Google’s Nexus 7 battery claims are shit

Katherine Boehret for WSJ:

Another drawback: In my test, the new Nexus 7′s battery life was underwhelming. Compared with the same battery test of the iPad Mini and first Nexus 7, it fell short at just six hours; the others clocked in at 10 hours and 27 minutes and 10 hours and 44 minutes, respectively. Google claims the battery life can last over nine hours, but the company tests it in Airplane mode (Internet connection off), with screen brightness set to 44% while playing video. I keep Wi-Fi on in the background and screen brightness at 75% while playing video.

Seriously Google? Who would use a tablet without Internet turned on? I understand that companies do things to make battery tests look better for them, but this borders on outright lying. Apple usually underreports its battery life, leaving its customers pleasantly surprised.



  • Steve Jobs Soul

    Microsoft’s unethical behavior of the 1990s is nothing compared to Google of the 2010s. Total disregard to user satisfaction (add privacy) while shoving mediocre products down customer’s throats. Scmidt and Page are copycat masters indeed.

    • Tvaddic

      I would disagree with that, you can switch from Google services with less hassle or money, than MS in the 90s.

      • Idon’t Know

        MS had no equivalent services in the 90′s.

        • Tvaddic

          Docs, Chrome… And I was commenting on if you don’t like office/windows you would have to buy something else. If you don’t like google you can switch the default search.

  • tylernol

    higher DPI screens take more power. Take a look at how chunky the iPad 3 got relative to the iPad 2 to maintain the same approximate battery life. The new Nexus tried to crank up the DPI and also reduce the form factor and surprise … it failed to keep a respectable battery life.

    • rattyuk

      But it played well to the audience in the launch and now we have to deal with “Apple is going down now it is releasing a non-retina device in this space” crap.

      Of course when your screen is only 70% that of the screen you are competing against then this sort of crap is easy to do.

      Good job they were called on this. Unfortunately this will not deter the naysayers and we’ll have to put up with yet more moronic comments until the technology catches up with what is actually needed.

      From Google’s point of view you can fool enough people for a sufficient length of time to make people think you’re winning.

      • Sebastian Paul

        Yeah, like how Apple was losing because of no LTE in the iPhone 4S.^^

        When the Android phones with LTE were struggling to reach at least half a day of regular usage per full charge. And LTE coverage was low.

        (Yes, LTE coverage has become better, but those devices still have a crappy battery life – and can’t be used outside of the US, due to different LTE frequencies).

        I wonder why nobody ever said that Google is doomed after releasing the Nexus 4 without LTE (or the Nexus 7 without any kind of cellular at first).

        Ah, i remember – bias.

        • rattyuk

          When Apple didn’t have LTE it was because LTE wasn’t ready. Yes there were Android devices that had it. But only as a bullet point – they couldn’t be used except in a few very small areas where the carriers had bothered to build some towers that could cope.

          The same could be said about NFC. The only people who were really peed off about NFC not being in the most recent iPhone were those that had invested in it heavily. The point being is that it wasn’t ready for prime time so Apple didn’t bother to include it.

          • Sebastian Paul

            Must be some kind of spec-sheet worshipping.

            Those who are vocal with their complaints (or more like they were ROFLing in the forums) about no LTE, NFC, ETC^^ in iPhones are those who praised quadcores (which have often been outperformed by Apples SoCs in real usage scenarios) or AMOLED displays (with terrible color reproduction and thanks to PenTile matrix of the display also horrible graininess in earlier devices).

            It’s more a bragging about theoretical specs while ignoring real world problems a new technology still has.

            But they are tech geeks, they can’t accept the fact that technology matters less than design, which in this case of course means how something works, not how it looks.

  • nuttmedia

    All the speculation that a Fall mini must be retina given the Nexus and rumored Fire now looks entirely premature.

  • Sebastian Paul

    Airplane mode, that magical switch that makes your iPhone 3G (or a cheap Android phone) run weeks on a charge if you don’t use it for more than the alarm clock. Connect it to Wifi or even worse, 3G with not so great reception and the thing dies after three days.

  • Moeskido

    “Who would use a tablet without Internet turned on?”

    Manufacturers who’d rather ignore anything related to Internet usage stats.

  • David Enzel

    I understand the criticism of Google. But airline passengers in flight use tablets with WiFi turned off. I do it all the time. And six hours of battery life under Boehret’s assumption is nothing to scoff at. The Nexus 7 is a really nice tablet. I prefer the smaller size. I find it easy to hold in one hand.

    • dr.no

      So what was good enough metric last year for the same product is not this year. Did Google change the numbers for last year model to Airplane mode. and from now on will only test with Airplane Mode.

      very convenient hypocrisy.

    • http://geekfun.com/ Erik S.

      Maybe, but a lot of iPad users have WiFi on so they can use the in-flight WiFi.

      • Colin Mattson

        Yep. Southwest, for example, is at something like 90% WiFi-enabled now. Even if you don’t want the internet, the onboard video on demand is also delivered via WiFi.

  • Tessa

    Makes you wonder about Google’s claim that the new ‘Moto X’ phone will have a 48hr battery life.

    Unless they mean 48hrs on standby ;)

    • GFYantiapplezealots

      Any device can have a 48hr battery life with a large enough battery. The trick is making the device small and light and STILL getting great battery life. And the only company that does that is Apple.

      • http://300stations.com/ Mark D Wolinski

        Yeah, but “people” don’t want small. They want wonking 6″ phones now. We’re back to the days of the boom box.

        As far as the Moto X goes, Leo Laporte has been testing one, since he’s been dropping hints about it for two weeks. So, I guess on next week’s Mac Break Weekly, we’ll hear all about how great it is and how much Apple’s dying.

      • paulieslapass

        Don’t you mean the only company that does that is Foxconn?

  • J

    That is funny especially since Google is an internet company. Another stretch of the truth but that is the only way they can compete.

  • Jeffrey Atack

    Is there a link to the reported test methodology (aside from the WSJ article saying it)?

  • http://geekfun.com/ Erik S.

    Interestingly it struck me earlier this week that none of the initial reviews I looked at (ArsTechnica, Verge, Anandtech, etc) made any mention of battery life at all.

    Their more thorough reviews mentioned it, but didn’t say much.

  • http://sumocat.blogspot.com Sumocat

    Based on web usage metrics, “Wi-Fi off” sounds like an accurate representation of how people use their Android tablets.

  • BC2009

    To be fair folks, I have been reposting this article from WSJ too, but so far I have been unable to confirm the whole “Google tests it in Airplane Mode”. I don’t see any asterisks on their website under the tech specs section, nor does the reporter give a source for that information.

    I’m starting to wonder if this is her assumption rather than a fact. Anybody have a hard source for this information?

    • dr.no

      Come one, This Walt Mossberg’ team review. He usually directly talks with company to verify. The silence from Google means it is correct or their army would have been hammering the internets everywhere.

  • zachmac

    Hi new nexus 7 battery life is bad. I went to sleep battery at 69% I didn’t touch tablet until 1230 pm next day battery life at 53% ridiculous drain.

  • xyzzy

    Be happy you got six hours! There is some defect with many or all of the Nexus 7 (2012) 3G version that gives terrible battery life. About 2.5 hours! And the life in standby is even worse. Google and ASUS claim 300 hours, but it ends up being less than a tenth of that. About 20 hours.

    ASUS refuses to repair any tablets for battery life problems. They use the “rogue app” defense to avoid acknowledging the defect. Even thought the bad battery life can be shown on a factory reset tablet with no apps installed at all!