Samsung made plenty of noise about the ultra power saving mode on its Samsung Galaxy S5 when the flagship phone launched. It’s no wonder. While heart rate monitors and fingerprint scanners may grab the headlines, boosting battery life is something that users genuinely care about.
Batteries have been getting bigger for the last couple of years but the power saving mode on the S5 offers something more. It promises to eke out more life from the last 10% of your battery by turning off certain features and even flipping your home screen to black and white.
Of course power saving modes aren’t new. The difference is they have become more powerful and more customisable. But do they work? We sent the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8 and Sony Xperia Z2 to our lab to put their power saving modes through a real life test. You can see the results below
Phone reviews – read our verdict on all the latest handsets
More battery, fewer missed calls
Good news all around. The S5 added an extra four hours on to the last 10% of battery life when in power saving mode, as did the Xperia Z2, while the HTC One M8 went one better with five hours.
These are meaningful differences that should help you make that crucial call or receive that important text message before your battery runs out of juice.
How we tested power saving modes
Since there’s no standard for this type of test, Which? decided to conduct a one-off comparison to identify how much benefit the power saving modes offer. This test is a snapshot in time and actual battery life can vary depending on your usage.
Which? tested each phone after running down the battery to 10% life. Two battery tests per phone were conducted, one with the power saving mode switched on (to the default setting) and one with it turned off. The test comprised a mix of mostly standby time plus some calls and web browsing.
We’ve listed below the power saving mode we used during the test and the features that were affected:
Sony Xperia Z2 – Low battery mode
This mode can be programmed to be activated once the battery gets to a preset level. You can select the features that are affected but the default settings (which includes turning off mobile web browsing) are as follows:
- mobile data off
- reduced screen brightness
- faster screen timeout
- auto sync off
- Bluetooth & wi-fi off
- GPS off
- vibrate on touch off
HTC One M8 – Extreme power saving mode
This puts the device into a basic menu mode and can be programmed to be activated once the battery levels gets to a preset level. The mode does the following:
- reduces CPU usage
- reduces screen brightness
- turns off vibration feedback
- turns off the data connection when the screen is inactive
- allows only essential apps to run
- turns off the pedometer
Samsung Galaxy S5 – Ultra power saving mode
When using the ultra power saving mode, the S5’s display turns to black and grey and the functions listed below are either turned off or or run at a reduced rate:
- turns off background data when screen is off
- turns off wi-fi and Bluetooth
- turns off GPS
- turns off vibration feedback
- restricts usage to essential applications and those selected by you
How important is battery life to you when buying a phone? And what do you make of the HTC One M8’s performance? Let us know in the comments section below.