How does DxOMark test smartphone batteries?

I think most of us are familiar with DxOMark‘s smartphone camera reviews, and how brands fight to get to the top of rankings for various categories such as video, photo, or even selfie camera performance. The independent testers recently expanded mobile displays and audio performance—and now, they’ve added a new protocol for batteries.

So, how does DxOMark even test batteries?

Autonomy, charging, and efficiency

DxOMark explains that as part of its battery testing process, scores are given based on tests for autonomy (how long a charge lasts, battery life), charging (how long a recharge takes), and efficiency (how a smartphone manages its battery during charging/discharging). Included in the tests is the use of a Faraday cage, which basically isolates the tested smartphone from any potential external factors that might affect precision.

Also, WiFi and data access is pure and stable within the Faraday cage, offering a better assessment of the smartphone battery’s performance. Within this cage, DxOMark testers use an array of four touch-robots to emulate human gestures—such as scrolling, swiping, and tapping; they even have computer vision to “recognise” apps and keyboards (popups, too).

The emulation of real-life usage ranges from lighting (provided by the robots) to the mimicking of notification checks throughout a day. The only thing missing is 5G, because the lab is simply not covered for now. As such, they turn 5G connectivity off on supported devices to level the playing field.

“The 24-hour scenario includes 4 hours of screen-on time per day, which research indicates is the average time of use around the world, and multiple types of activities: social and communications, music and video, and gaming, among others, using the latest versions of some of the most popular applications here in Europe, where our lab is located.”

Other tests include on-the-go tests, and calibrated use case tests (also conducted within a Faraday cage). Meanwhile, charging tests are conducted with official equipment from manufacturers, while efficiency scores are given based on the ability to transfer power from an outlet to a smartphone—and how much residual power is consumed on average.

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These three factors are used to compute an overall Battery score. Here’s a quick recap, provided by non other than DxOMark themselves:

“To briefly recap our scoring system (which we explained in more detail in our introductory article), we compute our overall Battery score from three sub-scores — Autonomy, Charging, and Efficiency. We calculate our Autonomy score from the results of three different kinds of tests: stationary, on the go, and calibrated use cases. Our Charging score takes into account full charge and quick boost results along with battery linearity. And finally, our Efficiency score is based on charge up (the efficacity of the adapter) as well as discharge (the overall power consumption measured in our typical usage scenario and in our calibrated use cases).”

It’s all very technical, and I personally can’t wait to see how DxOMark ranks the battery performance of 2021’s set of flagship devices. What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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