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Cellphones Communications Handhelds Power Stats

T-Mobile Smartphones Outlast Competitors' Identical Models 127

Posted by timothy
from the power-function dept.
An anonymous reader writes Laptop Mag battery tested the leading phones on all four major U.S. carriers and found that the same models on T-Mobile typically last 1 to 3 hours longer on a charge. This trend is not new, but has continued for over 3 years of testing. The article says While we don’t know for certain why T-Mobile phones last longer on a charge, there are some strong possibilities. T-Mobile’s network could be more efficient at sending and receiving data because of the bands it uses, or maybe there are far fewer customers on its LTE network, easing the strain. Another possibility is that T-Mobile tends to pre-load less bloatware on its flagship devices relative to the other carriers. AT&T is firmly in second place in the battery life findings presented, with Verizon and Sprint jockeying for last of the four carriers measured. It woud be interesting to see a similar test battery for phones in marginal reception areas; searching for service seems to deplete my battery faster than talking does.
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T-Mobile Smartphones Outlast Competitors' Identical Models

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  • by HornWumpus (783565) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @05:45PM (#47609421)

    I thought a phone was using maximum RF power when it was looking for a tower to talk to?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      From TFA:

      "... and make sure that it’s receiving at least 3 bars of service."

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Wow, that's a really precise measurement.

    • by tibit (1762298) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @06:11PM (#47609631)

      Usually, a terrestrial phone doesn't need to do anything much to "look" for a tower, besides keeping its receiver turned on. Towers emit beacons, and if you don't hear the beacon, there's no point in you sending anything - you won't receive a reply because you don't even hear the tower's beacon.

      • by heypete (60671)

        Usually, a terrestrial phone doesn't need to do anything much to "look" for a tower, besides keeping its receiver turned on. Towers emit beacons, and if you don't hear the beacon, there's no point in you sending anything - you won't receive a reply because you don't even hear the tower's beacon.

        Indeed, many (most? all?) phones won't transmit at all unless they hear the tower's beacon, since it's possible they could have been moved to a jurisdiction where it is not allowed for them to transmit on certain frequencies they would otherwise use.

        Of course, keeping the receiver powered to listen for the beacon does use a not-inconsiderable amount of power, so searching for signal will use more power than a phone that is connected to the network and idle.

        • by TWX (665546)
          That doesn't jive with my results though. At work, if I'm in the building in the center all day without appreciable service my phone doesn't last the day. If I'm at an outside wall, my phone barely makes it through the day without any significant usage, barely getting one bar. If I'm out and about I've had service work on standby for couple of days when I've forgotten to charge it overnight.

          Admittedly we are right between a major power substation and high-voltage transmission lines, and there's a cell
          • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

            Phones do use more power when the signal is poor if roaming is turned on. They will try other frequencies and networks, rather than just waiting for the signal to come back.

          • by heypete (60671)

            That doesn't jive with my results though. At work, if I'm in the building in the center all day without appreciable service my phone doesn't last the day. If I'm at an outside wall, my phone barely makes it through the day without any significant usage, barely getting one bar. If I'm out and about I've had service work on standby for couple of days when I've forgotten to charge it overnight.

            That seems to match with what I'm saying: when the phone is constantly searching for signals it has the receiver enabled all the time and the gain turned up to maximum, using more power. When it is in an area of low-but-there signal, the receiver isn't powered up as often, but the gain is still high, so it uses a medium amount of power. When you're out in the open and there's lots of signal, the receiver isn't powered up as often and the gain is low, so it uses the least amount of power.

            I apologize if I was

            • by Reziac (43301) *

              I don't know if this might be related, but when my wireless adapter is banging at the router trying to get a connection, or when the connection is made but iffy, it shoots the PC's CPU use to 100%. Obviously that takes more power than sitting idle. Do cellphones do anything similar when they can see the signal but can't connect?

      • by batkiwi (137781)

        It increases gain on the amplifier, which uses more power.

        Listening costs power, and listening "harder" costs more power.

      • by bondsbw (888959)

        At work my office was in the center of the building and we had an AT&T amplifier. When I moved to Verizon (which we didn't have an amplifier for), my phone would constantly switch between 4G/LTE, 3G, and 1X, all getting about one bar. The Verizon phone would get burning hot and drain very fast even when not in use and no apps running (but just in the office... outside, it had about the same decent experience as the AT&T phone).

