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September 8, 2017

Need more juice? Here are the five phones with the best battery life

by John_A

Sometimes it feels like, in the rush to make phones slimmer and more powerful, battery life gets lost in the shuffle. While the modern smartphone has been around for nearly a decade at this point, the length of time you can expect on a charge has remained roughly the same. All the while, processors are getting faster, and screens are getting bigger and sharper.

Fortunately, there are still a number of solid devices out there to choose from that won’t leave you high and dry halfway through the afternoon. Here are our picks for five phones with the best battery life.

BlackBerry KeyOne

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

BlackBerry’s KeyOne handset isn’t perfect — it makes quite a few compromises, particularly where performance and price are concerned — but it certainly doesn’t compromise on battery life. Underneath the physical keyboard, BlackBerry has stuffed a rather beefy 3,505mAh battery into the device. That’s considerably larger than what you’ll find in the Samsung Galaxy S8 or Google Pixel.

Combined with Qualcomm’s energy-sipping Snapdragon 625 chipset and the squat, 4.5-inch, 1620 x 1080-pixel display, the KeyOne can last upwards of a day and a half. That’s not quite the best on this list, but it’s certainly the longest-lasting device with a QWERTY keyboard. It’s comforting to know you won’t have to settle for constant charging and recharging just to get the typing experience you want.

HTC U11

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

On paper, HTC’s gleaming flagship appears as though it’d be pretty average in the battery life department. The U11 features a 3,000mAh unit — same as the Galaxy S8, and a bit less than the LG G6’s 3,300mAh. So we were surprised to find during testing that the U11 could last well beyond a day, even with heavy use. We averaged about 40 percent left in the tank by the end of the night, and that’s pretty good among similarly-specced handsets.

What makes the U11 particularly special in this list is that HTC didn’t have to significantly increase the size of the battery to deliver that kind of efficiency — and that makes the phone a snap to charge. Thanks to Qualcomm’s QuickCharge 3.0 technology, we were able to take our unit from 22 to 69 percent in just a half hour. Lengthy charging times are often the trade-off for devices with big batteries, so we were pleased to see HTC achieve long battery life in other ways.

iPhone 7 Plus

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

If you want an iPhone, but need the best battery life, the iPhone 7 Plus is the one to have. Apple improved upon the 6S Plus by enlarging the battery slightly, from 2,750mAh to 2,900mAh. The result is a device that should be able to last a day and then some. It’s not the best in class, and we wish Apple went a bit further in beefing up capacity with the larger model — but it’s above average and the best you can do right now if you’re looking to remain in Apple’s ecosystem.

That may change this fall, however. While we don’t expect the iPhone 8 to establish any new battery life records for Apple’s handsets, a reasonable bump in capacity for the 7S and 7S Plus is well within expectations. Watch for the 7 Plus’ successor over the next few months to see how it compares.

Moto E4 Plus

Adam Ismail/Digital Trends

The best smartphones on the market right now start at about $700 or $800, and they tend to offer decent, yet unremarkable battery life. With that in mind, you might expect the device with the best battery life to cost upwards of $1,000. Fortunately, you’d be wrong. The Moto E4 Plus puts them all to shame, and it just so happens to cost $180 unlocked.

How is it possible for a handset that costs less than a quarter of the price of most flagships to deliver such impressive battery life? It turns out all you need is a massive 5,000mAh battery, a frugal Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 chip, and an efficient 720p display. Thanks to that winning formula, the E4 Plus can manage well beyond two days of heavy use. Reaching past three isn’t out of the question, and you’d be hard pressed to find another product at any price that can compete with the longevity of Motorola’s latest budget offering. Of course, the E4 Plus is far from the most powerful phone out there, but it should be capable enough for most users.

Moto Z2 Play

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Say you like the Moto E4 Plus, but unfortunately it’s just not quite speedy enough for your needs. The Moto Z2 Play is the midrange alternative that sacrifices a bit in battery life, but makes up for it with power and expandability. It offers a 3,000mAh battery that can deliver up to two days on a charge. We were pleased with those results in our testing, though a little more capacity would have been welcome. Fortunately, that’s what Moto Mods are for.

Moto Mods are modular components that snap over the back of your device, and can enable a wealth of additional features, from wireless charging to more powerful external stereo speakers. They’re only compatible with devices in the Moto Z line, and a couple — like Incipio’s Offgrid, Mophie’s Juice Pack, and Motorola’s just-released TurboPower Pack — offer extra power, for those times when the stock battery just isn’t enough. Unfortunately, they’re not terribly cheap at $80 each — but combine the already efficient Z2 Play with the right Moto Mod, and you could have a device that lasts even longer than any of the ones on this list.

Right now, those are our picks for the five smartphones offering the best battery life. The market’s always changing though, and with the holiday season looming, we expect to see this roundup change some in the near future. Check back here for updates.




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