We'd never turn down more juice, but is 2500 mAh on a 5-inch device really that low?
Yesterday we brought you the first photos of HTC and Verizon's 5-inch, 1080p Android smartphone, codenamed "DLX," along with a full list of specifications. By any standard, the DLX is a super-high-end phone, packing a quad-core Snapdragon S4 CPU -- generally considered to be the fastest SoC around -- and the highest-resolution phone display available, in the form of a 1080p SuperLCD3 panel. Throw in Verizon's 4G LTE network, and you've got an awful lot of telephone.
One area that's easy for some to find fault with, however, is the battery. Read on to find out why.
The DLX is said to have a 2500mAh battery, according to leaked specs from Football. So it's all you've got when it comes to power. The trend towards non-removable batteries is nothing new, and in HTC's case, they've been moving towards a different internal design for their phones, starting with the new Windows Phone 8X and 8S. The new process involves sandwiching the battery between the PCB and display, allowing for larger batteries and thinner devices. But that battery placement means it's not user-replaceable. Conversely, manufacturers are often able to conjure up slimmer handsets if they don't have to worry about fitting removable battery doors into their designs. We don't yet know if the DLX uses that design, but it's certainly not out of the realm of possibility.
As for the charge itself, it's amusing to see how quickly we've become accustomed to huge smartphone batteries. A couple of years back, when HTC released the Desire HD, it shipped with a 1230mAh battery. A year later, we were wowed by the 5.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Note, which required an unusually large 2500mAh unit to power its 5.3-inch screen. Since then battery sizes have crept up, and it's not uncommon to see 2000mAh or more in the average high-end smartphone.
But the DLX's battery is still well above the smartphone average, assuming the 2500mAh spec checks out. Even the LG Optimus G, which uses the same quad-core Snapdragon chip, packs a 2100mAh battery. Same with the Nexus 4. Clearly, it's possible to run a high-end, quad-core chip on an "average"-sized smartphone, even with LTE on-board.
But there's the question of the beastly 1080p display -- surely all those extra pixels should take a toll on battery life? Well, the main component being taxed is the GPU, an Adreno 320 unit , that's almost twice as fast as the Adreno 225 chip found on most dual-core Snapdragon S4s. The Adreno 320 is rated or resolutions far above 1080p, and boasts improved GPU efficiency thanks to Qualcomm's "FlexRender" tech. This allows the GPU to intelligently switch between tiled and direct rendering modes depending on which is the least wasteful. Qualcomm chips are known for their efficiency, and based on what we've seen of quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro chips so far, we don't doubt the DLX's ability to handle 1080p without breaking a sweat.
Our suspicions about the S4 Pro are backed up by hands-on reports, too. After we posted our DLX photos, industry insider blackmannx dropped by the Android Central forums with a few thoughts of his own on the phone. He called the processor "quite battery friendly," noting that a full 12 hours of heavy use may be optimistic, but 8 or so was achievable, in his experience. That's in line with other high-end smartphones.
Whatever your opinion of the DLX and its specs, the battery is sure to outperform that of its Japanese cousin, the HTC J Butterfly. The Butterfly packs a 2020mAh battery, trading almost 500mAh of charge for a thinner chassis design. That's probably down to individual carrier preferences -- presumably, Japanese network KDDI AU wanted a thinner handset at the cost of battery life. (You can clearly see differences in the chassis design in our DLX photos, particularly around the back of the device.)
For their part, it seems Verizon has sided with battery life when it comes to its DLX, and in our opinion that's got to be a good thing.