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We asked, you told us: Performance or battery life – why not both?

A surprisingly complicated problem in this week’s poll: What’s more important to you in your phone: performance or battery life?

Of course, both are hugely important to us, but there are limitations. You can’t expect to power a laptop with a great big internal battery for too long, but that’s what we ask of our smartphones, and we demand plenty of them.

The improvements in the SoC CPUs, courtesy mainly in Android thanks to Arm’s work with Qualcomm and other makers generally shows us big steps in both in each new generation through hard work some five years in the making. (We mentioned luck in the poll, but we all know the harder we work the luckier we get, right?)

A Cortex M0 on a single strand of human hair

A Cortex M0 on a single strand of human hair

That’s what we are expecting from the latest Cortex-A76, offering huge performance and power efficiency gains through improved designs that have been five-years in the making, as good man and our humble boffin Gary explained:

Now, performance tends not to be an issue even with the latest games in flagship SoCs with plenty of RAM. But not everything is about flagships as we seek more value, and of course, battery life can suffer in intensive applications – think the Pokémon Go craze and the sudden demand and need for power banks as people headed out away from home to throw Pokéballs. (My Nexus 6P battery never recovered from that abuse, RIP.)

So, we asked you, if you could only choose one or the other: performance or battery life, what would it be? Would you rather have a smartphone that gives you raw grunt, or a smartphone that might run just a bit more slowly for extra battery life? It’s all for the sake of argument, because yes, we want both. But you must choose!

Your votes were split, making it hard on your humble vote counter. The main thing here is that you were really divided depending on your platform. To us, that sort of says that you want both, and that’s ok – we all want the best of both worlds!

Numbers were strong on this one again with more than 53,000 of you voting on the website, on our YouTube poll, on Twitter, Facebook, and on Instagram. Here’s how you ebbed and flowed – make sure you click through on each tab:

My takeout from this is that the issue is seriously split down the middle, and mostly just about everyone more or less agreed within a few percentage points- except for when it comes down to the website vs Youtube results.

Website enthusiasts, we always say, are a little more gung-ho about their Android experience and their vote is clearly for more battery life – but the website poll doesn’t get close to our YouTube poll.

The quite strong 37,000 votes on YouTube were the other way – voting in performance over battery life. So there are pockets of users who are strongly for battery life, but there’s a wider range feeling of performance demands across the wider community – so it seems.

Let’s take a look at the comments to find out more:

  • I say performance because new phones fast charge. So, you can top off anytime really quickly. I’d rather have to do a 20-minute recharge a couple times a day and get phenomenal performance rather than stutters and lag frustrating me constantly. (And the best reply to that: That’s fine if when at home or at work, but it’s going to be frustrating when traveling.)
  • Battery life. I don’t play games so I can get by with (and actually prefer) Qualcomm’s excellent Snapdragon 6XX series chips. They offer more than enough power for what I do and great efficiency.
  • The battery is more important because what’s the point if you’re too afraid to use your phone because you’re low on power?
  • Modern day smartphones have good enough performance regardless of the price range. It’s the battery which needs development right now.
  • Performance: You can always charge a low batteryyou can never speed up a slow phone. You can have a good power bank to get rid of battery life issues.
  • Battery: If there is no battery left, there is no performance.

It’s clear this is a tricky one. Overall, performance won the most votes, but there were a lot of agreements and this comment summed up the situation nicely: “Isn’t the point of new iterations of CPUs to tie performance and battery life as unified improvements? Not separate them.”

Another good debate thanks to all of you voters! Stay fully juiced, stay free from lag, feel free to comment below on your thoughts on the results, and let’s catch up next week for more fun.

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