Most of today’s phone batteries will give you a day’s use, which we’ve come to accept as standard. But anyone of a certain age will remember the days of only charging their phone once or twice a week.
Those days aren’t coming back, at least not anytime soon. But battery capacities have become a lot bigger in recent years. Combine that with more efficient processors and screens that can vary their refresh rate, and you’ve got some pretty impressive battery lives.
We’ve rounded up the best battery life phones currently on offer from all the major manufacturers. There are iPhones, Samsung Galaxy S phones, flip phones, budget phones, expensive phones, multimedia powerhouses, mid-rangers, and everything in between.
And the phone in the number one spot, with a truly marathon battery life? It may just surprise you…
|Handset||Total battery time recorded|
|Oppo Find X3 Lite||16:16|
|iPhone 13 Pro||16:11|
|Samsung S22 Ultra||14:37|
|Motorola Moto G50||14:24|
|Google Pixel Pro 6||11:46|
|Samsung S21 FE||10:35|
|Sony Xperia 1 III||09:05|
|Samsung Z Flip3||07:45|
|iPhone SE (2022)||06:57|
Astonishing battery life
No wireless charging
So-so low light camera
The Find X3 Lite stands at the other end of the spectrum to Oppo’s Find X3 Pro – it’s a much more affordable handset, but still manages to offer near-flagship specs. And that battery life? Astounding.
It ran for a mammoth 16 hours and 16 minutes in our test, which is phenomenal. It’s super quick to juice up too, thanks to its fast-charging feature. This gets the phone from zero to full battery in just 35 minutes – some phones can take hours.
It follows on from the X2 Lite, and the two phones share much of the same DNA. In fact, the internal hardware is the same for both handsets. Instead, Oppo decided to improve other areas of the X3 Lite, like the camera.
But its results are a little mixed. It’s certainly not short of photographic power. On the back sit no fewer than four lenses, which is a number equalled by phones costing three times as much. Add to this the front-facer, and you have a phone that looks very impressive on paper.
It shoots well in good lighting too, but in low light, shots have an unwelcome amount of graininess.
Check out our in-depth Oppo Find X3 Lite review.
Still, it’s a good-looking phone, with a nice crisp screen. And you can’t argue with that fast-charging time.
Lengthy battery life
Limited fast charging
Bulky camera bump
Apple’s iPhone line-up can be a bit confusing, so let us clarify. The iPhone 13 Pro is more powerful than the standard iPhone 13, but not as big as the iPhone 13 Pro Max. That means you get more power and better cameras from a device the same size as the standard iPhone 13.
It also has better battery life. In our tests, it lasted a little over 16 hours, and gave up the ghost just a few minutes shy of the Oppo Find X3 Lite in first place. Impressive.
What’s also impressive is how much of an all-rounder the iPhone 13 Pro is. While ‘only’ 6.1 inches in size, the screen is an absolute beauty, with the 120Hz refresh rate making fast-moving content like games and movies look sublime, with practically no blur.
It also packs the same magnificent camera array as the bigger – and pricier – iPhone 13 Pro Max. That gives you three rear lenses, including telephoto zoom capabilities. Sure, it’s a little more expensive than a lot of its rivals, and the fast charging tops out at 20W, which can be bettered elsewhere. But if you have the funds, and don’t mind being locked into Apple’s ecosystem, the iPhone 13 Pro is a great buy.
More reasonable size
Slick user interface
Most specs not a huge improvement on the iPhone 12
Rivals have bigger screens
But what if you don’t need the extra processing power and photographic capabilities? What if you’re happy with a standard iPhone, and everything that entails? Then the iPhone 13 will do you fine.
Despite having a slightly larger battery than the iPhone 13 Pro, its battery life is actually a little shorter (around 40 minutes shorter in our test). That shows just how efficient the iPhone 13 Pro is. But the iPhone 13 is still very good for battery life, lasting around two and a half hours longer than the iPhone 12. Which is worth an upgrade on its own.
