Phones Review

Galaxy S3 vs iPhone 5 vs Droid Razr Maxx HD, best battery life

Under: Apple iPhone, Motorola, Phone Debates, Samsung
By:Debbie Turner | November 23rd, 2012

There are some great smartphones available for the holiday season and we’ve been trying to give readers some comparisons to help them make the right choice for them. We all seem to be increasingly using our mobile devices and so battery life is becoming a more important factor than previously. Today we’re looking at the Samsung Galaxy S3 vs. Apple iPhone 5 vs. Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX HD, purely as a battery life showdown.

The Galaxy S3 was released on multiple US carriers some months ago while the iPhone 5 released on the major US carriers, apart from T-Mobile, in September. Verizon also carries the Droid RAZR MAXX HD that was released just a few days ago. All have a lot to offer as far as the usual specs and features go, but how do they compare considering their battery lives?

Motorola is one of the manufacturers that have taken on board consumer desire for larger battery capacities to cope with the demands of high-spec phones. The Droid RAZR MAXX HD launched with a whopping Li-Ion 3,300 mAh battery while the Galaxy S3 is equipped with a Li-Ion 2,100 mAh battery and the iPhone 5 touts a Li-Po 1,440 mAh battery.

All Things Digital has given the Droid RAZR MAXX HD the once over in the battery stakes and managed to get 22 hours of talk time out of it, not quite the 23 hours advertised but still an amazing result. The Galaxy S3 on the other hand is advertised as achieving 17 hours of talk time while the iPhone 5 is nowhere near as good on the battery front with only 8 hours advertised talk time. Hence the Droid RAZR MAXX HD manages almost three times the amount of talk time than the iPhone 5 and that’s some going!

The only drawback for the Droid RAZR MAXX HD battery was that it’s non-removable but of course with that sort of battery life available you’re unlikely to need to swap batteries while out and about. The other hitch to having a smartphone with plenty of juice seems to be the price as the Droid RAZR MAXX HD has a heftier price than both the Galaxy S3 and iPhone. The Droid RAZR MAXX HD is priced at $300 on a two-year contract but by comparison the Galaxy S3 and iPhone 5 are both priced around $200 on the usual two-year contract.

Apart from the amount of talk time, All Things Digital also tested the Droid RAZR MAXX HD for more everyday usage. The phone was used for day-to-day activity such as using social networks, checking emails, streaming videos using LTE, Web browsing and more and lasted a hugely impressive day and a half before running out of power. The iPhone 5 on the other hand lasted only 9 to 12 hours before giving up the ghost on mixed-use activity.

You might imagine that having such an effective battery may mean the Droid RAZR MAXX HD is saddled with too much bulk but this is not the case either. It’s 9.3mm thick and so this is bigger than the Galaxy S3 at 8.6mm and the iPhone 5 at 7.6mm but not so much bigger that it would deter a lot of people. Of course the larger battery does affect the weight though, with the Droid RAZR MAXX HD weighing in at 157g while the Galaxy S3 is 134g and the iPhone 5 only 112g.

We’ll give you a very quick lowdown of the other key specs of these three handsets to give you an idea of what else each has to offer. The Galaxy S3 (AT&T version) has a 1.5GHz Qualcomm dual-core processor, 4.8-inch Super AMOLED display with resolution of 1280 x 720, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage (expandable via micro SD), LTE, an 8-megapixel rear camera with 1080p video capture and a 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera and was launched on Android 4.0 ICS, upgradeable to Jelly Bean.

The iPhone 5 has a 1.2GHz Apple A6 dual-core processor, 4-inch IPS TFT display with resolution of 1136 x 640, 1GB of RAM, 16, 32 or 64GB of internal storage (non-expandable), LTE, 8-megapixel rear camera with 1080p video recording and a 1.2-megapixel front-facing shooter and released running iOS 6. The Droid RAZR MAXX HD has a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 4.7-inch Super AMOLED display with resolution of 1280 x 720, 1GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage (expandable via micro SD), LTE, 8-megapixel rear camera with 1080p video capture and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera and launched on Android 4.0.4 ICS upgradeable to 4.1.

