Some people will let their phone run all the way down to zero before they plug it in to charge. Others will keep it charging pretty much anytime it’s not out and about. But one thing unites us all when it comes to a smartphone’s charge: we want it to last as long as possible before the dreaded ‘low battery’ notification pops up. Indeed, one survey found that seven in ten people are gripped by anxiety when their phone’s battery drops below 20%.
How long your phone runs before dying depends on a few factors. One is how much you use it and what apps you’re running; a smartphone sitting locked in your pocket all day on airplane mode is going to use a lot less juice than one running high-resolution movies all day. But perhaps the most important factor of all is your smartphone’s battery capacity, a component measured in milliamp-hours (or mAh).
Put simply, the higher the mAh, the longer your phone will generally last on a single charge. And unless your phone supports you switching out the battery for a new one, it’s not possible to change your phone’s mAh rating. To give you a sense of scale, a 2021 poll found that nearly a third of people’s Android phones sit between 4001 and 4500 mAh.
This got the team here at Electronics Hub thinking: based on a smartphone’s in-built mAh ratings, which models released over the last few years have the best and worst battery life straight out of the box?
What We Did
We began our research by using Phonesdata.com to find the mAh ratings of smartphone models released since 2018 by the world’s 30 biggest smartphone brands. We could then rank the best and worst smartphone models for battery life released by Apple, Samsung and Xiaomi (the world’s three leading smartphone brands) and rank all smartphone brands by the median battery charge capacity in mAh of their phones. For each brand, we could also calculate what proportion of models sit within certain brackets of mAh ratings.
- The iPhone 15 Pro Max (4422 mAh) has the best battery life of any iPhone released since 2018, while the iPhone SE2 has the worst battery life (1821 mAh)
- With a mAh rating of 2600, the Galaxy A2 Core (released in 2019) has the worst battery life of any recent Samsung release, while the Galaxy F62 (2021) has the best (7000 mAh)
- The Redmi 6A (3000 mAh) has the worst battery life of any recent Xiaomi release; meanwhile, the Redmi 10 Power (6000 mAh) has the very best battery life
- Chinese brand Ulefone has the best battery life across its models of any brand (a median of 6600 mAh), and Apple has the worst battery life (a median of 3187 mAh)
The iPhone 15 Pro Max Boasts the Best Battery Life of Any iPhone
The first iPhone packed 1400 mAh, translating to what Apple originally advertised in 2007 as up to five hours of “talk, video and browsing.” Since then, new models with bigger and bigger batteries have hit the market every year — but which of Apple’s most recent offerings have the best and worst battery life?
The best of all belongs to the iPhone 15 Pro Max (released in 2023), a model that boasts a mAh rating of 4422. According to testing carried out by Mark Spoonauer of Tom’s Guide, this translates to an impressive 14 hours and two minutes of battery life. “The iPhone 15 Pro Max is the Pro model to get from Apple if you want serious staying power,” writes Spoonauer. “No other major flagship phone we’ve tested offers this much endurance.”
On the flipside, the iPhone SE2 (2020) has the worst battery life of any recent iPhone with a mAh rating of 1821, not much more than the original iPhone released 13 years before and translating to just over nine hours of battery life. “The iPhone SE is an excellent value in terms of the features and the performance you get for the money,” Spoonauer’s SE2 review details. “But if you want long endurance you should look elsewhere.”
The Galaxy F62 Has the Best Battery Life of Any Recent Samsung Phone
Korean megabrand Samsung is the world’s biggest cell phone brand, commanding a 20% share of the global market. It’s also arguably the most prolific maker of phones; compared to Apple (which has released an iPhone model pretty much every year since 2007), Samsung released 56 different smartphone models in 2014 alone. So how do the most recent models fare on battery life?
With a mAh rating of 7000, the Galaxy F62 (2022) has the best battery life of the bunch and comes with a 25W fast charger. Interestingly, one reviewer found that the phone’s hefty battery lasted for two full days of heavy usage, while another only squeezed out seven to eight hours of power. “It’s not bad by any means,” writes Srivatsa Ramesh of Tech Radar. “But far from what one would expect at 7000 mAh.”
At the other end of the scale, we find the Galaxy A2 Core (2019), the most recent Samsung phone to be equipped with just 2600 mAh of battery power. Only available in select Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries, the A2 features a low-resolution screen and energy-efficient chip, which may maximize battery performance.
Several Recent Xiaomi Phones Boast a Powerful 6000 mAh Rating
A bevy of models come top of our ranking of Xiaomi’s best recent phones for battery life, with the Redmi 10 Power, Poco C40 and Redmi 10 (all released in 2020), each packing an impressive 6000 mAh. According to Eren Yurdakul of Xiaomiui.net, strong battery life seems to be at the forefront of Xiaomi’s mind when designing phones, leading to hardware architecture and software features that optimize battery performance. In February 2023, Xiaomi also introduced 300W fast charging technology that can charge “half of the phone’s battery in just a little over two minutes.”