The screen is the same 6.1 inches as the iPhone 13 Pro, and while it can’t match the 120Hz refresh rate, it’s still a very capable performer. It has the same A15 Bionic processor as the 13 Pro too, though slightly less RAM (4GB to the Pro’s 6GB). But there have got to be compromises somewhere, and these slightly lower specs mean a lower price. In fact, its starting price is £170 less than the Pro.
If you can live with those compromises – and we certainly can – the iPhone 13 is a great phone with a very good battery life. Apple fans on a budget, look no further.
Very good audio
Bettered for battery life
Rivals sound better
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is Samsung’s latest and greatest smartphone. It’s the most powerful Samsung Galaxy S device ever made, being the first to feature a 4nm processor. As anyone who’s ever used a Galaxy S device before will tell you, they’re not exactly under-powered. So the fact this is the most powerful yet is a very big deal indeed.
Then there’s the screen. It’s a huge 6.8-inch slab of AMOLED goodness that shows off content in all its glory. Its maximum refresh rate of 120Hz is only beaten by phones made specifically for gaming, and those traditionally suffer in other areas. And when you’re not enjoying fast-moving content, you can scale it right the way down to just 1Hz, which helps extend the battery life – essential if you’re checking your emails or social feeds between gaming bouts.
That helped the S22 Ultra to fourth place in our test, notching up over 14 hours of battery life.
The S22 Ultra is also the first Galaxy S phone to use Samsung’s S Pen stylus (inherited from the now-retired Galaxy Note family), so you can draw or write on screen. And it has one of the best camera arrangements of any phone going.
Check out our full Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review.
If you want a superb phone that’s just above mid-table for battery life, this is the handset for you.
Excellent battery life
Camera struggles in low light conditions
Below par screen
Awkwardly placed fingerprint scanner
Costing just £200 SIM-free, the Motorola Moto G50 is one of the most affordable phones in our test. And you’ll be glad to hear it offers plenty of bang for buck.
It’s pitched as a mid-range mobile, but its battery life goes above and beyond. Despite the cheap price, it packs a 5,000mAh battery of the likes usually seen on the flagships of the world. That kept it going for a very impressive 14 hours 24 minutes in our test, outgunning rivals that cost five times as much.
Obviously it can’t match those rivals in other departments, but that’s the compromise you make for the lower price tag. The screen is much lower resolution than the competition, the processor is older and less powerful, and the cameras – while impressive on paper – can’t hold their own, especially in more challenging conditions like low light.
The fingerprint scanner is also on the back, which makes it awkward to reach, and nowhere near as intuitive as one on the front or even built into the power button on the side.
Still, these bugbears pale into insignificance when you think of the saving. Looking for a long battery life on a budget? You’ve found it.
Super fast processor
Bettered for battery life
Iffy fingerprint scanner
The Pixel 6 Pro might not be anywhere near as cheap as the Motorola Moto G50 above it, but it’s still very well priced for a flagship. At £849, it’s cheaper than Apple and Samsung’s flagships, but thanks to its feature set, deserves to be ranked alongside them.
The screen is big and beautiful, with the 120Hz refresh rate rendering fast-moving content well. It’s solidly built, with a design that’s either eye-catching or unsightly, depending on your view. The cameras are also impressive, with shots in all situations packing a great amount of detail.
Check out our Google Pixel Pro 6 review for a further breakdown.
At a little under 12 hours in our test, the battery life is a little disappointing. But it should still last all day when used for other tasks like checking emails, social media and gaming.
In short, you get a lot of phone for a little cheaper than most rivals. You also get some natty Google-exclusive features you won’t find anywhere else. If you can take the slight hit on battery life, it’s a great option.
‘FE’ stands for Fan Edition. Every year, Samsung launches a pared-back version of last year’s flagship phone with slightly lower specs and a lower price. The FE model always launches just ahead of the next Galaxy S flagship – that doesn’t make it any less of a bargain, but it does make it feel outdated very quickly. The S22 isn’t that much more expensive than the S21 FE, after all, and it gets you more battery life.
