The news that PhoneArena ran a battery test on the new Moto X carried the headline, “battery life test is done and the results ain’t pretty” made me smile. That’s because humans are fickle: the website image shows that the Moto X’s result is in their “good” camp but the reviewer was not satisfied with how well the device fared. PhoneArena’s battery test is described as “a custom web-script, designed to replicate the power consumption of typical real-life usage” but we do not have any details beyond this. However, the device managed a run time of 5 hours, 45 minutes from the battery capacity of 2,300 mAh, which compares with 7 hours, 12 minutes for the HTC One (M8) and 2,600 mAh, 7 hours 38 minutes for the Samsung Galaxy S5’s 2,800 mAh and 6 hours 14 minutes for the LG G3’s 3,000 mAh. I am not surprised that the Moto X’s smaller battery gives less battery life, but I cannot claim that this means the Moto X has poor battery life. If you take a deeper look into PhoneArena’s results database, the 2014 Moto X has the same runtime as the 2013 HTC One: both devices share the same battery capacity. This might mean that Motorola have some additional optimisation to make. PhoneArena also state that the Moto X gives them around fifteen hours of use with Moto Voice enabled and longer without, but we don’t have any additional detail.
No matter what the statistics of a given handset, battery life remains subjective and with many, many variables. How I use my own particular device and how happy I am with the battery life may be, and likely is, completely at odds with how you, the reader use your handset and how happy you are with it. Some of the metrics that we can use to assess battery life include the size and quoted capacity of the battery, the processor type and speed, the screen and what networks are used. Broad rules of thumb are that the best battery life is achieved through the smallest possible screen with a modest resolution, equipped with the biggest possible battery, running a modern mid-range dual or quad core processor and connected via WiFi. Big screens, small batteries, thin chassis designs, LTE or 3G connections and high end processors are all bad news. Except smartphone manufacturers like to give us big screens, high end processors, more radios than we can shake a fist at and an überthin design. The 2014 Moto X matches a 5.2-inch AMOLED screen, 2.5 GHz quad core processor, LTE network with a 2,300 mAh battery. The Samsung Galaxy S5 has a slightly smaller screen, the same processor and network and a higher capacity battery. I would expect the S5 to have stronger battery life.
And then there’s something else: one of the first world problems caused by a new product launch is that many websites rush to get a review published as quickly as possible. I agree that it is useful to get something out there for readers, but something we do at AndroidHeadlines is we wait for a time before getting our review out there. This isn’t because we’re too busy playing with the handset (right, Alex? Right?!) but because it takes time to assess, compare and formulate an opinion. Battery life tends to improve during the first week for two reasons: one, the battery is bedding in and two, the user isn’t fiddling with the device so much! The real question here is: does the Moto X have the juice to go through a normal day of use? Alex will be along to let us know in due course.