When buying a new smartphone, what makes us choose one carrier over another? Device selection? Sure, but let’s consider a phone like the Galaxy S5 or HTC One M8 that’s broadly available on different networks. What then? Maybe you’re already locked-in to service with one carrier, or maybe one has plans that are really attractive. Maybe you live someplace where reception is spotty, and some carriers have better coverage than others. But one thing we rarely consider when making these types of decisions is battery life. Perhaps we should, though, as one study points out how consistently longer smartphones seem to last when operating on T-Mobile.
Laptop Magazine tested the Galaxy S5, S4, HTC One M8, and last year’s M7 on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. It turned off WiFi, set screen brightness to a consistent level, and placed the phones where they could receive a strong cellular signal before putting them through a web-surfing torture test until their batteries were depleted.
In all four tests, the phones running on T-Mobile lasted close to an hour or more longer than they did on any other network. The most pronounced difference occurred with the One M7, which didn’t get better than six hours on Verizon, Sprint, or AT&T, yet lasted over eight hours running on T-Mobile.
Why the big difference? There’s not a clear answer, but one factor could be bloat – fewer pre-installed apps means less software running in the background (not to mention sending data), means better battery life. As such, we’d be curious to see what these tests might look like on a model like an iPhone, but those figures aren’t available this time around.