Saturday , October 21 2017

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge — Let’s talk battery life

IMG_1645

I think we need to have a bit of a chat about battery life. Here at Ausdroid, we get the privilege of using quite a number of handsets, and we get a good opportunity to compare an awful lot of them. Sometimes these comparisons are favourable one way, and sometimes less favourable another.

We’re still getting to know the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, but like that new friend who has an annoying laugh that grates, the S6 Edge’s battery life is already starting to make us a little uncomfortable. Rather than get up and walk away, let’s try and talk about this.

What are the facts?

The S6 Edge features a 2,600 mAh battery.

How does it compare?

Well, the phone it sort-of replaces, the Galaxy S5, had a larger capacity battery at 2,800 mAh. LG’s G3 is larger still, at 3,000 mAh, and then we get onto the insanely big end of the battery market, with the Xperia Z3 at 3,100 mAh and Galaxy Note 4 at 3,220 mAh.

One must bear in mind, though, that the innards of the S6 Edge (and the S6, which is virtually identical) are quite a bit different to most of those other listed smartphones though. Factors which probably affect battery life more than others include the 64-bit Octa-Core CPU, which while powerful, is also quite thirsty (it would appear).

How does it compare?

The short answer is not especially well. It might be that I’ve been a bit spoiled by the Xperia Z3, but there’s something that Sony has got right which really needs to be replicated across the Android platform. By default, without the power saving features activated, the Xperia Z3 battery is not great, despite its significant size. Even still, it did last from morning until mid-afternoon despite quite heavy usage, before needing a bit of a charge.

Once I discovered the Stamina mode, though, the Xperia Z3 went from a ‘most of the day’ phone, to a ‘couple of days’ phone, without any noticeable sacrifice in functionality. It’s just mindboggling that in this day and age of smartphones that last a day or so that Sony has hit one out of the park, with a handset that could last two days (or maybe more) of reasonably average use.

The S6 Edge certainly can’t emulate this. In fact, without power saving mode on, I believe it’d struggle to last half a day without needing a charge. Samsung has included a power saving feature, to be sure, but it just doesn’t seem to really do all that much.Still, by 2pm, with a morning of reasonably average use, I was down to 20% and looking for a power point, and this isn’t the first time.

What can we do?

Unlike previous Samsung Galaxy S-line devices, we can’t just grab an extra battery and carry it around with us, because Samsung has made the decision to seal in the battery, making it non-swappable. This means that you either need to (a) adjust your usage patterns quite significantly, (b) carry around a charger or turbocharger, or (c) make frequent use of charging cables, e.g. at your desk, in the car, and wherever you spend a bit of time.

Frankly, none of these are great options. I’ve long made light of iPhone users who are virtually tethered to walls, cars or desks because their phones go flat so quickly when not charging.  One need only walk around an airport and most of the phone users sneaking power out of the walls will be iPhone users.

I don’t think we should have to join them.

Having access to a turbo charger does make some difference — half an hour on charge will give you a ~50% increase in charge, and you can achieve a full charge in around an hour or so. If you’ve got one at your desk, and charge your phone up when you get back after lunch, you’ll be right until that night. Alternatively, having a Qi charging pad at your desk or wherever is a good compromise. Whenever you’re not using your phone, instead of placing it in your pocket or on your desktop, place it on the Qi pad instead, and you’ll keep it topped off for when you have to head out away from power.

Undoubtedly, with the S6 (and S6 Edge) bound to become popular devices, Mophie and companies like them will release battery add-on cases that add an extra 50-100% capacity to the phones, at the expense of a bit of thickness. Mophie already have one in the works which adds a 3,300mAh battery to the S6 Edge, taking its total capacity to 5,900 mAh (which would rival many smaller tablets).

Whether you want to add such a (relatively significant) add-on to your phone is a tough call; yes it’ll add more battery capacity (significantly more), but it also makes your slender, $1000 smartphone significantly fatter and less easy to carry around. Whether the trade-off is worth it will be a very subjective decision.

What can Samsung (and other OEMs) do?

For starters, they can simply include bigger batteries. I think they’ll find that while consumers love a thin, well designed phone, they’d accept an extra millimetre or two of thickness if it meant the ability to use a smartphone as it was intended, for a full day, without needing to find a charger before the evening.

