A global trend has been observed: the most expensive smartphones tend to have shorter battery life. In this article, we delve into this phenomenon with the help of Olivier Simon, Battery Division Head at DXOMARK, and discuss the Honor Magic 5 Lite, which recently topped DXOMARK’s battery life rankings.
Less Sophistication = Greater Endurance
Simon, after testing a multitude of smartphones for DXOMARK, noticed that the best battery life often comes from entry-level and mid-range devices. This observation is not surprising, as we at GoStart.Biz also test numerous phones annually. Our ViSer test protocol still ranks the Xiaomi Redmi 9T from 2021 as the best-performing device.
Two Main Factors
Simon attributes this trend to two factors: screen resolution and technological maturity.
Higher-end smartphones typically feature more advanced screens with higher resolutions, displaying more pixels. Displaying more pixels naturally requires more battery power, even as manufacturers work to mitigate this issue with increasingly advanced and intelligent variable refresh rates. Conversely, entry-level smartphones often have lower-resolution screens, consuming less energy.
The trickle-down theory is controversial in economics, but it holds true in the tech industry. New technologies often debut in premium segments before gradually becoming more affordable and accessible. Initially, innovation is expensive, but as it matures, integration costs decrease.
This factor plays a significant role in the better battery life of less expensive smartphones. Simon highlights that “the integrated technologies are more mature, and the features are less energy-consuming.” The energy efficiency of high-end chips, optimized generation after generation, can counteract this trend. The year 2022 marked an important evolution with the particularly efficient Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.
A Matter of Balance
Simon emphasizes the need to consider the balance between three factors when evaluating a smartphone’s battery life: autonomy, charging speed, and discharge control.
The third factor, discharge control, is crucial in determining battery life. For example, Simon’s database includes 70-80 mobile devices with approximately 5000mAh batteries, yet their endurance test results range from 38 to 85 hours. This highlights that equal battery capacities do not necessarily yield similar battery life.
At DXOMARK, the focus is on achieving a good balance. Simon cites the Honor Magic 5 Lite as an example, praising its “effort in hardware and software integration to prevent overconsumption.” This demonstrates the manufacturer’s expertise and serves as a quality assurance indicator. According to Simon, a good efficiency results in better endurance across all use cases.
DXOMARK claims that the Honor Magic 5 Lite can last three days without recharging under normal usage. We eagerly await the opportunity to test this smartphone ourselves and form our own opinion on its battery life.