Mobile phone usage is getting more demanding, and battery technology is having a difficult time keeping up. Increasingly we’re turning to software tricks to manage power drain on our phones, but Google’s latest efforts are kind of terrible…
Run time is a difficult feature to test. Benchmarking usually means throwing high usage scenarios at a device to see how long it can last under “worst case” usage. The phone runs hot, which means it runs somewhat less efficiently, and you end up with a number that you can share. If you test all phones the same way you can somewhat compare how all phones perform when they run hot.
The problem with real world testing is it takes longer, and your testing isn’t going to be consistent. Maybe I took more calls on my HTC one than I did during my Galaxy S4 during a similar 24 hour period. Maybe I gamed longer on the iPhone than I did on the Moto X. Basically I’m saying you should take the following with a small grain of salt… Continue reading Real World Battery Test: The LG G2 – 47 hours to “Critically Low”
So the radio in your phone is often one of the worst offenders in draining your battery. For all of our criticism surrounding powerful quad-cores, throw your phone into airplane mode, and it’s shocking how long that quad can run. We can only pack in SO much battery density, and the rest of your phone can be surprisingly frugal, which is why developments in radio management are so crucial to improving the smartphone experience.
Qualcomm has been working on Envelope Tracking for their LTE radio technology. To over-simplify, LTE is a little different in how it communicates with cell towers than 3G, which in the past has made it more difficult to adjust the power of the radio in your phone while maintaining a stable connection to a tower. Essentially, your phone’s radio tries to find an average signal to broadcast at, but often just runs at max on LTE, which is pretty terrible for battery life, and can sometimes result in a poor connection.
Envelope Tracking for LTE allows the radio to better scale with the quality of the tower’s signal. As the radio is working a brute force style signal, it should greatly reduce the amount of power needed to run, which should also cut back on wasted heat. Qualcomm is estimating a 20% reduction in power and a 30% reduction in heat generated by the radio. This should also provide a more stable link to the tower, hopefully resulting in faster throughput.
Now normally when we write up new tech like this it’s usually an article about researchers in a lab, and we’ll all have to wait for the breakthrough to eventually filter down into our actual consumer devices. The nice thing about Qualcomm’s ET gear is it’s already going to be included in the Galaxy Note 3. Likely one of the reasons Samsung went with Qualcomm’s 800 series chipset for its LTE variants of the note.