4G vs 5G Connectivity: How does 5G impact the Battery Life of a Smartphone over 4G?
Updated: Oct 12
The lab team at ViserMark has been running battery life tests for some of the newly released smartphones this year. As many more Android smartphones have 5G options we wanted to take a closer look at the connectivity, performance and battery life of the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G and the Vivo Y72 5G.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 5G was revealed in January this year as the flagship for the Samsung S-series.
For testing purposes, this time our Samsung Galaxy S21 5G is Phantom Violet, (we think it is quite a refreshing colour), also it is still a compact smartphone available within the flagship tier (€700 +) of the Visermark Smartphone Tiers.
Having many features including, an AMOLED display with adaptive refresh rate handling, enhanced selfie performance and a 4000mAh battery with 25W charging. Keep in mind, that there is no charger or headphones included with this package.
The Vivo Y72 5G is the latest smartphone to be released from Vivo. Being ranked as mid tier (€200-€499) smartphone, it also showcases many features including that of a MediaTek’s Dimensity 700 5G chipset and a powerful 5000 mAh battery with 8W charging.
It is an attractive smartphone for the price, being around €400 less expensive than the
high-end Samsung Galaxy S21 5G. It will provide you with 5G plus all the features you come to expect from today’s smartphones.
The most significant frustration mentioned by end-users about their current smartphone is poor battery. Battery performance is a top reason for selecting a new smartphone.
5G has transformed smartphone capabilities with improved connectivity to other devices, such as a household appliance, a car or simply a watch. It also allows for the streaming of TV, music, films etc. with much faster connection speeds – often 20 times faster than 4G.
Bandwidth is a key benefit to this technology, being able to handle around a thousand times more data at once than 4G.
5G range is not as good as 4G coverage. Despite nationwide networks being already built with more on the way, speeds still vary quite widely.
5G smartphones are likely to be much more demanding in terms of power and data than 4G smartphone equivalents. With battery life being a key consideration when buying a new smartphone, is 5G more likely to drain your battery?
Well, it is time to find out!
Although both smartphones are tempting, which one offers the best battery life performance on 4G or 5G?
To answer this question, we took the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G and Vivo Y72 5G smartphones to our independent testing lab, where viSer test automation measures and validates key areas of an end user’s experience using our highly specialised, state-of-the-art lab environment. Our SmartViser technology experts use their years of experience to simulate real day life general usage.
4G & 5G with similar radio network conditions (Between -80dbm and -90dbm)
Mobile Network: Orange France
Location of Testing: Rennes France
Social Media (Instagram)
With the Vivo Y72 5G having a battery of 5000 mAh capacity, the bigger battery of the two, since the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G features a slightly lower battery capacity of 4000 mAh.
The ratings indicated in our results show in minutes the duration to drain 5% of the battery capacity for the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G or the Vivo Y72 5G.
Orange was selected as the network provider for both 4G and 5G, offering similar radio conditions during testing. Finally, 3 user cases were selected, specifically focussing on common daily life activities of an end-user when consuming data.
Below reflect the test results for the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G:
Below reflect the test results for the Vivo Y72 5G:
To learn more about our automated testing protocol click here
Both smartphones when using 5G, generally display over draining slightly more.
However, the test results show improved performance for streaming.
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G
So the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G, as we already know has a smaller battery life than the
Vivo Y72 5G, however, when testing on 4G and 5G within good signal strength and comparable quality conditions, the Samsung Galaxy offers similar battery life.
Vivo Y72 5G
Also, the Vivo Y72, with good signal strength and comparable quality conditions, offers a similar level of battery life.
If you are an early adopter of 5G then it should not have a serious impact on battery life.
As theoretically, radio coverage is far from wide and radio condition will remain at a lower strength and for instance, indoor coverage is weaker.
At ViserMark we have measured the impact of weaker 5G radio condition on battery life.
As you can see below impact is rather important.
From our findings, there is not a large difference between the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G and the Vivo Y72 5G when comparing 4G vs 5G connectivity.
That said, the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G offers good performance, a sharp display and a battery life of around one day. It's also worth pointing out that the Vivo Y72 5G certainty delivers a slight performance boost with its 5000 mAh battery.
Your choice to keep your phone connectivity on 5G will depend on your usage.
4G is still perfect for browsing and using social apps, indeed we have not noticed any significant changes in performance for the specific everyday user activities tested.
The 4G coverage is in most locations much better than 5G and using 4G more will help to limit battery drainage.
If you are heavily consuming media or a business user higher data rate may boost your experience while you will need to compromise with lower battery life.
This was our very first dedicated 5G battery life and performance testing, we will continue further analysis on 4G vs 5G connectivity and the impact on the battery life and performance of a smartphone. We will aim to replicate more typical end-user usage testing incorporating 5G coverage.
Further reports and testing results will be shared in the coming months with performance on specific devices, chipsets, and Network Operators.