Read our Samsung Galaxy S21 FE review to check it is the right smartphone for you.
But we digress. The S21 FE has plenty to recommend it, including a 6.4-inch AMOLED screen with a refresh rate of 120Hz, typically excellent cameras (complete with a stunning 30x Space Zoom), very capable processor and Android 12 straight out of the box.
It’s a shame the screen doesn’t have an adaptive refresh rate, as that could have saved battery life. But even so, the S21 FE still has plenty going for it.
Bettered for battery life
Design could turn some off
The Sony Xperia 1 III is an oddity. For a start, that name! Not exactly catchy. Then there’s the screen. Because it uses the 21:9 aspect ratio rather than the more standard 16:9, it makes the phone very tall – it might just poke out of your pocket. But that aspect ratio also makes it brilliant for watching videos on.
It lets you watch films how the creator intended, with no black bars above or below the screen to spoil the action. It also has a Creator Mode, which tweaks the colours to give you the optimum experience.
The screen is 4K too, which is a rarity on a smartphone. And the 120Hz refresh rate is up there with the best of them.
But it’s not all about the visuals – audio shares top billing too. It’s one of the handful of high-end smartphones that come with a headphone jack, so you can plug in your standard pair without having to buy some wireless ones. And sound quality is unmatched, making audio tracks sound as good as from some dedicated players.
You might expect a big, bright, brilliant screen like this to sap the battery, but the Xperia 1 III managed just over nine hours in our test. Considering it’s such a media powerhouse, that’s pretty impressive.
Need more info? Check out our in-depth Sony Xperia 1 III review.
Affordable for a foldable
Relatively low storage
The Galaxy Z Flip 3 only managed 7 hours 45 minutes in our battery test – so what’s it doing on this list? It’s a flip phone, so is much smaller than most other handsets, and so has a smaller battery. In fact, the 3,300mAh battery is much smaller than the 5,000mAh models seen in most premium smartphones. Which is why its battery life is less than half of the top performer’s.
But it’s worth reiterating that this is a flip phone, with its own unique features you won’t get with a standard smartphone design. A shorter battery life is part of the tradeoff you have to make.
As a foldable, the Z Flip 3 is a corker. It’s the first of its kind to be rated IPX8, which means it’s fully waterproof. It also has a more scratch-resistant folding screen and a new hard-wearing metal frame and hinge. Flimsy? Not likely.
Having said that, the main screen does still feel a bit fragile. But it’s a beauty to behold – the AMOLED technology renders colours nice and bright, and the 120Hz refresh rate can cope with even the fastest-moving games.
It resembles an old school flip phone too, rather than those foldables that open like a book. Which might make you feel like it’s the early noughties again.
Unsure if you want a flip or a fold? Check out our Samsung Galaxy Fold 3 vs Galaxy Z Flip 3 review.
This is easily one of the best foldable phones around, and could well be the first worth buying.
Plenty of bang for buck
Bettered for battery life
Bringing up the rear is the iPhone SE, the 2022 version of Apple’s most affordable iPhone. It ranked the lowest in our battery test, scoring just shy of seven hours. But given its small size, that’s hardly surprising. A smaller phone means less space for battery, and the iPhone SE’s 2,018mAh model is the smallest on test.
But that shouldn’t detract from what is still a very good phone indeed. At 4.7 inches, the screen is also pretty small by today’s standards, but plenty of people will like that – it’s a lot easier to use one-handed, with the phone less likely to overbalance. And while it can’t match the resolutions or refresh rates of its more expensive rivals, it does a fine job with the usual fare like videos, games and photos.
The camera is pretty great too. While only a single shooter on the rear, it handles most conditions well, with a decent amount of detail and next to no graininess. It’s a shame there’s no night mode, as low-light performance does suffer. But it fares very well indeed against similarly priced Android alternatives.
Read our iPhone SE review.
The SE is an iPhone, but cheaper. For those looking to get a slice of the iOS action without spending big, it’s a no-brainer.
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