Every new smartphone brings with it the inevitable question: how good is the battery life? Smartphone technology has advanced rapidly over the past ten years, but while there have been some improvements in battery technology, it definitely hasn’t kept up the pace. Packed full of a plethora of features, battery life can be the make or break feature for a smartphone, so how does the OnePlus 5 battery stack up?
In the last month since its launch, we’ve been trying out OnePlus’ new flagship, in a bid to answer how good the battery life actually is. As part of our new reviews process, we’ve tested it in our lab using our custom battery app, as well as used it as a daily driver and below, we’re outlining the results, as well as showing how it compares to last year’s OnePlus 3T flagship, as well as three of its current flagship rivals: the Galaxy S8, LG G6 and Google Pixel XL.
Google Pixel XL
Quick Charge 3.0
US version only
Based on the specs, you might think the largest capacity battery will have the best battery life, but there’s more to battery life than just capacity. Clean code, rogue apps, background processes and display resolution can all have large impacts on battery life, so how does the OnePlus 5 battery life compare to these other devices? Let’s find out:
Wi-Fi Browsing test (higher is better)
The first benchmark test we ran was Wi-Fi browsing. Our Wi-Fi test repeatedly loads a selection of webpages until the battery goes from 100% to zero. Device displays are set to 200 nits brightness and pages are loaded over Wi-Fi with airplane mode enabled. Auto-updates and any battery saver modes are also disabled during the test.
The OnePlus 5 battery won the battle here, with a benchmark rating of 11 hours and 7 minutes, while the Pixel XL (10 hours 38 minutes) narrowly beat the Galaxy S8 (10 hours 31 minutes) into third place. The LG G6 came in last place with a measly rating – by comparison, at least – of 8 hours and 31 minutes. The OnePlus 3T by comparison, ranked in at 9 hours and 47 minutes, which represents a ~13.6% increase in a year for OnePlus.
Gaming test (higher is better)
Our next benchmark tests for battery life while gaming, which is known to tax battery life more than browsing thank to the enhanced graphical demands. Our test runs Epic Citadel, a 3D gaming simulation with a fully charged battery until the battery is depleted, while the display is set to 200 nits. A key point to note is that this runs at the max resolution of the device, meaning the OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 3T are running at Full HD, while the LG G6, Pixel XL and Galaxy S8 are all running at QHD, or equivalent.
3D gaming is amongst the most demanding tasks you can ask of your smartphone, but some phones are better equipped to handle those demands than others. In this test, the OnePlus 5 far exceeded the battery life of the competition, lasting 9 hours and 54 minutes compared to the OnePlus 3T, which came in second at 6 hours and 54 minutes. An improvement of ~43.5% year-on-year is testament to improvements made by OnePlus, but the OnePlus 5′ scores also serve as an indictment of the differences that display resolution can make on battery life.
Of the three other Android flagships, the LG G6 and Galaxy S8 both achieved the same rating of 5 hours and 21 minutes, while the Pixel XL came in last at 4 hours and 43 minutes. The differences between QHD and Full HD displays is quite stark, with Full HD smartphones rating an average battery life of 8 hours and 24 minutes, which is 64% higher than the QHD phones in our test, which scored an average of 5 hours and 8 minutes.
Video Playback test (higher is better)
Our last dedicated battery test is for video playback, perhaps the most common way to deplete your battery by doing just one thing. With YouTube taking up hours of many people’s day, video playback is likely to be a big drain on OnePlus 5 battery life for most users. As you have probably guessed, our test runs an endless loop of video to see how long each device lasts before the battery runs from full to empty. The Full HD video file at 23.9fps, was stored locally and Wi-Fi was turned off.
This test resulted in some interesting results, with the OnePlus 5 again out in front, albeit at a much smaller margin over its nearest competitor, with its rating of 13 hours and 6 minutes. The OnePlus 3T came in second at 11 hours and 57 minutes but the Galaxy S8 is arguably the most impressive of these, with a rating of 11 hours and 49 minutes, despite a larger, and more dense, display. The LG G6 comes in fourth at 8 hours and 56 minutes and the Pixel XL ranks in lowest at 7 hours and 1 minute, despite it having the largest capacity of all of these phones.