Of course there’ll be outlier days; you make a hundred and one calls, or browse the web for a few hours during transit, and few phones will survive a day in such an environment. However, for the other 90% of the time, being able to get through the day is an absolute must.

Big companies are investing in battery technology research. Apple, Tesla and Google amongst them, and I’d be amazed if Samsung aren’t doing some research in this area too. That research will take time to pay off, but it absolutely must be pursued.

In the meantime, we, the users, just have to grin and bear it. We either want the latest phone with all the bells and whistles, and we accept whatever mediocre battery life we can extract from it, or we make do with the technology that’s not quite the latest and greatest, but can at least meet the requirements of our busy (untethered) lives.

What are your experiences with battery life in modern smartphones? Have you taken the plunge on an S6 or S6 Edge yet? How are you finding it? What tricks are you using to extract more battery life?

 

Chris Rowland   Editor and Publisher

Chris publishes one of Australia's most popular technology websites, Ausdroid. His interests include mobile (of course), as well as connected technology and how it can make all our lives easier.

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65 Comments on "Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge — Let’s talk battery life"

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Brick Novax
Valued Guest
Brick Novax
This is my first android phone (s6 edge). The battery life is atrocious. The phone itself is awesome though. However it does suck that you can’t go 12 hours without a charge (if you’re lucky). I keep the screen brightness to a minimum, disabled wifi calling, all bluetooth wifi etc. when not in use and switched off Voice over LTE. I also had to do a.. flash firmware (i think that’s what it’s called, pretty much a factory reset and reinstallation of software) because the phone ran really hot and laggy. When the phone is fully charged, screen bright, it’s… Read more »
Mark
Valued Guest
Mark

The battery size doesn’t match the screen resolution. It doesn’t matter how efficient the cpu/gpu is. I would rather have lower specs and not need to charge my phone before bedtime. (ideally >24hrs)

hans
Valued Guest
hans
My S6 can’t make it through the full day without some kind of extra charging on normal use. (Make some calls, texts, email, use some apps, ect) Which is what people do with their phones. And this is not good for a brand new phone. What happens when the phone is a year old? The battery life isn’t going to improve. As with all batteries they will eventually not hold as great of a charge as they do when brand new. What is the point of 20+ hour stand by when you use your phone throughout the day. I just… Read more »
Alejandro
Valued Guest
Alejandro

100% agree my S6 burns through battery like crazy even when I’m not using it and its on airplane/battery saving mode. It’s sad that my old phone had a better battery than this one and it came out 3 years ago.

jovan1256
Valued Guest
jovan1256

When I got my Note 4 it did the same thing. It was dead within 8 hrs. I changed some settings and it lasted 32hrs. I don’t think the phone is the issue as everyone else has the same phone.

Member

So far I’m getting better battery life than my S4 running stock Kit Kat with the same apps installed. Having a wireless charger at my desk/in my car will easily get me through the day too.

Member

I’m getting between 12-13 hours use with Google Play Music streaming pretty much all day. Using Juice Defender on a forced 30 min sync schedule and the default power saving mode turned on a well. The screen on time is definitely the battery killer.

WileyFox
Valued Guest
WileyFox

Here is my experience with the 6s: 100% to 5% in 9 hours with absolutely no usage. 100% to 12% in 6 hours with moderate usage. My spouse and I are taking ours back since this is an untenable situation for professionals on the go. Beautiful phones but unrealistic in the real world.

robertkoa
Valued Guest
robertkoa

Exactly.
S6 Pro at about 3/4 millimeters thicker would be about 3100 Mah if they go to 8 millimeters thick -maybe 3500 Mah like Galaxy Active but style and form like an S6 .
A glass and metal S6 at 8 millimeter thick.
For Professionals.

Brick Novax
Valued Guest
Brick Novax

You have to disable wfif calling, searching for bluetooth when not connected, same for wifi, and voice over lte

WileyFox
Valued Guest
WileyFox

Unacceptable. Why have the functions if you can’t use them. I trashed the Galaxy S6 Edge and bought the LG G4. I hated the Galaxy and now love the G4. No battery problems at all with the LG.