Meanwhile, six Xiaomi phones released in 2018 have a much lower rating of 3000 mAh. Still, one reviewer was impressed by the battery performance of one of these models, the Redmi 6A, during testing. “The Redmi 6A ran for 13 hours, 22 minutes, thanks to its 3000 mAh battery, the efficient SoC, and MIUI’s optimisations,” writes Jamshed Avari of Gadgets360. “Our everyday usage consisted of a bit of light gaming and video streaming, and we comfortably made it through a 10-hour working day and the rest of the evening.” Charging the device was a different matter, taking three hours to get to 100%.
Ulefone Phones Pack the Most Impressive Battery Life, While Apple Falls Furthest of the Mark
Looking at some of the world’s top brands overall, Chinese firm Ulefone creates the most impressive phones for battery life, with their models boasting a median rating of 6600 mAh. In particular, Ulefone offers a range of rugged phones (durable phones designed to withstand a greater amount of water, shock and dust), including the Armor 24, which packs a staggering 22000 mAh of battery life. According to Ulefone, this translates to the phone staying strong for seven days before needing to be charged.
In comparison, Apple ranks as the brand with the poorest battery life (a median rating of 3187 mAh). In the past, Apple has come under fire for battery-related issues. In a major controversy nicknamed Batterygate, users of older iPhones found that Apple was throttling (intentionally slowing down) devices in order to stop phones with degraded batteries from shutting down unexpectedly. Unhappy consumers launched lawsuits, resulting in Apple having to pay a $500 million settlement. In August 2023, this means that iPhone owners who filed complaints originally are due a payment of $65.
How Do Brands Trend When It Comes to Battery Power?
So how do different brands tend to trend when it comes to battery capacity? Take a look at our graph below to explore what percentage of a brand’s models fall into separate brackets of mAh power.
For example, half of all LG phones have a mAh rating of less than 4000, while the majority (81.48%) of Infinix phones land in the highest category (more than 5000 mAh) of battery power. When it comes to purchasing a new phone, an Android Authority poll in 2022 revealed two-thirds of consumers aren’t willing to settle for less than a battery capacity of 4001 mAh to 5000 mAh.
How Has the Battery Life of a Major Brand’s Phone Releases Changed Over Time?
With each passing year, smartphone battery life (whatever the brand) is, by and large, getting stronger. Even Apple, which our research reveals offers the poorest battery life of any brand, improves its mAh rating with each year. Take the median mAh rating of iPhones released in 2023 (3866) — still not as impressive as Samsung and Xiaomi’s median rating in 2023 (5000), but a clear improvement from Apple’s median rating of 2942 in 2018.
That being said, batteries aren’t evolving at the same pace as smartphones. Discussing the issue with battery expert Venkat Srinivasan, Chaim Gartenberg of the Verge writes: “Moore’s Law has simply outpaced battery technology, meaning that our phones have gotten better — and demanded more power — at a much faster rate than advancements in batteries have.”
Srinivasan continues: “We’ve reached a stage where new improvements in energy density are going to come from changing battery materials, and new materials are always slower compared to what I would call engineering advances.”
Squeezing the Most Juice From Your Phone’s Battery
So how does your phone fare for battery life? Take a look at our data breakdown below, which may include your smartphone model and its mAh rating. The higher the rating, the better the phone’s battery capacity.
But if your phone ranks on the less powerful side of a brand’s offerings, there are still plenty of ways you can prolong your phone’s battery life and get the most out of a charge. Most of these involve tinkering with your phone’s settings, like…
- Turning down the brightness of your phone’s screen
- Changing your phone to lock faster when it’s not in use
- Turning on a power saver mode
- Turning off Bluetooth and WiFi if you don’t need to use them
- Closing apps once you’re finished using them (so they don’t run in the background)
- Restricting apps that guzzle a lot of battery life
- Turning off background refresh options (like Background App Refresh on the iPhone) that search for app updates and update them in the background
- Turning off keyboard sounds and vibrations
You can also adapt how you use your phone, like…
- Turning it off overnight (unless you use it as an alarm clock)
- Not using voice control features like Siri — when switched on, they’re always listening for a trigger phrase (which drains the battery)
- Not charging your phone past 100%, which can strain the battery
Another good idea is to make a habit of carrying around a portable charger so you can always top up your battery when needed. If your phone’s battery is on the way out, it might be time to contact your brand’s nearest service center for a replacement.
For this research, we analyzed the mAh ratings of smartphone models released since 2018 by the world’s 30 biggest smartphone brands. The seed list was based on any smartphone brand that had released 100 or more models.
Then, for each smartphone brand in our seed list, we scraped details — Brand, Model, Year Release and battery mAh rating — on each model released since 2018 using phonesdata.com
Each smartphone was ranked on its mAh rating, and each brand was ranked on the median mAh rating of its models. For each brand, we calculated what proportion of models sat within four brackets of mAh rating and ranked them according to the brand with the most smartphones released in the highest mAh bracket.
The analysis of the data is correct as of November 2023.
1. Spoonauer, M. (2023). iPhone 15 battery life tested — here’s how long all four models last. tomsguide.com
2. Cerejo, R. (2021). Samsung Galaxy F62 review: End of the line for the Galaxy M51? Gadgets 360. gadgets360.com
3. Maquinto, A. (2020). LG announces the Folder 2, a flip phone with two screens. YugaTech | Philippines Tech News & Reviews. yugatech.com