the iPhone 4? Not clear from the article.

I've noticed significantly reduced battery performance under iOS 5. Top of my suspect list is the new location APIs being a much bigger overhead.
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 09:16 AM   #9
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Changes don't appear to be significant.
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 09:17 AM   #10
blizaine
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On apples own site they state that the standby time is reduced from 300 to 200 hours on the 4S vs the 4. But they show the 3G talk time go up from 7 to 8hrs.

http://www.apple.com/iphone/compare-iphones/
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 09:17 AM   #11
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Here we go...
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 09:17 AM   #12
sirtimid
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You can't expect the battery to be better with a Dual Core Processor in it.
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 09:17 AM   #13
jayducharme
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Given that the 4S has double the processing power of the 4, I'm surprised that battery performance wasn't worse. Apple did some pretty amazing power management work.
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 09:17 AM   #14
photographypro
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16 mo old iPhone 4 vs new iPhone 4S

I think people who use their phones a lot are noticing "increased battery life" with the 4S MOSTLY because their iPhone 4 battery could be up to 16 mo old, and it you charge it every day, the new iPhone 4S is going to "appear" to have much battery life.
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 09:17 AM   #15
pandamonia
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Wow.

4 million suckers got dragged into purchasing the same phone 2 years running.

Only to find that battery has gone backwards.

Most of you geniuses dont realise that battery should get better with performance gains.

Take intel for example.

Every generation the power usage goes down with performance going up.

Basically the A5 is just a clocked up CPU with a better GPU.

iPhone 4S = Cash Cow.

Lower costs and higher margins make stock markets very happy.

My iPhone 4 has gotten faster with IOS 5 so i doubt the performance gap everyone is seeing is all to do with the A5.

Ill wait for the iPhone 5 when a real successor comes out that warrants a £500 upgrade
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 09:18 AM   #16
andybrown44
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I upgraded from a 4 and it seems to drain slightly quicker, I think that's most likely because I've been using it non stop since I got it.
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 09:18 AM   #17
elkk
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god this sucks, on the off chance i use my phone for more than 6 hours, i'll never be able to find one of the worlds most generic charging cables OR an empty usb port anywhere in this backwards world.. i might as well just return the phone and buy a land-line, those things are true masterpieces, you don't even have to worry about a battery
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 09:18 AM   #18
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I don't think the 4S has the battery reserve I'm used to, but on the other hand it seems to be recharging more quickly also. Has anyone else had the same experience?
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 09:19 AM   #19
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My battery life has been noticeably worse than it was on my iPhone 4. For the first time since I had my old 3G, I am finding myself keeping an eye on the battery out of concern it might run out before the end of the day. I used to get 2 days of normal use out of my iPhone 4. Not impressed so far.

I feel like some of this might be addressed with a software update though. After all, there is no real reason the 4S should drain more battery doing things like playing music, even with the dual core processor.
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 09:19 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pandamonia View Post
Wow.

4 million suckers got dragged into purchasing the same phone 2 years running.

Only to find that battery has gone backwards.

Most of you geniuses dont realise that battery should get better with performance gains.

Take intel for example.

Every generation the power usage goes down with performance going up.

Basically the A5 is just a clocked up CPU with a better GPU.

iPhone 4S = Cash Cow.

Lower costs and higher margins make stock markets very happy.

My iPhone 4 has gotten faster with IOS 5 so i doubt the performance gap everyone is seeing is all to do with the A5.

Ill wait for the iPhone 5 when a real successor comes out that warrants a £500 upgrade
The A5 is just a clocked up CPU over the A4?? LOL, good to know you haven't educated yourself on the hardware at all.
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 09:21 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbplayer5 View Post
You mean better performance came at a slight cost? WEIRD!
Using your logic, we'd have computers running at 300+ degrees today, melting the circuits they run on. Since computer performance has improved a hundredfold by now, in countless iterations.

But we're thankfully not living in that world.

CPU's using smaller transistors need less energy to run, hence matching battery needs with improved performance. So for as long we can reduce the component size, we get better and better performance without a slight cost to battery life.

So why is it happening here? Well, Apple obviously didn't mind letting the iPhone 4S demand slightly more power. If they had wished, they could simply have underclocked it a bit more. The A5 CPU in the iPhone 4S probably gives you a longer battery life than the iPhone 4's if it would run on comparable clock speeds. It's just a business decision. As the article details, it depends on how you use the phone if it's a bad one. If you aren't the user affected much by this, it's obviously a good decision, since it gave you a faster phone.
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 09:23 AM   #22
PantalonesSucia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pandamonia View Post
Wow.

4 million suckers got dragged into purchasing the same phone 2 years running.

Only to find that battery has gone backwards.

Most of you geniuses dont realise that battery should get better with performance gains.

Take intel for example.

Every generation the power usage goes down with performance going up.

Basically the A5 is just a clocked up CPU with a better GPU.

iPhone 4S = Cash Cow.

Lower costs and higher margins make stock markets very happy.

My iPhone 4 has gotten faster with IOS 5 so i doubt the performance gap everyone is seeing is all to do with the A5.

Ill wait for the iPhone 5 when a real successor comes out that warrants a £500 upgrade
You seem to have all the inside info. Can I subscribe to your newsletter? Where should I mail my $9.95?
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 09:23 AM   #23
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One thing we must remember, those of us who just got a 4S is probably using it a bit more than we were using our iPhone 4. We're playing with the new camera, or talking to Siri. These are still things we're having fun with, whereas later, we'll get back to the baseline of using it only when necessary.

This doesn't explain the test results, but can explain why our own user experiences are seeing much more battery life drained.

It has happened to me too. With 4, I could still have 70 percent left after a day, I'm at about 50 percent now, but I know I'm using the phone more.
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 09:23 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pandamonia View Post
Wow.

4 million suckers got dragged into purchasing the same phone 2 years running.

Only to find that battery has gone backwards.

Most of you geniuses dont realise that battery should get better with performance gains.

Take intel for example.

Every generation the power usage goes down with performance going up.

Basically the A5 is just a clocked up CPU with a better GPU.

iPhone 4S = Cash Cow.

Lower costs and higher margins make stock markets very happy.

My iPhone 4 has gotten faster with IOS 5 so i doubt the performance gap everyone is seeing is all to do with the A5.

Ill wait for the iPhone 5 when a real successor comes out that warrants a £500 upgrade
Glad to see you will never be buying an iPhone would not want you to go broke. Was cheap for me to upgrade that why I work for a living oh wait I make money for a living that better. Now I just have to wait for it, just a few, few, few more days.
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Old Oct 17, 2011, 09:24 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by photographypro View Post
I think people who use their phones a lot are noticing "increased battery life" with the 4S MOSTLY because their iPhone 4 battery could be up to 16 mo old, and it you charge it every day, the new iPhone 4S is going to "appear" to have much battery life.
Did you read the article? It says the iPhone 4S has worse battery life compared to the iPhone 4.
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