Does Power Saving Mode actually result in better battery life on the Galaxy S6?

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Various devices have power saving modes that are great for extending battery life. On the surface, they sound great because everyone wants to use their phones for as long as possible without having to sit next to a wall outlet while charging. Power saving modes can really limit what is possible in reality. So it may or may not be worth it, especially considering that the added time on batter life may not be worth it.

Note: Power Saving Mode is different than the more intense Ultra Power Saving Mode.

This test will be conducted with the Galaxy S6 Edge to show whether or not Samsung’s Power Saving Mode has a real advantage when activated.

I mostly use my phone for social media, web browsing on Chrome, and the camera here and there. In terms of outside connections, I have Bluetooth on at all times for my Gear 2 Neo with WiFi and GPS being activated when available and necessary. Although this test is being done with the Galaxy S6 Edge, the battery only differs from the Galaxy S6’s by 50mAh.

I used my phone normally in its regular full power mode and then switched to Power Saving Mode for the next day (after charging). I kept switching between these each day for eight days and what follows are my results. Again, I switched to the opposite mode after charging and not an actual 24-hour day as some days go past 24 hours.

Day 1: Full Power

On the first day, I decided to test on full power for a baseline. Totally normal day and normal use. I had been using Power Saving Mode before this and one of its changes include turning off the capacitive buttons. When I turned Power Saving Mode off, they never came back for some reason. I then toggled the switch on and off a few times and they eventually came back returned. I assume this is a bug, but figured I’d mention it in case the bug actually kept Power Saving Mode partially on.

Overall, I got pretty great battery life. It was actually the best battery life I have ever had with this phone so far.

Total time: 28hrs
Screen on time: 4hrs

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Day 2: Power Saving Mode

This is the first Power Saving Mode day. I expected a little less battery just because yesterday was unusually long lasting for no apparent reason. However, due to the day running long, my charging time was different. This meant it went two nights before charging from lengthy standby time. The only good thing was my phone was now basically dead first thing in the morning making future testing more accurate.

Using Power Saving Mode here did add a few more hours of battery life with roughly the same screen on time.

Total time: 35hrs
Screen on time: 4hrs

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Day 3: Full Power

The third day was a much better test as the phone was charged in the morning. Interesting enough, it lasted almost as long as the others. A little worse screen on time and lower total time.

Total time: 31.5hrs
Screen on time: 3.5hrs

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Day 4: Power Saving Mode

Again, the phone was charged in the morning. I was trying to keep my use roughly the same each day so the only deciding factor is Power Savings Mode. It seemed to be adding a few more hours of life. On this day, however, I had to go out for hours on the eve of Canada Day. The time was noticeably less as it was not on WiFi and had bad signal for a few hours.

Total time: 25hrs
Screen on time: 4hrs

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Day 5: Full Power

On Canada Day, I was out all day. Not the best signal and WiFi networks were few and far between. I took lots of pictures today between all of the traveling done for the holiday and there was much more use than standby time.

Screen on time was definitely lower with all of the activity. I would imagine this was because of the power-hungry camera that uses a ton of battery and switches the display’s brightness to its upper limit when turned launched.

Total time: 18hrs
Screen on time: 2.5hrs

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Day 6: Power Saving Mode

Signal was a bit iffy on the sixth day and I was mostly on WiFi. I took a few pictures, but not as many as the previous day and did most of my work with Samsung’s Multi Window. Running two apps simultaneously on the display is sure to deplete battery life.

Total time: 15.5hrs
Screen on time: 3hrs

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Day 7: Full Power

Multi Window was used a lot on the seventh day for work-related purposes. I had low cell signal for most of the day, but also mostly on WiFi overall. Other than that just a normal day with normal use.

Total time: 20hrs
Screen on time: 3hrs

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Day 8: Power Saving Mode

This last day was more like the first couple of days where basically WiFi was used the entire day. Chrome and YouTube were the apps used most.

I could’ve “cheated” and not used it for a couple minutes longer, saving me battery and allowing it to have just enough to get though the night. It would’ve added an extra 8hrs of total time making the results to be around 20hrs total standby time. I decided that was pointless and I’d just do the extra couple google searches draining the battery into low range.

