Android M Brings Much Improved Standby Time to Nexus 5

Android M Brings Much Improved Standby Time to Nexus 5

Android fans all over the world get excited about every new iteration of Android that makes its way out of the Google HQ. So it is no surprise to see fans eagerly awaiting the release of Android M, even though their existing device may not receive an update.

At XDA, we too are excited to witness firsthand what a consumer release of Android M brings on to the table. Rather than being a major overhaul as Lollipop was, Android M is more of a refinement and polishing over Lollipop as it seeks to tackle major issues and complaints that consumers had about the previous release.

One such complaint, which has existed ever since devices started becoming portable, is that the battery life is just not enough. Irrespective of whether the device lasts 12 hours on battery or 10 days, people would still look and expect for more. With modern smartphones, this problem is compounded by the fact that the hardware and software capabilities of new devices continue to expand, while the developments in consumer-ready battery technology may not be able keep pace.

With Android M, Google is doing its bit towards giving a more satisfactory battery performance. With the Doze feature, devices on Android M can prolong their standby times by suspending all lower priority background activity when the device is unused for a period of time.

This works in a two-step approach. First, the device needs to be idle with respect to motion, which determines if the device has been left unattended for a specific period of time. Once it is confirmed that the device is not actively being used, the system in Android M pauses all lower priority background tasks in favor of a state of deeper sleep.

But how much of an improvement can we actually expect?

The good guys over at Computerbase.de took it upon themselves to figure out if Google’s claim of increased battery life actually stands true. The test involved loading the Android M Developer preview on one Nexus 5, and Android 5.1.1 in another, and subjecting both of these to similar scenarios to see how much of a tangible effect the latest version of Android M has.

Both the devices did not have SIM cards, and had Bluetooth, NFC, Android Beam disabled, along with the LED and tones disabled. The phones did have Wi-Fi enabled and GPS set to accuracy mode, and were placed at the same distance from the router. Along with this, both the phones had three IMAP accounts and a Gmail account with default settings loaded in. The phones also had identical apps installed and configured. The phones were left to idle for 48 hours, and the results are as below:

Android-M-Standby-Comparison

The initial results are indeed promising. After 48 hours of idle time, the Nexus 5 on Android 5.1.1 had a battery drain of 24% while the Nexus 5 on Android M’s Dev Preview had a drain of just 9%. The Android M Dev Preview (roughly) halved the battery drain as compared to Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. But how many hours of increase are we talking about?

Android-M-Standby-Comparison-2

 

At these projected values, a Nexus 5 in similar circumstances would last 22 days on standby on Android M, while this figure would be down to just 8 days on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. The results are definitely tangible and significant, to say the least.

One thing to note is that Android M’s Doze works upon only on standby time. It does not do anything towards increasing Screen On Time. So if you are a user who uses his phone more than keeping it idle, your results may not be at the same scale as this test.

Nevertheless, we are excited to see how future devices and apps adapt to these changes. We can definitely see some app developers misusing high priority notification in the future, and in turn, denying users their right to standby time. This would also greatly increase the life of Android tablets as they are more prone to leaving idle as compared to smartphones. Along with this, these results are based on a Developer Preview, so things can change for good (or worse) from now till the consumer release. We have our fingers crossed.

What do you think of Doze? Are you happy with the existing battery life on your phone? Do you think these improvements are enough to make a difference in your usage patterns? Let us know in the comments below!

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About author

Aamir Siddiqui
Aamir Siddiqui

I am a tech journalist with XDA since 2015, while being a qualified business-litigation lawyer with experience in the field. A low-end smartphone purchase in 2011 brought me to the forums, and it's been a journey filled with custom ROMs ever since. When not fully dipped in smartphone news, I love traveling to places just to capture pictures of the sun setting. You can reach out to me at [email protected]