All things being equal, Windows Phone beats Android for battery life (for now)


Credit: HTC

After years of Windows Phone and Android handsets running on similar hardware, we now have the two platforms available on the exact same device: An older model of the HTC One M8 uses Android, while the latest edition comes with Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8.1. Aside from the software, these two phones are identical. So which has the better battery life based on the platform it runs?

htc one 2

The only way to find the exact answer would be to test the two phones side by side as they perform the same activities. I’m sure someone will attempt that arduous task at some point, but for now, the product pages are a good proxy. And they suggest that a [company]Microsoft[/company] Windows Phone will get between 6.5 and 10 percent better battery life than the same phone running [company]Google[/company] Android.

Neowin peeked at HTC’s own product pages for the data and found the following battery life specifications for the HTC One M8:

It’s a small difference but speaks to how Microsoft has engineered Windows Phone. I’ve often said that the software runs very well on lesser hardware. Now that we can compare directly, it confirms my experiences showing the platform is well optimized.

Microsoft’s battery advantage may be short-lived, however.

Part of Android L, the next major Google software version due out later this year, is aimed specifically at improving battery life. The effort is called Project Volta and Google introduced the power optimization strategy at its Google I/O developer event this past June. Early testing from Ars Technica on pre-release Android L software has already shown a 36 percent run-time boost when compared to Android 4.4 on the same hardware.


Rann Xeroxx

It makes perfect sense, WP8 is designed to run on some very limited hardware so even if its on more capable hardware does not mean its going to burn up processing power and mem for no reason.

MS also code their devices more like Apple does with iPhone then Google does with Android in that MS has far more control and restrictions on what WP8 will do and not do. This is why both WP8 and iOS have always had fluid UIs while Android has only recently been able to achieve that on more powerful devices.


I would be interested to see a full slate of performance comparisons, not just battery life.

Darrin Lim

This adds to my confusion over why Nokia chose to put Android on the Nokia X. The better battery life implies that WinPhone is more efficient than Android and therefore *should* run better on low spec hardware.

So why bother dressing up a version of Android to look like WinPhone on the entry-level Nokia X?


I think the difference is apps and services. More apps on average installed on aandroid devices because of availability and Google services draw more power because they are more developed and linked in to third party apps

Seth Weintraub

Not sure I’d say “all things being equal” since HTC puts Sense over top of Android whereas Windows Phone stays generic. I’d like to see the same tests with Google Play edition

Liberal Democrat

That is not a fair point. Almost all people do not change what comes on their phones. I have also read that the phone with windows give almost double battery life for usage.

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