        I'm not going to pretend to know exactly what it is doing. But my only

      • If it is receiving regular beacons it only needs to listen on the frequency those beacons are coming on. If it stops receiving beacons it needs to start switching frequencies trying to look for a signal. Phones these days typically support 4 or 5 GSM bands, 3 or 4 3G and half a dozen LTE bands. You can improve battery life considerably by limiting the bands it searches on. If you don't have LTE in your area, turn it off in Settings. Most phones have dropped the regional band settings, so to disable searchin
      • by Cyberdyne (104305) *

        Usually, a terrestrial phone doesn't need to do anything much to "look" for a tower, besides keeping its receiver turned on. Towers emit beacons, and if you don't hear the beacon, there's no point in you sending anything - you won't receive a reply because you don't even hear the tower's beacon.

        True - the problem AIUI is that "just" keeping the receiver turned on constantly consumes a significant amount of power in itself. Once synced with a tower, the phone can turn off the receiver, knowing that it has, s

    • by chromaexcursion (2047080) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @08:53PM (#47610769)
      When a phone has signal, the back channel includes information about neighboring cells. So, it knows where to look for the next back channel. Only a few frequencies to tune to. The problem starts when contact is lost. Phones use power looking for a signal. Re-tuning the receiver is not free.
      They continuously tune over a series of frequencies looking for one. And keep cycling through them.
      This bitter cycle of finding nothing uses up a phones battery very quickly. Before smart phones it was the single largest power user.
      This is an OLD problem. It was well known in the industry in 1990.

      I started writing software for cell phone companies in 1990. I learned more than I ever wanted to know about how cell phones work. Moved on to a different industry in 2000. Some things don't change. At least not quickly.
      • by Reziac (43301) *

        Mine (a newish but cheap ZTE Awe/Android) has an option to "go into airplane mode" when there's no signal; presumably rather than spend all day hunting for it when there is none. I imagine this is to mitigate that problem??

        • Sounds like it.
          When I'm where I know I'm not likely to have signal I either turn my phone off or put it airplane mode.
    • by sjames (1099)

      The real killer is when they can 'see' the tower but just barely. That forces them to transmit at max power to stay in contact. If they can't see a tower at all, they don't transmit.

  • They only tested Android smartphones. So we don't know if this is something specific to Android or not. Not like anybody uses iPhones, huh?

    • by ZorinLynx (31751) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @05:55PM (#47609501) Homepage

      The iPhone would actually be a more effective test because iPhones tend to be identical regardless of what carrier you are on. I'm extremely surprised they did not test the iPhone for this reason.

      • 15% is why. iOS is becoming an irrelevant minority.
        • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @06:12PM (#47609643)

          They were at 41% for the three-month period ending in May [comscore.com]. Two factors to keep in mind here: this research pertains specifically to US carriers, so it makes sense to look specifically at US market share, and we're specifically looking at smartphones, not the general cellular market. Globally, Apple's market share is significantly lower than in the US, even more so once you factor in non-smartphones, so I don't doubt that 15% is probably accurate somewhere for some set of conditions, but it isn't applicable in this particular case. 41% is the applicable number in this case.

          • It could also be that 15% refers to sales marketshare (i.e., new users) instead of subscriber marketshare (i.e., existing userbase). It's completely conceivable that maybe 41% of smartphones being used by people today are iPhones, but 15% of new phones sold are iPhones. (If that were the case, it would imply that lots of people were trading in their iPhones for Androids.)

            • Certainly so, and that's something worth considering since it's an excellent point. In this particular situation, however, that doesn't seem to be the case, given that they exhibited subscriber share growth that ever-so-slightly outpaced the cumulative Android subscriber growth rate for the top Android OEMs listed in the survey. That said, I suspect that if the more marginal Android OEMs were also considered, Apple may have been ever-so-slightly behind instead of ahead, but that doesn't matter either way, s

            • by praxis (19962)

              It could also be that 15% refers to sales marketshare (i.e., new users) instead of subscriber marketshare (i.e., existing userbase). It's completely conceivable that maybe 41% of smartphones being used by people today are iPhones, but 15% of new phones sold are iPhones. (If that were the case, it would imply that lots of people were trading in their iPhones for Androids.)

