John Galea's Blog

My blog on Gadgets and the like

Android 2.2 battery life on Nexus one

I’ve been doing some profiling of Android 2.2 battery life and have found some interesting stuff out. Ok, first some explanation. I have been focusing on idle battery life and focusing specifically on data and it’s effect on battery life. Most of the time the phone sits idly doing little so if you can save your battery power for the important stuff then your ahead of the game. I have done this on my primary device so what that means is sometimes I might get a call, pick up the device to do stuff and the like. So the data is not 100% clean. Also, I have tested using a program called Battery graph which simply saves the % battery life at 5 minute intervals. I have not used any sophisticated current monitors or the like. So with this explained on with my findings.

When I originally started this investigation I though the best way to control battery life would simply to be to toggle data between 2G and 3G. There are a number of problems with this I discovered. To toggle 2g/3g requires the radio power to be cycled on and off. This means there is a brief period of time when the phone is unavailable. It also means there is a delay while you wait for it to switch. Quite an annoying delay too. And this is a manual process. I could not find a program that would do this automatically. I thought it would be kewl to have the phone auto switch to 2G when in the background and come to life to 3G when the phone was woken up. I was unable to find one and I suspect it’s because of how intrusive and slow this process is.

So instead I discovered there are a number of programs that simply turn data on/off and control data power draw this way. This works much faster. You do need to be aware that these programs (or some of them anyway) mess around with the APN settings. So be careful. if you allow them to mess with the settings and then uninstall the program your stuck with manually figuring out how to put the settings back 🙂 I focussed on free programs because I was not on my own personal device so didn’t want to spend any money on them.

Remember, on top of the savings of the radio for data, there’s also the CPU usage to process and work with that data. This includes email, sync’ing, etc. And most programs seem to spend some time talking back to the mother ship. Things like the market place periodically checking for updated programs, etc. And then there’s all the ad supported software grabbing new ads. All this gets suspended when data is off! The savings can be quite noticeable.

DC Switch gives you a widget to turn data off and on manually. Very simple.

Juicedefender which turns data on for 1 minute every 15 as well as anytime the device wakes up. A very kewl program. If you buy the pay version you have a lot more control.

2G/3G On off allows you to manually control your 3G data

Data on demand turns on data when you wake the device up and allows you to setup schedules for when you want data. Let’s face it when you are sitting at your desk 9-5 through the week you don’t need data on in the background!

Data analysis

So with 3G running in the background using data for email and whatever else I figure you would get about 25.5 hrs of standby time. Using Juice Defender on 2G/Edge data I found I could extend that out as far as 48 hours. With no data whatsoever you could get a whopping 63 hours! So this is why focusing on your 3G data used can save battery life HUGE!

Here’s another page on battery life on Android


September 28, 2010 - Posted by | Android

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