Truth About Battery Statistics in Android

I bought my current phone “OnePlus 2” on 20th September 2015. Like every technology enthusiast I was happy, very very happy. I bought it after doing a lot of online research about the whole hardware and software thing. Also one of my teammate helped me get an invite (really frustrating idea, thank god OnePlus got rid of it).

I knew it had certain issues like overheating due to Snapdragon 810 processor and I was okay with that fact.

While using the phone I was also reading news about the battery life of many other phones and how do people measure the battery life of them

There was one common term used in each of the phone’s battery review, and that was SOT aka Screen On Time. This literally means the amount of time the display of your phone was ON i.e. showing content on the display of your phone. I found this term very very misleading while analyzing the battery life.

Let me tell you why I feel that.

To give you the premise of my understanding, if you are doing certain tasks like streaming Audio/Video, browsing, texting on LTE networks, you will lose more battery while doing the same tasks on a WiFi network.

So what does it mean in terms of numbers?

Lets take an example of video streaming on YouTube. Assume that an hour long video takes sucks 10% of your battery while watching it on WiFi network, the same video will consume somewhere around 15% to 18% of your battery (Depending upon how big is your phone’s battery).

So, it means that on LTE it will have same screen on time but at a higher cost of battery. If you combine the same impact of battery drainage for all your internet hungry apps, the statistics of screen on time will have a huge difference for WiFi and LTE, and this difference can be as big as 50% drop in Screen On Time for the same phone.

This is my phone’s screen on time with mixed usage, which is WiFi and LTE.

Here is my phone’s screen on time with only LTE usage that too on keeping battery saver on almost half of the day.

This is not the end of analysis

We only have talked about the WiFi vs LTE, let’s talk about, what if you ditch the internet for a whole day on your phone, and started consuming all the media stored on your phone?

If you watch the same YouTube video but it was downloaded prior, now you are watching it offline, it will consume even lesser battery than WiFi, contributing to a very huge screen on time compared to LTE or WiFi. Essentially it can bring a great boost to your battery life.

Conclusion

The Screen on time is a parameter to measure how long the screen was ON and while it does reflect the battery life of your phone, but it is not the only parameter which affects the battery. The kind of network you are connected with, apps running in the background when the screen is off etc. also affect your battery in a big way.

There is no problem in mentioning the SOT, but the issue is that, all the tech reviewers represent it as the only criteria to measure battery life of a phone, which should stop.

Thanks for reading!!

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