              That implication only holds if iPhone users replace their phone as often as other phones. (That might be true, but the fact that 15% of new sales are iPhone does not imply iPhone users are buying Androids. Androids make a very good first smart phone and might be capturing the non-smartphone or new-to-phone market or children market). We need to look at a lot more data than what you quoted to make your conclusion.

            • Or it could mean that people keep their iPhones longer.

              • by gl4ss (559668)

                nope.. it's just that the one's who came up with 41% used their own, twisted, value based non technical definition of "smartphone".

                • If you're being serious in that accusation about their methods being tainted by poor definitions, I'd be sincerely interested in knowing what beef you have with comScore's numbers so that I can look into them myself. I'm the one who cited comScore's 41% number, but I don't like citing numbers if there's good reason to distrust them, at least not without pointing out that they should be taken with a massive grain of salt, ya know? So, if you do have an issue with their numbers, I really would be interested i

          • 41% is still a minority. are we done w/ iphone v. android for the day?

            • No one is arguing that they're not a minority. I'm just contradicting the "irrelevant" qualifier that is clearly mistaken with regards to the US market.

            • That's what I thought at first as well, but then I realized it doesn't have to do with the OS but the hardware itself, which is what IOS vs Android is.

              So, even though Android has 52% of the OS market share, it has that share based on many, many different models of phones by many manufacturers. Whereas the 41% that Apple has (funny, 41% of OS market share *and* 41% of hardware market share) is spread out among three or four models *total*, all made by Apple. The test had to do with hardware and battery l
      • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @06:24PM (#47609733)

        iPhones tend to be identical regardless of what carrier you are on.

        Not really. There are nearly as many differences with iPhones as there are with any Android phone that's on multiple carriers, and that's been the case from the start. For instance, when they did their first release for Verizon back in 2011, they incorporated a different antenna design than they had in the AT&T model, partially to deal with the antennagate issue and partially because of Verizon's use of CDMA. You could tell by just looking at the exterior which network someone's iPhone 4 belonged to, since the "gaps" were in different places around the casing.

        And the situation really hasn't changed much. They still sell separate CDMA and GSM models in the US and out of the US, with different frequency bands being active depending on your locale and network. Wikipedia lists seven different versions for the iPhone 5s alone, 2 CDMA and 5 GSM.

        They may eventually unify all of those with a single, future design, I suppose, but that hasn't happened yet.

        • by praxis (19962) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @07:20PM (#47610083)

          iPhones tend to be identical regardless of what carrier you are on.

          Not really. There are nearly as many differences with iPhones as there are with any Android phone that's on multiple carriers,

          That's true for hardware differences. Software differences skew this gap far wider. An AT&T iPhone's software is far more similar to a Verizon iPhone's software than a similar comparison for Androids.

          • by AK Marc (707885)

            An AT&T iPhone's software is far more similar to a Verizon iPhone's software than a similar comparison for Androids.

            But an unlocked dual-SIM CDMA/GSM phone would have no differences across either network?

            • by tepples (727027)

              an unlocked dual-SIM CDMA/GSM phone

              Isn't quite so easy to find on the shelves of major U.S. retail chains, as I understand it.

              • by AK Marc (707885)
                But quite easy to order and have delivered for testing purposes. And much cheaper than a similar phone in a major retail chain.
        • They simply disable CDMA in the AT&T/T-Mobile version. The Verizon version has both CDMA and GSM and frequencies for all three carriers.

          - posted from a "Verizon" iPhone I bought new contract-free and only ever used with a T-Mobile SIM .

          The Sprint version is significantly different.

        • They may eventually unify all of those with a single, future design, I suppose, but that hasn't happened yet.

          They already did.

          The iPhone 4s was GSM/CDMA. There was only one 4s.

          As far as the 5s (from Apple's site). All of their phones support GSM. The difference is support for CDMA and the LTE bands they support.

          Model A1533 (GSM)*: UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 17, 19, 20, 25)

          Model A1533 (CDMA)*: CDMA EV-DO Re

      • by c (8461)

        The iPhone would actually be a more effective test...