Just a quick bonus story. I ended up plugging it into a quick charger as I went to brush my teeth etc before I went to sleep. Obviously not that long, but when I came back and unplugged it the battery read 20%. It went up 15% in only a few minutes. Very impressive and giving me easily enough battery to last the night.

Total time: 13.5hrs
Screen on time: 4.5hrs

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Close

Overall, the testing was pretty fair. I had a few days on each mode where I did nothing much all day and a few days where I’m working the phone’s processor.

Here are the totals:

Full Power
Standby Time: 97.5
Screen on Time: 13

Power Savings
Standby Time: 89
Screen on Time: 15.5

Interesting results, right? I expected Power Savings to be ahead in standby time and only a little difference in screen on time, but the results show the opposite. In a normal week, I actually got more standby time with full power, but, despite that, a few more hours of screen on time with Power Saving Mode on.

However, on the eighth day, which was a Power Saving Mode day, I did say that it would have been possible for me to get roughly 7-8 hours more standby time, thus making the standby time on both about equal. Personally. I think over a month the results would become very similar. It seems much more dependent on how you use your phone overall.

In terms of actual use, I didn’t notice much difference when Power Saving Mode was on. The phone felt basically the same with only the buttons losing sensitivity. A few other differences is the home screen apps refresh a little more often when exiting an app and the camera launches a little bit slower.

Due to the added battery life, I’d recommend using Power Saving Mode most of the time; the results show it can really go either way. The only time I definitely don’t recommend having it on is when you are playing high-powered games or apps that would use lots of power. Another time to keep it off is if you are using the camera to take shots of things that are moving whether it be cars, animals, or children. I was in a car trying to take pictures of rare cars driving around me and Power Saving Mode added just a touch of delay when you press the capture button. I would always end up only getting part of or totally missing the car because of this. Very frustrating and a mistake I won’t make again.

Are the results what you expected? Tell us in the comments below.


About the Author: Brent D'Alessandro

Brent is a graphic designer based in Toronto. Recently, he moved into designing more with Android. You may have seen some of Brent's themes in the popular Android launcher, "Themer." He has also made themes for Samsung's theme store. Aside from using Android devices all day, Brent spends a lot of his free time talking about Android on various forums. Brent was already writing about Android on the internet and figured it was finally time to make the move to a professional writer. When not writing with Talk Android, you can find him on http://www.teamshmo.com/


  • sugarwer765

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  • Victor Alfredo Diaz Lopez

    why does everyone say “should of”? even english teachers.
    should’ve > should have*
    bet this is not a problem in europe.
    now i’m not a grammar bully, and i do commit a lot of typos, but it’s a little mind boggling how education in america is way below other countries.

    • Brent

      People make that mistake all the time because they sound exactly the same. As you said, it’s quite common. Also, I’m not from America and your comment is absolutely filled with errors. In the last sentence you didn’t even spell my name correctly.

      • Victor Alfredo Diaz Lopez

        they don’t sound the same…. and yeah i pay no attention to what i write. working on it, but never will write perfect unless it’s homework or office work. i was not criticizing you by the way. you probably have grammar skills beyond mine, but with one little thing that seemed you didnt know about.

        • Dave Bowman

          Lol… As a non-native English speaker, you actually sound like you are very proficient in the language (the above errors notwithstanding.) However, you might want to look up the definition of “criticize.” What you’re doing fits multiple definitions of the word perfectly:

          Simple Definition of criticize (from Merriam-Webster):

          : to express disapproval of (someone or something)

          : to talk about the problems or faults of (someone or something)

          : to look at and make judgments about (something, such as a piece of writing or a work of art)

          Sorry, I don’t usually take the time to go off on someone like this, but your post really bugged me. I found this article from a Google search, and it had exactly the information I was looking for. I often go to the comments section to look for relevant discussion related to the topic of the article I read. To see this kind of grammar-nazi nonsense cluttering up the comments section is annoying.

