We all want fast internet access on our smartphones and mobiles. The options available to get it are 3G, 4G LTE, and Wifi. We look at how the three compare in terms of battery power consumption.
It is a technical fact: 3G and 4G LTE drain battery faster than WiFi. As such, if you want to conserve battery on your smartphone while enjoying broadband speeds, connect via WiFi. If battery life is more important to you than speed and you do not have a WiFi hotspot available, change your mobile network connection from 3G to 2G. Your phone will connect via GPRS/EDGE, which is much slower than 3G, but you will experience much longer battery life.
If you must use mobile internet via your network operator, do note the following:
- GPRS/EDGE gives the slowest speeds, and longest battery life. We should not be mentioning these if you are looking for mobile broadband
- 3G (covers 3.5G and 3.75G) is much faster, but your battery will drain faster
- 4G supported mobiles (if your operator runs a 4G LTE network) will give you even faster speeds than 3G, but will drain your battery even faster
The rule is this with network data: the faster you go, the more fuel you burn. Simple. But if you have WiFi available, it is your best shot at getting good speed without emptying your battery in a few hours. So, be on the lookout for WiFi hotspots – commercial or free. If you are going to use a free Wifi hotspot, be aware of the security risks involved.
Of course, as manufacturers continue to optimise radio performance on their 4G supported mobiles, the latest 4G mobiles will drain less and less power than they did in the early years of the technology.
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.