The iPhone 7 may be touted by Apple as its best smartphone ever, as is tradition, but sometimes your best just isn’t good enough. Which? testing has revealed that the battery on the iPhone 7 doesn’t last as long as its three major rivals.
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Smartphone battery life: The results
Our iPhone 7 is running iOS 10, the latest version of Apple’s operating system, and all three of the Android handsets are running Marshmallow 6.0.
Whilst the iPhone 7’s 712 minutes of call time (nearly 12 hours) may sound acceptable, the rival Samsung Galaxy S7 lasted twice as long – and it doesn’t even have the longest lasting battery. The HTC 10 lasted an incredible 1,859 minutes (that’s almost 31 hours).
When it comes to internet browsing time, arguably the more important measurement, the results were a lot closer. Close, but the iPhone 7 still came bottom. The 615 minutes of battery life offered by the iPhone 7 is 25 minutes less than its nearest rival, the LG G5, and 175 minutes less than the top performing HTC 10. In fact, the HTC 10’s 3G internet browsing time was even longer than the iPhone 7’s 3G call time. It doesn’t make for pretty reading for Apple.
Of course having the longest battery life isn’t everything when it comes to picking the best phone. You can find the full results of our smartphone tests, including screen quality, processor speed and how the cameras on each handset stack up by reading our mobile phone reviews.
Why does the iPhone 7 battery fare so poorly?
So just why does the iPhone 7 have such a poor battery life? It may sound obvious, but the majority of the fault lies in its comparatively tiny cell. Smartphone batteries are measured in milliampere hours (mAh). The iPhone 7 has a 1,960mAh battery, whilst the HTC 10 has a 3,000mAh battery: it should hardly be surprising that one battery nearly half the size of another offers roughly half as much charge.
How Which? tests smartphone battery life
In the interest of fairness, we test battery life using our own phone network simulator. This ensures that the signal strength is consistent for each test, which is important as a phone has to expend more power when it’s struggling for reception. We also set the screen brightness on every phone to the same level. Finally, we perform a full ‘power cycle’ of each phone’s battery prior to testing – that means fully discharging and then charging it.
For the tests we made a continuous call over 3G for the call time test and access a regularly updating special web page over 3G to measure web browsing time.
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