          • Victor Alfredo Diaz Lopez

            oh you made 1 mistake! haha :p

            • Nathan W

              I can’t stand it when some ignoramus uses the comments section of an article to push their personal agenda on some totally unrelated matter. People read these articles and their respective comments for their subject matter, not to be distracted by unnecessary verbose (redundancy intended). This comment section is not the place for criticizing America’s education system or the author’s use of proper grammar. Maybe you ought to stick to stuff like “The American Journal of Medicine”, you know, just to make sure our education system is adequate to Europe’s lofty standards. Good grief. I weep for the future of mankind.

            • Victor Alfredo Diaz Lopez

              First off i didnt criticize the author, it was meant to help. I did a terrible job at it. Second, well, yes i did talk shit on american education. Third…you are right about what you said! Totally. So im not coming back to this post anymore haha. But hey you helped me by expressing yourself THANKS

            • Awesome Bryner

              Good because I got a headache reading your complaining about what others do. Usually, what goes around, comes around.

    • Dave Bowman

      “I’m not a grammar bully, but let me proceed to be a grammar bully.”

      People like you are really annoying. If you’re going to be a grammar bully, you should at least proofread your own stuff, dude. In your case, I doubt the education system in Europe, or wherever you are, can be blamed. My guess is the blame falls squarely on your ineptitude and laziness. Well, allow me to grammar bully the grammar bully.

      To start off with, you didn’t capitalize any words at the beginnings of your sentences.

      Other errors in your writing:

      “bet this is not a problem in europe” –> Sentence is missing a subject. Who “bets”?
      “europe” –> proper noun, should be capitalized
      “i’m” –> first person pronoun, “I” should be capitalized
      “brent” –> proper noun, should be capitalized
      “reserach” –> misspelled word “research”
      “specially” –> misspelled word “especially.” My guess is this one wasn’t a typo.
      “not doing this to feel better about myself…” –> Sentence is missing a subject. Who is “not doing this…”?

      “but I sincerely hope trent learns about this very small issue” –>
      Started sentence with a conjunction

      Misspelled “Brent” as “Trent”
      “Trent” is a proper noun, and should be capitalized.

      I count a total of 17 grammar, spelling, and sentence structure mistakes in that short section of text you wrote. And you’re criticizing someone else’s grammar, and condemning the education system of an entire country? Get a life.

      • Victor Alfredo Diaz Lopez

        im not a grammar bully. i dont care much for grammar. i only pointed out that if i was to write something professionally, it would suck not knowing something like “should’ve”
        but i should pay more attention to what i write on my phone’s keyboard; not for grammar purposes, but for communication purposes at least. i thank you for your observations though. by the way, the only reason i know that “should of” is not correct, os because I’m not a native english speaker, so i actually had to learn it in written form.

      • Victor Alfredo Diaz Lopez

        i was not trying to write properly at all. although i should at least try to communicate successfully. i dont care about grammar, and not a grammar bully. i was actually trying to help the man out on the only one thing he did not know; then i went ahead and proceeded to rant about other stuff. i said a lot of stuff that didnt help. i just hope the authoer doesnt say “should of” from now on.
        and yes there is plenty of errors even in what im writing right now. i dont care.

  • D

    Very interesting!

  • Urs

    Thank you! Interesting test but adding some technical information about what this power saving mode actually does would make it complete.

    (And I agree, ‘should of’ as a professional writer!?)

    • Brent

      No one really knows what it does exactly. From what I have heard it lowers the screen brightness and limits the CPU, but that description is so vague. That is why I ended up doing this test, to see if it even did anything, or if it was just a marketing thing to say they had it. Also, for the record, I never wrote “should of” anywhere in the article. I wrote “could of” once by mistake and fixed it. However, the comments would make it seem like it was everywhere lol.

      • malav patel

        Powers saving mode on the note 4 cuts performance down by 50%, restricts background data and lowers the screen brightness. Ik this because I ran geek bench with power saving and without power saving and without the power saving the score doubled

        • Brent

          This is roughly what I have heard as well. On my S3 it saved a lot of battery, but on my S6 edge it doesn’t save that much. The numbers really speak for themselves. Even when I go to the settings it tells me power savings mode will only help by about 10-20 extra minutes. Doesn’t really make sense that it would be so similar if it was actually cutting power in all the areas you listed.

  • Petar Ralinovski

    Nice article ,and yes I was noticing the same results!