Android Central

We've got around a fortnight of Galaxy Nexus use under our belts, so we thought we'd offer up some updated thoughts on the device's battery performance. Before we begin, remember that we're talking about the international GSM/HSPA+ version here, as opposed to Verizon's upcoming LTE model.

When we first reviewed the Galaxy Nexus we reported that its 1750 mAh battery lasted us around 14 hours on a single charge with pretty heavy usage. That involved a decent amount of browsing over Wifi and HSPA+, music playback, a little video streaming, voice calls and shooting test photos and video footage for our review. That's not at all bad, and more or less mirrored what we got out of the international Galaxy S II when we reviewed it back in June.

Android CentralWith any rechargeable battery, there's a certain amount of settling in to be done, which is why you'll often notice that a brand new device's battery performance may improve over the first week or so of use. During this time you'll also notice that you're using your new toy a little less, and this'll also affect your battery performance, as you're less likely to be pulling the thing out of your pocket every few minutes.

Over the past couple of weeks we've been using the Galaxy Nexus day-to-day as our daily driver, and with less intensive usage patterns we've been very pleased with the phone's battery life. So far, we've never been in a situation where the phone's died on us before the end of the day while we're out and about. However, we will say that with heavy use -- for example, constantly streaming from YouTube -- it is absolutely possible to run down the battery in a few hours. Then again, that's something that applies to just about every smartphone out there -- it's not unique to Android, ICS or the Galaxy Nexus by any means.

With more conservative use (by which we mean "using it the way we normally use a smartphone"), we were regularly going over 24 hours on a single charge. In one instance, it even lasted from Saturday evening through until Monday morning. The main factor at work here is the phone's exceptional efficiency when it's "asleep" with the screen off. When it's sleeping, even with various accounts syncing away in the background, it uses next to no juice at all. This is a common theme with many dual-core CPUs, and one of the reasons why multi-core chips are so cool. It's balanced out, though, by the fact that at higher brightness levels, that HD SuperAMOLED screen can quickly chew through the battery. That's nothing new either, and we've seen it before on many AMOLED-based devices. As such, we recommend leaving the auto-brightness setting to do its thing.

Hopefully that gives you a rough idea of what to expect from your GSM Galaxy Nexus if you've got one ordered, or are thinking of dropping some cash on one. As we said, who knows what kind of performance we'll see out of the LTE version when it arrives, but for now we're more than happy with its international cousin.

More: Samsung Galaxy Nexus review

 
There are 31 comments

werkx says:

I am surprise of the recommendation to enable auto-brightness. My SAMOLED is so bright, it's usually on lowest setting until needed otherwise.

icebike says:

Well that's what auto brightness does. Keeps it just bright enough.

It shouldn't use any more power with it on or, because it keeps the screen at a visible level, and saves you having to crank it up by memory when you step out into the sunshine. My autobrightness is indistinguishable from low in a typical indoor environment.

Cyberdan3 says:

I too am surprised about the auto brightness recommendation. I thought it was a well known fact that auto brightness actually can use more battery due to it constantly using the light sensor. That is what brightness widgets are for. I would think you should only really need to change the brightness 2-3 times a day

Kmcferrin says:

I'm surprised too. I don't have a long history with Android devices, but on my D2 I found the screen to be ridiculously bright by default. I usually leave mine at about 15-20% brightness all of the time. By day indoors it's plenty bright. Outdoors it might be a tad dark. At night it's still bright enough that I can use the unlocked screen instead of Droidlight as a dim flashlight.

The only time when I used a brightness setting higher than that was when I first got it or back when I had an anti-fingerprint screen protector on it, which dulled the screen image considerably.

icebike says:

Your well known fact is simply wrong.

The light sensor takes virtually ZERO power. (In fact light sensors in general PRODUCE power, not consume it).

Cranking down the brightness even for 5 minutes will save more power than than the amount of processing power consumed in reading the sensor once ever 2 seconds.

Bzow says:

How long was the screen on for the battery usage in that screenshot?

HAAS599 says:

Whenever the battery drain graph goes into a straight line, the screen is probably off.

Looking at the graph, I would guess 40-50% of the time. Somewhere around 15-17 hours of screen on time. Just a guess though

JayWill says:

There's no way the battery would last that long with 15-17 hours of screen on time. It's probably more like 3-4 hours.