Brick Novax
Valued Guest
Brick Novax

i did a flash firmware somehting like that, and it resolved everything. phone runs super smoooth now

ACA7
Valued Guest
ACA7
Chris, I’ve got a question. I’m thinking about buying the S6 and then the wireless charger / car holder from Ausdroid store. The plan is that I’d wirelessly charge the phone while I’m in the car. In a lot of cases I’d also like to use Google Maps or other navigation (such as Here) as they drain the battery like there’s no tomorrow (or even evening). I read that the phone functions are limited while wireless charging (probably due to heat issues) so I wanted to find out if the GPS Navigation use case would work while charging. Is there… Read more »
SachmoJoe
Valued Guest
SachmoJoe

Hi Chris

What type of screen on time are you getting? I find that’s a pretty good way to gauge how it’ll go with my usage patterns.

vijay alapati
Valued Guest
vijay alapati

Black wallpaper might help battery? also black wallpaper for whatsapp message background and black theme 🙂

Brick Novax
Valued Guest
Brick Novax

For a 1000 dollar phone I should be able to have an awesome wallpaper

vijay alapati
Valued Guest
vijay alapati

Agreed,sorry didn’t mean it in a wrong way, its a workaround until samsung pushes a update with better battery score

Brick Novax
Valued Guest
Brick Novax

hey, i did a “flash firware” where I plugged in the phone to smart switch and then i wiped the phone clean, re installed the software and it works great now. there is a youtube video on it, just google s6 flash firware

Rawa
Valued Guest
Rawa

I have my note 3 at %37 with 2d 9h from last charge , screen time is
2H and 40M though , but it means it can get about 4 Hour screen with 3
full Day runtime to get to zero charge 🙂 happy with it

robertkoa
Valued Guest
robertkoa
Great, practical real world thoughts. One millimeter or LESS thickness on S6 could easily enable a 3000 or 3100 Mah Battery – problem solved. Maybe an S6 Plus or S6 Pro at about 7.6 mm thick and another $150 – so it does not cut into regular S6 sales should be offered. I hate to spend $760 USA including tax on a Phone and have to dance around Battery weakness issues. Great Camera I need but Battery will annoy me… Maybe the S6 Active – rumored to have a larger Battery can be repackaged without ugly and annoying Hardware Buttons… Read more »
jovan1256
Valued Guest
jovan1256

This reviewer is either full of tihS or he doesnt know the meaning of average use. no one else experiences that low kevel of battery power. Not other reveiwers and not actual consumers.

robertkoa
Valued Guest
robertkoa

Many have reported similar issues and similar short run times.

Many Pro Reviewers have been vague about
short battery life.

Chris
Valued Guest

This reviewer isn’t full of shit, or anything else, thank you. I’ve been reviewing phones for five years, and I like to think I have some idea of what I’m talking about when I use the words “average use”. I can, and do, say that hand on heart, the battery life in the Galaxy S6 / S6 Edge is below par. Whether its a battery that isn’t big enough, or hardware that consumes too much, the balance isn’t right here, and in a $1000 phone, it should be.

Daniel Tyson
Ausdroid Manager

Actually my wife has complained about her battery life since she got it on Friday. And you’ll find others complaining about the S6/S6 Edge battery life as well. Thanks for clicking through, we appreciate the page view.

chris
Valued Guest
chris

The phone is brand new, days old. Do you know a number of people using them not getting those results ? Why is it there are numerous posts here and on the other battery related story agreeing with it ? they even include screen shots and more.

I tend to find the guys at Ausdroid are pretty spot on.

It appears you don’t know tihS about anything as clearly you think highly of yourself and your “facts”.

I think you had better apologise or please go away and read some other site.

jovan1256
Valued Guest
jovan1256

My appologies if I offended you though. I forgot its actually people with feelings write these things. My applologies

jovan1256
Valued Guest
jovan1256

DW Duck’s review proves what i just said……not far from s5

jovan1256
Valued Guest
jovan1256

of all the reviews I looked at excluding this one, reviewers are getting at least a days usage and some claim that its not far from the galaxy s5. People who actually own the s6 commented on those reviews in agreement. But hey! You had it in your hand already. Im waiting for mine!

robertkoa
Valued Guest
robertkoa

Semantics here.
Fine- Power Users or heavy users- will have problems with these Phones.
The Forums are filling with Battery Tips and Problems.
Most pro Reviews are vague and NOT publishing actual Screen On Times- but publishing tests that do not reflect Real World Usage.
Wifi Statistics are silly because if you have Wifi – you usually have Power Outlets anyway.
S6 and S6 Edge are great but you will see lots of battery complaints as they are out on LTE Networks IMO.

james
Valued Guest
james

I got my s6 and experienced this. Then found out the facebook app and facebook messenger app were causing it (by checking battery status). Delete them and notice your phone lasting for well over a day.

