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Apple is overstating iPhone battery life, says Which

At every iPhone launch event, Apple is keen to highlight talk time on any device. It’s a curious metric, given most people spend more time on games and Facebook than actually making voice calls, but it is at least consistent: it has roughly the same power drain regardless of device, OS or internals.

But according to Which, Apple has been seriously overestimating the time your iPhone will last even by this standard benchmark. The company tested nine different brand new iPhone models and found that they all fell short of Apple’s estimates by between 18 and 51%.

The worst offender was the iPhone XR, which lasted for 16 hours and 32 minutes in Which’s test – Apple said it would last 25.

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In response, Apple disputed Which’s findings. “We rigorously test our products and stand behind our battery life claims,” the company wrote. “With tight integration between hardware and software, iPhone is engineered to intelligently manage power usage to maximise battery life. Our testing methodology reflects that intelligence.

“Which haven’t shared their methodology with us so we can’t compare their results to ours. We share our methodology for testing which we publish in detail here.”

It wasn’t just Apple phone that Which was examining, and the company found similar discrepancies with HTC handsets, which were also short – albeit only 5%. “At HTC we diligently test all aspects of product performance,” HTC said in response. “Differences in setup and testing environments may result in some variation to stated talk time figures.”

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That is almost certainly true, but it didn’t stop the other manufacturers Which tested underestimating rather than overestimating their battery life. Samsung, Nokia and Sony were all found to be being over cautious with Sony in particular underselling its battery strength. The Xperia Z5 Compact, for example, lasted for 25 hours and 52 minutes – quite a bit longer than the 17 hours Sony predicted.  

Do you trust company battery estimates? Let us know what you think on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.

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