Report shows Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 users can disable 5G to experience much better battery life

How many smartphone users are actually happy with battery life? Among the most popular flagship phones offered worldwide, perhaps iPhone 14 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra users are quite satisfied. Some niche devices, like the Moto G Power, aren’t flagship phones. Ookla, the company behind the app, recently investigated the situation and reached some conclusions about smartphone battery consumption.

Ookla says phones connected to 5G networks typically run out of battery power earlier than those still only using 4G LTE. Well, that makes sense. In her recent blog post, Ookla wrote that “smartphone users accessing 5G networks experience more battery drain than those using 4G LTE, between 6% and 11%, depending on the system on Chip (SoC) in their device”.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is the most efficient flagship chipset according to Ookla

If you’re an Android user, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, used in the Galaxy S23 Ultra, is the most efficient SoC out there with the least battery drain according to Ookla’s tests. The chip had 31% battery drain for users on 5G and 25% for users on a 4G LTE network. Ookla points out that there doesn’t appear to be any improvement in battery consumption between 4G and 5G networks over time, but the flagship chipsets are getting better. For example, Ookla points out that the MediaTek Dimensity 9200 had 34% battery drain on a 5G connection compared to 45% drain with the previous generation Dimension 9000.

Ookla says smartphone users who want to extend battery life by turning off 5G on their phone and using only 4G connectivity could get the same battery life by upgrading to a newer 5G model. Pointing again to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, Ookla says 5G battery drain with that SoC is 32% compared to 31% for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 on 4G LTE.

The point is, with the new 5G flagship phones, you can get the same battery life that you get by turning off 5G from your old daily driver and running it on a 4G network. And with the newest model, you can actually experience 5G speeds.

Why Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 users should disable 5G and how to do it

If you own a Pixel 6, take a look at the graph embedded in this article. Notice how there is a big difference between using 4G and 5G with the first generation Tensor chip. That SoC had 40% battery drain on 5G and 29% battery drain on 4G. Pixel 6 users can save battery life by disabling 5G. The Tensor 2 on the Pixel 7 line has only slightly improved numbers at 28% power consumption on 4G and 39% on 5G. Either way, you may enjoy your Pixel 6 or 7 series phone more by turning off 5G.

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To disable 5G on Pixel 6 series, open the dialer and tap *#*#4636#*#*. You will see a page called Testing. Tap About phone and select the network you want to use. Based on anecdotal evidence, this will increase battery life.

Take another look at the graph and you’ll see that the Tensor chipset is the most inefficient SoC based on the increase in battery consumption between use on 4G and 5G networks. The Tensor 2 is next, tied to the Dimension 9000.

Just the other day we told you that Google plans to offer its first fully customizable chipset for its Pixel phones by 2025 and perhaps the gap between 4G and 5G battery consumption will be narrowed by then. Or, and now we’re just thinking outside the box, Google may increase the size of the batteries used on its Pixel phones by more than the recently announced small capacity increases for the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro. And as Google increases the size of Pixel batteries, may also want to deal with the currently slow charging speed.

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