Average Battery Test (higher is better)
The last of these tests is our general battery test, which uses a combination of the above three dedicated tests to simulate “general” usage and extrapolate a battery life figure. Of course, your mileage will vary as your usage does, but because this test is identical on each device, it gives a good indication of how well each phone can handle a variety of everyday tasks. As our tests have shown, different phones excel in different ways, so which phone offers the best all round battery life?
In this test, the OnePlus 5 yet again proves to be the most durable competitor, with an average all-round battery life rating of 6 hours and 52 minutes, followed by the OnePlus 3T in second with a rating of 6 hours and 17 minutes. It is followed by the Galaxy S8 in third with 6 hours and 2 minutes, the Pixel XL in fourth at 5 hours and 52 minutes, and the LG G6 in fifth with 5 hours and 31 minutes. In the space of a year and one generation of phone, OnePlus has managed to increase its average battery life by just under 10 percent, or around 35 minutes.
Battery Charging Time (lower is better)
So how well does the OnePlus 5 battery handle when it comes to charging speed? Great question.
When it comes to charging times there are two main things to consider: the capacity of the battery and the charging tech involved. All things being equal, a smaller battery will charge faster than a larger battery (although all batteries charge faster at the beginning and slow down as they near a full charge). But each manufacturer also has their own custom fast charging tech, some of which is better than others. So, to keep things on an even keel, we’ve ranked our devices in two different ways:
The first is straight forward: which device charged the fastest, regardless of how large its battery cell is. This is our “real world” test and aims to show how long it will take to device your charge from completely flat. Our second test aims to reveal which device charges the fastest, pound-for-pound, and pits each manufacturer’s fast charging solution against each other.
In the first test, the OnePlus 3T charged the fastest, with its battery charging to full in 87 minutes, while the OnePlus 5 was slightly behind at 90 minutes and the Galaxy S8 came a very close third at 92 minutes. Qualcomm’s Quick Charge solution proved to be the slowest in this first test, with the LG G6 a little faster than the Pixel XL at a charging time of 104 and 111 minutes respectively.
Adaptive Fast Charging
Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0
Google Pixel XL
Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0
In our second test, it’s time to pit Qualcomm’s Quick Charge (on the LG G6 and Pixel XL) against Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charging and OnePlus’ Dash Charge solution. Pound-for-pound, which smartphone charges the fastest per minute on average (remembering that this is averaged out as smartphones tend to charge slower as they approach full battery)?
The OnePlus 3T juices up at ~39 mAh per minute on average, while the OnePlus 5 came in a little slower at ~37 mAh per minute. Next up was the Galaxy S8 at ~33 mAh per minute, while the LG G6 (~32 mAh per minute) and the Google Pixel XL (~31 mAh per minute) topped out the list.
OnePlus 5 battery life vs competition – Wrap Up
The OnePlus 5 battery may be smaller than its predecessor, but the Chinese company has managed to make improvements on the battery front, with its latest flagship lasting on average 21% longer than the OnePlus 3T. Compared to the competition, the OnePlus 5 lasts on average 45% longer than both the LG G6 and Pixel XL, and 22% longer than the Galaxy S8, although it’s worth noting that all of these three devices have a much higher density display (and in the case of the Galaxy S8, a ~9% smaller battery).
Looking past the data, it’s clear that a Full HD display definitely delivers better battery life than a QHD display – which is obvious when you think about it – but Samsung shows that a smaller battery and QHD display doesn’t have to mean a much poorer battery experience. We’re planning to follow this up with further testing on the Galaxy S8 with the display set to Full HD resolution, just to see how big a difference it actually makes.
It's not quite the 2+ day battery life that we've all been yearning for, but the OnePlus 5 definitely comes close
In actual real world usage, the OnePlus 5 has proven to be a very stellar companion, lasting through every day and on most days, lasting until the end of the next day. This is with an average of 4.5 to 6 hours’ screen on time and although phone calls in particular do drain the battery somewhat, the OnePlus 5 battery certainly does a pretty good job at keeping the handset powered all day. It’s not quite the 2+ day battery life that we’ve all been yearning for, but the OnePlus 5 definitely comes close.
What do you think of the OnePlus 5 battery life and would you buy one based on these tests? What do you think of our testing methods and how can we improve? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!