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Video Playback, Charge Times, Putting It All Together
Our 1080p video playback test doesn't produce a time, but instead produces a score, which takes into account both how long the phone lasts, and how bright the display is. The reasoning here is that a phone that lasts longer with a brighter display is preferred, as sometimes you'll need to push the phone up to maximum brightness for outdoor viewing. It also forces phones with limited maximum brightness to last significantly longer than brighter phones to achieve a good score.
Anyway, the results show the OnePlus 5 performing strongly, with underperformers like the HTC U11 and Huawei P10 falling towards the bottom of the pack as they did in other tests. It's hard to get a read on whether LCDs or AMOLEDs are more efficient from this test, or any other test, so we won't be speculating on that here.
Streaming 4K HEVC video is a tough task for phones, both because of the significant bandwidth requirements that see the Wi-Fi modem utilized nearly all the time, and the complexity of HEVC-encoded files. Most modern flagships have fixed-function HEVC decoding hardware, which allows more efficient processing than older devices.
The results have the OnePlus 5 performing strongly at 300 nits of brightness, with the U11 and G6 falling towards the bottom of the pack again. Here the Xiaomi Mi6, which performs well in other tests, is more of a mid-tier performer.
It's worth talking about charge times for the phones we've tested here. Every phone includes some form of quick charging, though total charge times vary by as much as 38 minutes. The best phones, like the Huawei P10, can be charged fully in around 1 hour and 40 minutes, while lesser performers like the Mi 6 take more than 2 hours to charge.
Burst charging, which shows the advantage of quick charging, again shows varied results. The OnePlus 5 with Dash Charging performs the best, but it's only marginally ahead of the Mi 6 and P10. A phone like the Moto Z2 Play includes "TurboPower" charging, though you can see from the chart it isn't nearly as effective as the best phones on the market.
Let's examine how every phone we've tested today performs in a general sense, relative to the competition. To do this, we found the average result for each test, and calculated how much each phone deviates from this average. This allowed us to find the average deviation from the mean for every phone, and summarize it in a few neat charts.
We've split the results here into three charts: the first shows the more general battery tests; the second shows the SoC-intensive results from Basemark and GFXBench; and the last is a combined result.
Looking at the most important chart - the one with just the general battery life results - it's clear which phones offer decent battery life and which don't. Those interested in the best battery life should opt for the Xiaomi Mi 6, or the Huawei Mate 9, depending on the size of phone you are after.
The Samsung Galaxy S8+ (Exynos), and the OnePlus 5 also produce above average battery life. The Motorola Moto Z2 Play also packs great battery life, though that comes at the expense of performance throughput.
The Google Pixel XL falls almost exactly on the average. Of the weaker performers we have the Huawei P10, LG G6 and HTC U11, along with the abysmal HTC U Ultra. All of these handsets are below average, which is disappointing as several of these have strengths in other areas.
Hopefully this has given you some insight into which current high-end phones have the best battery life, and which phones routinely underperform, backed up by cold hard data. When the next batch of phones is released, taking us through to the end of the year, we'll look to revise this article with fresh data.