Bzow says:

15-17 hours would be unreal. I get about 3 hours of screen on time with my rooted HTC Inspire 4G.

icebike says:

No need to guess at this.

Just tap the little graph at the top and the display changes to show you details of Phone calls, Wifi use, Phone Awake, Screen On, and Charging.

Oh, and my trusty Nexus One gets 34 hours routinely, but thats because its so memory challenged I really can't run all that much.

Scottatron says:

And watch all the Americans ask what a fortnight is :)

xemtra says:

not really... thats what this is for. http://lmgtfy.com/?q=what+is+a+fortnight

orlanka says:

that was awesome

tx_tuff says:

I love that response!

JOHNGAETANO says:

2 weeks

typical americans perhaps...

states the atypical american

gcims says:

What's that in Freedom Units?

Hi Alex, my G Nexus battery use shows that the screen (I keep it low or on automatic) takes about 50% of the power usage. Is this true also on your unit? anyone else? Is this a software issue that will or can be fixed with an update? My other phone (Moto Rzr Gsm UK) shows only 20-25% of screen power usage! CONFUSED! i am applying the same settings on both phones. Any suggestions.?
Thanks.

smthomas66 says:

That's good. The operating systems seem to be better at managing battery life now. Even my TBolt got so much better the last few weeks. Soon after the GB update I began getting flat line battery usage when the screen was off. I only have sync set for each hour and all I can see is a slight little blip in the battery life during each sync so it's allowed me to go a full 24 hours without charging and still have about 40% left (unless I watch a long video during the day). This lets me leave the phone on the nightstand instead of charging farther away and I just charge in the morning at my desk which is more convenient. Kudos to Android developers for taking battery life serious!!

Bishounen says:

Still can't get it on Sprint...

MUTINOUS says:

NO MORE ANYTHING ABOUT THIS DANG PHONE! I DON'T WANT TO HEAR ONE MORE DANG UPDATE, IMPROVEMENT, STATUS, HOW-TO, CRITIQUE OR PHOTO UNTIL I HAVE ONE IN MY HOT SWEATY PALM!!! YOU HEAR ME VERIZON! ANDROID CENTRAL! SAMSUNG! GOOGLE! THIS IS AN OFFICIAL INFORMATION BOYCOTT OF THE GOOGLE NEXUS, WHO'S WITH ME?

Verizon, with a phone like this who needs LTE? Get your logo off and leave us alone. I own a Mac pro, an X-box and the Galaxy Nexus, i am a fan-boy of good products but NEVER of any 2 year contracts with any carriers.

n0obpr0 says:

Jesus =)

Kmcferrin says:

You might want to try switching to decaf. Just sayin'...

dmcman73 says:

And when the LTE version hits Verizon, that bad boy is going to suck the juice out of the battery, lucky if we get between 8-10 hours out of it with moderate to heavy use. LTE radio is a battery hog.

smthomas66 says:

That's changed as software has been updated. I can even keep my wifi and mobile network on at the same time and go from home wifi to LTE and back as the day goes on without the battery suffering any. They've really got the battery thing down now which is great.

farrock02 says:

I havent been able to get no where near tgat good of battery life with my GN . I cant get anything past 10 hours without usibg it heavy. The same usage with sg2 gave me about 20 on at&t. Any suggestions ? Or do i have a bad unit?

Alex Dobie says:

Maybe try some of the standard battery calibration tricks? (Google it) Also, check your brightness levels and make sure you're using Wifi where possible, and keep tabs on what's syncing in the background.

farrock02 says:

Ill try (again) to calibrate the battery. My brightness level is very low and wifi is on when im home. Note i was getting 20hrs on my gs2 with never turning wifi off

Qazme says:

Very cool, looks like ~the same usage maybe a touch less that I get with my Incredible with a 1750 battery. Good news!

walt555 says:

I got to admit I was as jazzed as anyone about this phone & I'm still jazzed about ICS. That said ,not liking some of the reviews. So far I'm seeing a phone w/ a less then avg camera, non-expandable memory & a hefty price tag. The galaxy s2 will get ICS and all reviews point to it being superior in every way. ( and yes the s2 has a card slot for those who have been so blinded by this phone they haven't looked. It also has a far superior camera)