iPhone 4 battery life part 1 - 3D games, max settings





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Published on Jul 13, 2010

So, is the iPhone 4's battery life really longer? How much longer? Let's find out by of course playing hours and hours of games on it!

For this test, I cranked everything up and it lasted 2 hours and 43 minutes.

Maximum brightness, maximum volume
Bluetooth on, headset connected (not for A2DP, just a regular headset)
Wifi on (but not connected -- more on that in a moment)
3G on
Multitasking (I started up a few apps that were iOS4 optimized before starting this test - including Pandora)
Data streaming in the background for most of it: Pandora radio, checking email every 15 minutes on 9 accounts, and all push notifications enabled that I could think to enable. One of the games was also an online FPS game.

As always, I conduct extremely meticulous, scientific tests to ensure that my results are always consistent and comparable....yeah, right. But this is a rough idea of what you can expect out of a typical charge cycle with these settings and this gameplay.

The games played:

0:00 Real Racing
0:45 Archetype
1:34 Predators

Music for the video: Musicshake artist misterbj14. Song titled: Dancing on the Moon


(if you have a sharp eye, you'll notice I tried to start Cro-Mag Rally but I couldn't get it set up to not stop my Pandora music, so I gave up on that one for this test)

Archetype also stopped Pandora, but it made up for it by being an online multiplayer game so that data would continue to be streamed.

Now about the internet connection... 3G and Wifi were both on, but I was not connected to a Wifi network. Here's why: The 3G radio uses more juice when downloading data than the Wifi radio. So, I had Wifi on so that it'd be sucking down more juice looking for a network to join, but was connected ultimately through 3G. Thus, 3G data was being streamed constantly, whether by Pandora or by Archetype's game connection, or by the mail client checking for email in the background.

What conclusions can we draw from this so far? The iPhone 4's battery is impressive. It was doing more than my 3GS was in its max settings test -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YADGPY... -- and still lasted a few moments longer. Given that its processor is faster, the display is brighter and higher resolution, the sound is louder, it was multitasking, and doing this all over 3G, that is some mighty impressive improvements made to the phone if you ask me. The battery is only slightly bigger, so the rest of the improvements must be in the electronics design. It seems to me like there's a number of things at work here that contribute to the lower power usage and work hand in hand with the slightly bigger battery to provide a longer usage time. My guess is it comes primarily from the customized processor, the LED backlighting and more efficient antenna.

Yes, I have spent entirely too much time thinking about this stuff.

Basically, what you're looking at is more game time even in the worst case scenario. The only way you can possibly kill the battery any quicker than this is to be GPS navigating or maybe recording video. (I've not tried yet to record a video longer than a few minutes)

Side note for the people still reading: I'm not too happy with the results of recording the video. Anybody know of a good way to get a Rocketfish RF-WEB2C to play nicer with a Mac? Namely, I'd like to be able to set a constant focus and exposure rather than let it jump around and lose focus and whatnot like it did here. Recorded using QuickTime X, time-lapsed using Avidemux2, rotated and dubbed over using iMovie.


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