The iPhone 4S and the 100 hours of lost standby time

The iPhone 4S and the 100 hours of lost standby time

Summary: The iPhone 4 boasted 300 hours of standby time, but the iPhone 4S only offers 200 hours. Why?

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Quick, spot the missing data point from this table that Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide product marketing at Apple, is showing at the iPhone 4S launch event?

Give up? It's standby time. How long your handset will last between charges while it's sitting on the desk on in your pocket doing nothing (well, actually, it's doing a lot, but you're not doing anything with the phone). I thought at the time that it was odd that Apple didn't offer up this piece of information so I waited for the iPhone 4S tech specs to go live online.

200 hours ... At the time I was doing my initial rundown of the iPhone 4S I found this odd and noted it:

Talk-time battery life up to 8 hours (up from 7 hours for the iPhone 4) BUT standby time down to 200 hours (from 300 hours for the iPhone 4)

300 hours to 200 hours is a huge drop. A slashing of the standby time by a third, down from 12.5 days to 8.3 days. In fact, this is the worst standby time of any iPhone so far:

  • iPhone - 250 hours standby time
  • iPhone 3G - 300 hours standby time
  • iPhone 3GS - 300 hours standby time
  • iPhone 4 - 300 hours standby time
  • iPhone 4S - 200 hours standby time

Note: These numbers are small compared to, say, the standby time offered by a handset like the Samsung Galaxy S II, which offers a whopping 710 hours (29.5 days) of standby on 2G and 610 hours (25.4 days) on 3G.

But it's not the only battery metric to take a dive. While 3G talk time, 2G talk time, 3G web browsing, video playback and audio playback are either the same or better than the iPhone 4, WiFi browsing time is down from 10 hours on the iPhone 4 to 9 hours for the iPhone 4S.

Let's take a look at how Apple tests batteries, specifically, standby time:

Testing conducted by Apple in September 2011 using preproduction iPhone 4S units and software, on both GSM and CDMA carrier networks. All settings were default except: Wi-Fi was associated with a network; the Wi-Fi feature Ask to Join Networks was turned off. Battery life depends on the cellular network, location, signal strength, feature configuration, usage, and many other factors. Battery tests are conducted using specific iPhone units; actual results may vary.

So WiFi is left on during standby battery tests. It might be that Apple has increased the amount of power used by the WiFi, perhaps to improve signal. But it might not be. Maybe the dual core A5 processor takes more electrical oomph even when dormant. Maybe it's down to software bugs in iOS. Maybe it's down to the Siri voice recognition system running all the time.

Or maybe ... just maybe ... that Apple has revamped its battery testing procedure and this 200 hour figure is more in line which what people can expect during real-world usage.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, iPhone, Smartphones

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32 comments
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  • RE: The iPhone 4S and the 100 hours of lost standby time

    There's a typo: "A the time".
    kamran.adam
  • RE: The iPhone 4S and the 100 hours of lost standby time

    I would go fot the last one>Apple has revamped its battery testing procedure and this 200 hour figure is more in line which what people can expect during real-world usage. How often does anyone see real world number similar to what is posted on the respective company???s website?
    Rick_Kl
    • So Apple has been lying for 4 years?

      @Rick_Kl
      And only just now have decided to tell the truth?
      toddybottom
      • RE: The iPhone 4S and the 100 hours of lost standby time

        @toddybottom When are you going to start telling the truth?
        non-biased
    • RE: The iPhone 4S and the 100 hours of lost standby time

      @Rick_Kl That's over a week. Who lets his iPhone sit for a week? Does this figure really matter to anyone?
      rphunter42
  • RE: The iPhone 4S and the 100 hours of lost standby time

    I have an iPhone 4. The only way you get 300 hours of battery life is to turn it off!
    tvahan
    • RE: The iPhone 4S and the 100 hours of lost standby time

      @tvahan :)
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
    • RE: The iPhone 4S and the 100 hours of lost standby time

      @tvahan
      +1. :D
      Ram U
    • RE: The iPhone 4S and the 100 hours of lost standby time

      @tvahan
      LOL!!!
      afedwin@...
    • Re: The only way you get 300 hours of battery life is to turn it off!

      @tvahan Isn't that what "standby time" means?
      ldo17
      • RE: The iPhone 4S and the 100 hours of lost standby time

        @ldo17 No
        FrackAnon
    • RE: The iPhone 4S and the 100 hours of lost standby time

      @tvahan Your probably right but honestly, how do you know. Have you let it sit untouched from full charge to completely drained to see how long it took? I think it's a pointless figure myself as what is the point of having a smartphone if you are not going to touch it?

      I am curious though if iOS 5 has taken a hit on battery life. My iPhone 4 still gets great battery life since the update but not as good as before. Wondering if it is the OS and features or if I am actually using it that much more.
      non-biased
    • RE: The iPhone 4S and the 100 hours of lost standby time

      @tvahan I agree! Since I've upgraded to IOS 5 my battery is drained in less than 8 hrs with no use at all! I've turned off almost all features. Sigh!
      d_tisdal
  • RE: The iPhone 4S and the 100 hours of lost standby time

    Who really cares about standby time? It is a completely irrelevant metric, especially on a smart phone. I think the only buyers that may be concerned with standby time are the elderly that seldom use the phone.
    puffmanxx
  • RE: The iPhone 4S and the 100 hours of lost standby time

    I can see stand by time being important for android devices - as you are not as inclined to use them all the time. But with the iPhone standby time does not matter - no one leaves their iPhone untouched for 200 hours or even 24 hours for that mater.
    podcast411
    • RE: The iPhone 4S and the 100 hours of lost standby time

      @podcast411
      "I can see stand by time being important for android devices - as you are not as inclined to use them all the time." Where did you get this tidbit? iPhone and Android are both smartphones and Android offers as many compelling reasons for continuous use as the iPhone with the possible exception of treating it like a worship object. I haven't researched it, but if usage differs I would think it would be because the owner demographics would be dissimilar.
      tm2guy@...
      • RE: The iPhone 4S and the 100 hours of lost standby time

        @tm2guy@... Both have their worshipers :-(
        non-biased
  • Standby Time?

    The only time 200 hours would com into play is if you were stranded in the desert and wanted to know what time it is. if you don't use your phone for 8.3 days, you should not pay the monthly fee and just get a rotary phone!
    dencrawford
  • RE: The iPhone 4S and the 100 hours of lost standby time

    This is such BS. Show me you can get 8 hrs talk talk
    on 3G on Iphone 4 and I have a bridge to sell you
    in Brooklyn. MAYBE 3 hrs. MAYBE...

    Marc
    mrossner1
    • RE: The iPhone 4S and the 100 hours of lost standby time

      @mrossner1 Your just trying to sell that bridge somebody else suckered you into buying aren't you :-)
      non-biased