Member

Facebook and Messenger have between 1-5 billion downloads each. It’s a bit hard to suggest to so many people that if you want good battery life, you should delete these.

robertkoa
Valued Guest
robertkoa

Good tip.
Many Apps” check in ” or spontaneously turn on which eats battery…

DW Duck
Valued Guest
DW Duck

I’m getting at least the same usage on my S6 edge add I did with my S5. Seems the longer I have it the better it gets. Granted it doesn’t last as long as my note 4,but I knew that long before I ordered the phone. I’ve had it for about 2 weeks now and am happy with the battery life.

robertkoa
Valued Guest
robertkoa

Lasting as long as S5 sounds good.
Can you get 5 to 6 hours SOT over a 12 hour day at 25% to 30% brightness with
Sync and location OFF ?

DW Duck
Valued Guest
DW Duck

I NEVER ruin my screen that low.. Maybe around 80%. I get 3 to 4 hours on screen time though

Member

Great article.
This unfortunately just took the S6 (Edge) off my list of wants. such as pity.

Like you say, I’d be fine with an extra mm in phone width for more battery life. The Qi does help in topping up, but shouldn’t mean the battery shouldn’t last a day at least.

robertkoa
Valued Guest
robertkoa

RE: 7.5 millimeter thick Device ( about half to .7 thicker ) for 3100 Mah Battery.

IF Samsung could do a Pro Version or S6 Active Variation- that does not have the ugly hardware buttons which could get annoying to press hundreds of times each Day- it would be great.

But CAN they do this without admitting S6 is underpowered ?

jovan1256
Valued Guest
jovan1256

Yo the battery life isnas the same as on the s5. this article is nonsense

Member
TT
Valued Guest

I will definitely buy it if there is a stock android version of that.

Boulton
Valued Guest
Boulton

It’s 2015. Manufacturer’s must surely have figured out by now that a phone has to at least last a full day even with heavy use. It’s a pity, the S6 was the first Samsung phone that genuinely interested me in years. Moving right along.

geoff fieldew
Valued Guest
We all use our phones differently. Although I would probably class myself as a heavy user during weekdays, I’ve developed the habit of splitting my use between my phone and tablet. One of the great things about a Nexus 7 is that I can set it up fairly similarly to my phone. This actually wasn’t necessary with the Z3 Compact as I could never kill it in a day. It would last all day even with up to 10 hours screen on time! Yesterday my Galaxy S6 gave up after only 11.5 hours use. Considering my screen on time was… Read more »
robertkoa
Valued Guest
robertkoa

Wow. Z3 Compact sounds great.
Hope they do a Z4 Compact more rugged with better Camera and better QC .
Seemed like the Z3C was easy to break back glass and also issues like missing texts etc. So I went with Alpha instead.

But hope Z4 C is a powerhouse and may just get one…unless I go for the S6 even with weak Battery.

Member

Do we know there will be a Z4 Compact? Sony skipped the Z2 Compact.

Jamie Saltmarsh
Valued Guest
Jamie Saltmarsh

Yep, that was my biggest concern with the S6, the battery. I guess a lot of people will be waiting to see how the G4 compares before selling a kidney to buy an S6.

geoff fieldew
Valued Guest

How many hours off the charger can you get from the M9 Jamie and what is your screen on time during that usage?

Jamie Saltmarsh
Valued Guest
Jamie Saltmarsh

This is the one I was trying to post before there was a throttling malfunction

Guest
Valued Guest
Guest

Currently sitting at 10hrs 30 mins with around 2.5 hrs SOT with 30% remaining. With battery saver on I can get 15 hrs and above with about 3-4 SOT. The battery has now settled in but unfortunately the camera is still hit and miss. It’s a shame because I like everything else about it.

geoff fieldew
Valued Guest

What’s the screen on time? Screenshot it too please.