As you can see all of these phones offer some high-end specs and we are not claiming that the Droid RAZR MAXX HD holds the top spot when looking at specs overall. However, as far as battery life the RAZR MAXX HD will be difficult to beat, as long as you don’t mind the extra weight and cost. We’re really interested to hear from readers about these smartphones and their battery lives.

Is battery life a key factor for you now when you are deciding on a new smartphone? Would the higher price put you off the Droid RAZR MAXX HD? Maybe you think that overall the Galaxy S3 or iPhone 5 have more to offer you? Let us know with your comments.

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  • Asura Stahl

    Great and informal Review. One thing everyone forgets to mention is that you can buy 4200 MaH batteries for the Samsung Galaxy S III on websites like Amazon for only $30. Personally i have not gotten one (Yet). But i have friends that use them and they work wonders. Iphone 5 is not even close to these two smartphones. Since the MAXX HD and Iphone 5 has no replaceable battery it cant be switched out for a better aftermarket one. The S3 in my opinion is literally SIMPLY the best. Everything is open (SD card & Battery). and nothing is restricted. My S3 lasts me a good 1 to 2 days as long as i have battery saver cutting off data when screens off and when its not being used and task killer working responsibly. If need the CPU can be lowered to use even less battery (for Rooted users or the stock Battery saver options).

    • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.j.mckinney Matthew Joseph McKinney

      Ok, man. I understand you must be one of those extreme Android fans. That’s great. Get what you like, but don’t chalk the iPhone 5 up to not being good enough JUST because the battery can’t be replaced by the end user. I have a 4s which has less battery life than the 5 and NEVER run out of juice during the day after heavy use. I’m usually at around 40% by the time I get home from work. I stick it on the charger beside me on the couch and battery life is not an issue.

      One thing I will admit I wish they would allow on the iPhone is an SD card slot (expandable storage option). This would make it much easier [and cheaper] to expand the storage on the device. Either that, or make the prices of the higher storage iPhones a bit cheaper. There’s no reason for the 32GB to be $100 more than the 16GB and the 64GB is $200 more than the 16GB. That’s raping the consumer. The differential should only really be around $50 or less (and really not even that, but I digress).

      In a perfect world, the iPhone 64GB would BE the low end model at $199 with a 2 yr. contract. And then the next model would be 128GB at $299 (with agreement). The high end model would be 256GB at $399 (with agreement).

      But Apple is too bent on charging too much for storage. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter too much with all the Cloud Storage options on BOTH the iPhone and Android handsets. Streaming is the future, whether we like it or not. I personally prefer to have my stuff stored LOCALLY on my device, though.

      • http://www.facebook.com/pocket613 Ron Fleming

        He need not be a fanboy to point out that the iPhone 5 won’t win any battery contest awards. You may *THINK* you are a heavy user, but I own an iPhone 4 (which has even better battery life than the 4S due to lower hardware specs) and it’s a challenge for me to get through a full day on a single charge, and forget it if I forgot to charge it overnight. The fact that you never use more than 60% of the battery over the course of a day almost by definition makes you an average to slightly-over-average user in terms of battery drain. Granted I have 12 email accounts all using push, use location services, run WiFi, etc. There are some compromises I could make to get more out of a single charge. But the whole point of having superior battery life is that you DON’T HAVE TO COMPROMISE. You can run power-hungry applications to your hearts content on the Maxx HD, and not worry about your phone dying on you before you make it back home. In NYC, where I live this is especially important because most people don’t have cars (usually about an extra hour a day where your phone is almost guaranteed to be charging), and you don’t always want to be tethered to an outlet at the office.

  • Charles Potts

    I just bought the Droid Razr Maxx HD and the Samsung Galaxy Note II – both are amazing from both a screen and batter perspective. We bought Maxx HD for battery while Note II is for screen. Never considered Apple as we were replacing Galaxy III and Galaxy II phones. As for the cost, that was not a concern, the extra $100 is well worth having a phone that works and continues to work as you use it. Oh, I should note that the Note II last three days before needing a charge and the Maxx HD is still at 50% after a day.

  • George

    I have the DROID RAZR MAXX HD, the battery life is fantastic with light use I have got as high as 47 hours of the charger and still had 20% battery, with my normal use is around 35 to 40 hours between charges with 25% left, I do have Active SmartActions APP. It’s the best smartphone I’ve had to date !

  • Msem

    Hi

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