        Depends on what you're testing. It'd be a great test of network and frequency efficiencies. It would be an incredibly lousy test of Android bloatware.

        • by PopeRatzo (965947)

          You know, the bloatware argument matches my experience. The last two upgrades, my wife and I bought phones from different manufacturers. Very similar hardware, but the nameplate I bought is known to use a very vanilla Android, and hers is from a company that throws all kinds of bloatware on. Each time, her phone died about 4-6 months sooner than mine, with very similar usage patterns.

          Anecdotal, of course, but it's part of my reasoning for keeping my phones pretty vanilla.

          • I have two prepaid cellphones, one from Verizon (it says Alltel on the phone from the days before transition) and one from T-mobile, which currently has like 80 cents left on it. Both are LG now, though I've been through a few Samsung and Nokia ones that ended up defective on the T-mobile side, but LG seems to be an amazing brand. The LG on the Verizon/Alltel is so plain vanilla that it does not even have a camera, and I love it. Also, whoever in their right mind would buy a smartphone? Having a smartphone
            • as far as I know, cell phones and smartphones won't even start up without a SIM card

              I'm told smartphones with no SIM work on Wi-Fi to roughly the same extent as an iPod touch or Wi-Fi-only tablet.

      • The iPhone would actually be a more effective test because iPhones tend to be identical regardless of what carrier you are on.

        That's not true. The iPhone 5s itself has eight different models.

        A1533 or A1457 or A1530: iPhone 5s (GSM model)
        A1533 or A1453: iPhone 5s (CDMA model)
        A1518 or A1528 or A1530: iPhone 5s (GSM model China)

    • ...we don't know if this is something specific to Android or not. Not like anybody uses iPhones, huh?

      I have heard that some people use iPhones but in truth they seem to be going the way of the necktie.

    • by AvitarX (172628)

      Especially since the bloatware question could be answered with iPhones...

  • network config (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Maxx169 (920414) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @05:54PM (#47609497)
    My bet - different CDRX settings, fast dormancy, idle timers. Is probably a better engineered network.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      It could also be that they are testing from the same place (their offices) which happens to have a T-mobile tower much closer by, so the raw Tx/Rx tower needed would be a lot less.

      • by Maxx169 (920414)
        True enough. Just out-and-out assuming that they arrived at a legitimate result is a rookie mistake. The comment in the article "receiving at least 3 bars of service" makes me pretty worried that they didn't control for constant UeTx power particularly well (some tests might have 3 bars, some 4, some 5 - and yeah, reported bars are based on DL measurements, but there is a good correlation between RSRP (or RSCP) and UeTx Power)... So, another meaningless result due to failed experimental design.
        • by PopeRatzo (965947)

          So a phone that gets generally fewer bars could die sooner than one that enjoys a stronger signal? I hadn't thought of that.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      My bet - different CDRX settings, fast dormancy, idle timers. Is probably a better engineered network.

      Pretty much this. I used to have a Galaxy Nexus which I bought outright (pure Android, no carrier crap) and on Telstra in Australia it would last 2+ days on a single charge. I took it to the US and put an AT&T SIM card in it and it lasted 1-1.5 days, back to Australia on Telstra and it was 2+ days again. Usage of my phone actually decreased over this time as I wasn't using it for work, so the difference cant be explained by additional use.

      • That phone you bought in Australia is preferring Australian frequencies when searching for networks. In Australia it can find your network on one of those fairly quickly. In US it has to search through all of those and probably some others before reaching the frequencies where AT&T towers are. Since it is on a non preferred frequency, it may also be checking periodically for a signal on its preferred frequencies. If its a long term trip, it might be worth flashing an AT&T radio if one is available
        • by mjwx (966435)

          That phone you bought in Australia is preferring Australian frequencies when searching for networks. In Australia it can find your network on one of those fairly quickly. In US it has to search through all of those and probably some others before reaching the frequencies where AT&T towers are. Since it is on a non preferred frequency, it may also be checking periodically for a signal on its preferred frequencies. If its a long term trip, it might be worth flashing an AT&T radio if one is available.

          Actually the frequencies used by Telstra and AT&T are the same (850 MHz) and no, the bands do not differ between countries.

          Further more, the phone was actually a grey import from the UK but seeing as there's no differences between countries, the Europe/UK originating radio works the same in any country.