Jamie Saltmarsh
Valued Guest
Jamie Saltmarsh

Yep the screen Time sucks b’s

robertkoa
Valued Guest
robertkoa

Screen On Time of 3 to 4 hours is not good for me.
30 to 60 minutes of calls and 2 hours on Internet and I am done ?
Give me a thicker S6 please.

geoff fieldew
Valued Guest

I’ve been mostly indoors today and the battery life has been really good. 14 hours with 3 hours screen on time and I’ve only used 50% battery

robertkoa
Valued Guest
robertkoa

Geoff- thanks for Posting – I don’ t mind using 20 or 25% brightness- is that your Key for the 6 hour SOT ?
Location, Sync off and low brightness are OK with me for long SOTs.

Member

Mine has been on 50% Auto brightness all day but I havent been in bright areas all that much. I’ve mostly been on WiFi too. I have 10% battery left for 21.5 hours with 6 hours of SOT. I can show screenshots later if necessary. I must sleep now, lol.

robertkoa
Valued Guest
robertkoa

Ah the Wifi is probably the reason for longer SOT but Indoors on my Alpha I can live with 25% brightness..wonder how LTE would be at 25% ?
Sleep? I thought you Aussies were so rugged that you only sleep every few days – lol.
Thanks for responses.

Jamie Saltmarsh
Valued Guest
Jamie Saltmarsh

That’s pretty good.

geoff fieldew
Valued Guest

That’s about the same as the S6 mate. Actually, it’s worse. The screen on time is the real teller as that’s when your battery drains the most.

Jamie Saltmarsh
Valued Guest
Jamie Saltmarsh

Currently sitting at 10hrs 30 mins with around 2.5 hrs SOT with 30% remaining. With battery saver on I can get 15 hrs and above with about 3-4 SOT. The battery has now settled in but unfortunately the camera is still hit and miss. It’s a shame because I like everything else about it.

Alex
Valued Guest
Alex
This unfortunately takes the Samsung off my list of possible replacements for my aged HTC m7. Some of us don’t tend to replace phones every 6 to 12 months, usually due to 2 year contracts, and in that time the HTC One has gone from a day and a half per charge to half a day. That’s a combination of the effects of age and charge cycles on a battery, plus Lollipop seems to have hit it somewhat hard as well (nothing fancy for a ROM; phone has just been converted to use GPe instead of Sense). So if the… Read more »
jovan1256
Valued Guest
jovan1256

And u believed this article??? ask actuall users what their battery life is. You will see its much different to what this articlr said

geoff fieldew
Valued Guest
2 year contracts are a complete sham in my opinion. Phones usually only have a 1 year warranty. As you’ve said, and I’ve experienced the same thing myself, battery life is degraded into a phone’s 2 year of life. I’ve also found that overall performance isn’t very impressive on a phone after only 1 year of use. I guess the carriers are trying to make the monthly repayments cheaper by using a 2 year subsidy model but personally, I think we’d all be better off moving to one year contracts. Better still, buy outright. If the initial outlay is too… Read more »
Alex
Valued Guest
Alex
Not sure I agree. Yes, a contract that exceeds the expected lifetime or usefulness of the device is wrong. The statement that it’s cheaper to buy outright and use BYO plans is actually wrong from what I can tell. I currently burn through 3 to 4GB of data a month and make a lot of international calls. It’s a work device, and gets used. Looking at numbers, rather than assumptions, I find this across Voda/Optus/Virgin (Telstra’s pricing for international use is ridiculous, so I don’t consider them a viable option for my use, but what’s right for me is not… Read more »
Member
It always works out cheaper for me to buy outright as I’m on a good grandfathered prepaid plan. If you factor in $300-$400 for the sale of your flagship phones in 12 months time then the numbers should be closer. But if it doesn’t work out for you, fair enough. Telstra’s new phone freedom thing is at least a step in the right direction. The other benefit is that you get a phone that is untouched by the carriers and will likely get updates earlier. I know most people think differently. The carriers have made it easy to get a… Read more »
WIll
Valued Guest
WIll

It is Australian law that if you have a 2 year contract that the manufacturers warranty is upheld for the life of the contract

shahid
Valued Guest
shahid

Don’t forget there’s always the option to re-contract early with the same carrier. It’s what I often do and you get that added security of being able to get your phone repaired quite easily if something goes wrong.

I’m with Telstra (because of coverage…) and still have 80 bucks phone repayment to pay and if I decide to re-contract I’ll have to pay an extra 50 on top. Even then I could easily make that back from selling my phone on eBay.

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