Apple Accused of Overhyping Battery Life

John Lister's picture

A consumer group has accused Apple of significantly overstating battery life on iPhones. The group also said some manufacturer's smartphones perform much better than advertised.

The claims come from "Which?," a British organization similar to Consumer Reports in the US. It tested a range of handsets from five leading manufacturers: Apple, HTC, Nokia, Samsung and Sony. (Source:

The tests were specifically about talk time: how long the battery lasts while making voice calls. That's provoked some criticism from people who argue this is only a small part of battery life and many users are more likely to drain the battery through either active WiFi use or unwanted background activity by apps.

Indeed, Which? itself looks at battery life for continuous WiFi use when reviewing individual handsets as they are released.

HTC Also Underperforms

In this multi-handset test, the organization found all nine iPhone models tested had talk time that was less than advertised. The most extreme was the high-end iPhone XR which only lasted 16 hours 32 minutes compared with the 25 hours advertised talk time.

HTC phones also underperformed, though not significantly. Across the tested range, the advertised average talk time was 20.5 hours, while the average time in the tests was 19.6 hours.

Nokia, Samsung and Sony handsets all did better than advertised, with Sony phones averaging 21 percent longer talk time than Sony claimed. The most "overachieving" handset was the Sony Xperia Z5 Compact which was billed as having a 17 hour talk time but actually lasted almost 26 hours.

Testing Method Affects Results

Contacted for comment by Which?, Apple said it stood by its claim, which were based on rigorous testing that it publicly details. HTC said any variation might be down to the way the testing was done.

Meanwhile independent website said its own testing actually showed the XR to have the best battery life among the iPhones it tested. However, that testing was based more on app use such as web browsing, rather than making phone calls. (Source:

What's Your Opinion

Do these figures sound reliable or could the variation just be down to testing method? How much weight do you put on claimed battery life? Is it useful to concentrate on talk time or are you more concerned with how other phone use drains battery?

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Dennis Faas's picture

Since owning a smartphone I rarely ever use it for talking. I use it mostly for texting via SMS, Whatsapp, or Messenger. When I'm bored I'll look at Facebook or use the browser.

Even so, it's hard to judge one phone over the other in terms of battery life because each phone uses a different operating system and has different software embedded. Some phones also come bundled with junk apps that drain battery life.

I know for a fact that my Samsung S6 Edge came bundled with useless garbage apps that run in the background and cannot be uninstalled (only disabled). Peel Remote is by far the biggest POS ever invented, and to this day I don't know why Samsung ever agreed to let them put it on their phones. Having spammy advertising apps that push full screen popup ads on your phone 24/7 is definitely going to drain battery life.