          What is actually happening is that my phone was swapping between towers more often, AT&T's network is not designed to handle congestion very well.

          • by jrumney (197329)
            AT&T uses 850MHz for LTE. Telstra uses 850MHz for WCDMA. The frequency band happens to coincide in this case, but the technology doesn't. The frequency bands in use around the world very much do vary.
    • by tlim (590309)

      VzW are sticklers about those as well, in terms of fast dormancy and idle timers.

      I suspect it could be more in line with congestion and RAN hopping and reduced tower output to help deal with congestion.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      It's most likely the frequencies they operate on.

      I develop sensor products that use the mobile networks to send data back to a server. Since the sensors are battery powered we are extremely concerned with power consumption. It is well known that as the frequency increases you need more power to get the same range, and sure enough networks that operate on lower frequencies (800/900MHz as opposed to 1800/1900/2000MHz) cause the modem to use a lot less energy when connected to them.

      For that reason we recommend

  • by BaronM (122102) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @05:57PM (#47609531)

    It would be interesting to know if an unlocked AT&T phone moved to T-mobile's network suddenly lasts longer.

    • It wouldn't find any data on it's frequency. So yes.

      A multiband phone would be a better test mule.

      • It depends on where you are. T-Mo has been "refarming" their frequencies over the last two years, so now AT&T phones, once unlocked, just work (using LTE) on T-Mo in several large metro areas, like Seattle.

    • I took an unlocked Nokia 1520 from AT&T, to T-Mobile, to Consumer Cellular.
      Originally, on AT&T, I could not make it through a complete day on a single charge. Took it off the charger at 4:30AM. Battery was dead by 3pm.
      Took phone to t-mobile. Off charger at 4:30AM, phone still had a quarter charge left at 10:30PM when I plugged it back in.
      Now on Consumer Cellular. Same phone. AT&T is the service provider to Consumer Cellular. Battery is not making it through the day again.

      Usage patterns are simil

    • by Solandri (704621)
      Just test it with a Nexus 5. The ones you buy from Google are unlocked and there's only one version which works on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint (technically the hardware is capable of mostly working on Verizon, except Verizon blacklists it). Just pop in a SIM card for the different carriers and test away.
  • by Nerobro (303656) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @05:58PM (#47609535)

    And this is with t-mobiles software installed. With a clean phone, the T-mobile "my account" software is the highest usage bit of software on the phone. Disabling it was worth hours of runtime.

    • How can you even tell? When I go to view the power usage details it says "Android System" at about 90%, with all of the games and apps I've installed taking up the remaining 10%. I'd love to tell how much power the bluetooth uses, for example, but it's apparently included in "Android System". The native internet browser is also included there. In fact, pretty much anything I'd like to actually test is included in the big bundle.

    • And this is with t-mobiles software installed. With a clean phone, the T-mobile "my account" software is the highest usage bit of software on the phone. Disabling it was worth hours of runtime.

      I have real trouble believing you.

      Here are the "Battery Use Details" stats from my T-Mobile LG G3:
      23% Screen
      13% Android OS
      11% Cell standby
      11% Phone idle
      8% Android System
      7% Google Play Services
      6% Wi-fi
      5% YourBus AC Transit
      2% GUNSHIP BATTLE
      2% Mediaserver
      1% System Manager Application

      Granted, mine is not a clean phone. And it does seem like the ugly purple "my account" application is running all the time because it's always shown when you pull down the notification bar. But I'm really surprised that the "my acc

    • On my T-Mobile phone, a compass app and Weatherbug are the highest usage software. I removed the compass, and turn some features off on Weatherbug. I'm glad I checked.
  • My satoshi on this.

    Let's reconvene at an appropriate time to proclaim winners.

  • I'd like to see what this test looks like with all the phones involved running the same software load. i.e. No Verizon crapware. Just scout out a handset available on all 4 carriers, install Cyanogenmod on one and leave a second one stock. Then we should get a more accurate picture of what's going on here.
    • If you have a Verizon phone, there's no way to get rid of the Verizon crapware, other than the barely-legal nuclear option of rooting your phone. So if you're going to test Verizon, it's reasonable to have the crapware be part of the test.

