Smartphones with long battery life (roundup)

In this roundup, CNET editors highlight six smartphones that showed outstanding battery life in lab performance tests.

Smartphones are the Swiss Army Knives of the tech world.

They're cell phones, music and video players, mobile Web browsers, and personal organizers, among other things. Not surprisingly, all this can take a toll on battery life, and when you depend on your smartphone for so much, the last thing you want is for it to run out of juice when you need it most.

Generally speaking, with moderate use, smartphones can give you a full day's performance before needing to be recharged, but not all gadgets are created equal -- some simply run out of steam early, whereas others will hang in there for the long haul.

Below, you'll find six smartphones (in no particular order) with battery usage that really impressed us, whether it was because they scored well in our lab tests for battery drainage, or simply because their usage time stood out from the crowd of humdrum cell phone batteries we encountered (and believe us, we encounter a lot). Give one of these devices a try if you're looking for a phone that packs some decent juice.

Editors' note: This post was originally published October 31, 2011, and is updated frequently.


Motorola Droid Maxx
Verizon Wireless' Motorola Droid Maxx Sarah Tew/CNET

Motorola Droid Maxx (Verizon Wireless), August 2013
The Droid Maxx has a big, colorful screen and plenty of features. Its camera also takes great photos, but the real story is that its battery kept going for 15 hours and 50 minutes in our drain test of continuous video playback. That's almost an hour more than its predecessor, the old Droid Razr Maxx HD, which lasted 14 hours and 53 minutes. Read the full review of the Motorola Droid Maxx.


Samsung Galaxy Note 3
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (multiple carriers), October 2013
The third generation of Note is the most significant upgrade yet and the first Note device, thanks to a more thoughtful S Pen interface, that mainstream customers will actually want to buy. It delivered 15 hours of battery life. Read the full review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.


LG G Flex
The LG G Flex Josh Miller/CNET

LG G Flex (multiple carriers), January 2014
The G Flex not only has a novel, bowed body that can withstand 88 pounds of pressure, but its 3,500mAh battery inside is curved as well. During our drain test for video playback, the handset lasted an impressive 17 hours and 49 minutes -- that's plenty of time to watch your videos on that immersive curved display. Read the full review of the LG G Flex.


Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini
AT&T's Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini (AT&T), September 2013
Though it originally launched in 2012, the S3 Mini debuted on AT&T in September 2013 for just 99 cents. But don't be fooled by the budget-friendly price, the compact handset packs plenty of battery punch: 14 hours and 6 minutes of video playback, to be exact. Read the full review of the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini.


Motorola Moto X
The Motorola Moto X Sarah Tew/CNET

Motorola Moto X (multiple carriers), September 2013
Motorola's most impressive handset yet has plenty of notable capabilities and functionality along with a tested battery life of 10 hours and 9 minutes. And all of that is crammed into a highly customizable design built for maximum comfort. Read the full review of the Motorola Moto X.


Samsung Galaxy Express
AT&T's Samsung Galaxy Express Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung Galaxy Express (AT&T), November 2013
Coming in with 14 hours and 35 minutes of continuous video time under its belt, the Galaxy Express showed plenty of battery life. In addition to that, it features a solid 5-megapixel camera and 4G LTE. Read the full review of the Samsung Galaxy Express.


Looking for specs and pricing? Compare these phones head-to-head.


Read the full CNET Review

Motorola Droid Maxx

The Bottom Line: If you can get past its steep price, the massive-screened Motorola Droid Maxx is currently Verizon’s best Android smartphone. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

LG G Flex

The Bottom Line: Despite a novel construction and scuff-proof exterior, the LG G Flex's doesn't flex enough muscle against the Samsung Galaxy Round or the Note 3. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Samsung Galaxy Express (AT&T)

The Bottom Line: With its reasonable $100 price tag, AT&T's Galaxy Express' solid performance and respectable specs are a good deal -- but pass it up if you want a more powerful camera. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Motorola Moto X

The Bottom Line: While in screen quality and storage capacity it lags behind rival superphones, the Moto X's superbly compact and comfortable design, whiz-bang voice controls, and long battery life make it a worthy Android contender. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

The Bottom Line: Though its plastic skin doesn't do its high price justice, Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 makes the most compelling case yet for a supersize phone. / Read full review

About the author

Lynn La is CNET's associate editor for cell phone and smartphone news and reviews. Prior to coming to CNET, she wrote for the Sacramento Bee and was a staff editor at Macworld. In addition to covering technology, she has reported on health, science, and politics.

Brian Bennett is senior editor for mobile phones at CNET and reviews a wide range of mobile communication products. These include smartphones and their myriad accessories. He has more than 12 years of experience in technology journalism and has put practically anything fun with a micro chip through its paces at some point.

 

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