      • If you're testing to see if the battery drain is hardware vs network vs software, then it actually is reasonable to have a phone tested that has no Verizon bloatware at all, but still able to access the network. To do it comprehensively, across all 4 major US carriers, you'd need 8 phones. Four of them are carrier stock, no modifications at all, and updated to the most recent carrier approved version of Android. The remaining four are CyanogenMod flashed to the equivilent version that the carrier allows. i.
    • Just use a Nexus 5 and an iPhone. Both clean representations of their respective platforms without carrier bullshit, so it's a fair comparison of the networks themselves and nothing more.

      • Yeah, except you can't use a Nexus 5 on Verizon to run that portion of the network vs software tests.
        • Wow still? Good to see Verizon is still being the same fucksticks they've always been. Exactly why I tell people to never use them.

          • It's not that they're fucksticks... Well, no more than usual. The Nexus 5 just doesn't have the frequency bands that Verizon requires for their network. Hardware limitation as opposed to a carrier limitation.
  • Test with iPhones. No pre-loaded carrier bloatware, same exact OS across all carriers.

  • There's N channels for each radio technology: 1XRTT, 3G, EVDO-RevA and RevB, LTE, etc.
    The phone gets informed by the carrier which channel it is on, and depending on the channel, it will bring up the antenna more, or less often, to receive things like SMS, PTT, that should come in a timely manner. There are many strategies to keep the traffic channel up, or to trip and dip into the network less frequently.

    You also do not have any control of which traffic channel you will be on, as that's pushed down to you

  • From the article “make sure that it’s receiving at least 3 bars of service” The words “at least” worry me here. That seems to imply some had 3 bars and some had 5. Since signal strength is often tied to network speed and how much power the radio needs to communicate with the towers this alone makes the results suspect. A carrier with 5 bars is going to have a huge advantage over one with 3. Maybe they misspoke and really they all had the same number of bars... even then I'd thi
  • This is not really related to T-Mobile, but I do know that the battery life on my wife's HTC Vivid **DOUBLED** when I installed CM11 on it.

    It used to last 7-8 hours and now she can comfortably go all day and not have to carry a power pack around with her everywhere she goes.

  • by viperidaenz (2515578) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @08:33PM (#47610611)

    Different versions of the same model phone use different radio chips.

    I just bought my wife an S4 Mini, with a choice of at least 5 different models that only really differ in the radio chip - I9190, I9192, I9195T, I9195L and I9197.
    They're all S4 Mini's, one without LTE or NFC, one with dual SIM, the others are all LTE with different frequency bands.

  • Jesus Christ they never run out of things to fuck up.

  • Did the study include the effects of calling over wifi?
    I have t-mobile and connect to wifi networks at home and work for my phone connection and my charge lasts a lot longer than
    when I'm away from wifi networks I can use.

    As far as I know, I think t-mobile is the only carrier to implement calling over wifi.

    (What, RTFA and check if that's mentioned? Of course not...)

  • T-Mobile has Wifi calling. It turns off the Cell radio and uses WIFI for calls. This is one likely reason Calls are made through a router 50 feet away instead of a tower a mile away.
  • Bloatware on my Verizn phone means when a phone call comes in, or a page, and I view it, the browser is killed off due to lack of RAM. When I switch back, the browser re-downloads the page.

    Verizon is pathetic. There's a "kill off unnecessary running programs" feature under task manager that they had to be dragged kicking and screaming to use, and it kills off just one thing, too. Which increases used RAM by 2 mb instead of decreasing, and that program shortly auto-restarts anyway.

  • T-Mobile and AT&T are ahead of Verizon and Sprint in battery life because of their use of GSM. GSM is a widely used global standard while CDMA is mostly found in North America, so power efficiency of the GSM radio probably gets more attention. GSM reception is also less computationally intensive; the spread spectrum methods used by CDMA take more work to decode. This all has some impact even if you never talk on the phone, because it is using power to maintain its connection on the network.

    Talk time is

  • ...which usually come with a cheaper phone.

    I have firsthand experience of this. I had a $30/mo. account; my next-door neighbor had a $60/mo. account. I could only get about half the signal she did, even in the exact same location.

    I don't know how that impacts battery life, but I got about 10 hours on a cheap phone (at least, before its battery went poorly at just over a year old).

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