December 9th, 2011, 11:19 AM
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Appleton, WI
Device(s): HTC Rezound (S-Off/rooted/ running Nils' Business ICS 4.0.3 v6.0, Acer Iconia A500 Tab (stock ICS)
Carrier: Not Provided
Thanked 44 Times in 33 Posts
I think there's a lot of misinformation out there about 4G and battery life, at least as it pertains to a comparison to 3G. While WiFi is an alternative that appears to have less of an impact on battery, I'm going to ignore WiFi for the purpose of this discussion and focus specifically on 4G vs 3G.
All things being equal, I don't believe that 4G has more of a battery drain than 3G. Now, when I say "all things being equal", it's important to note that my example assumes that your 4G coverage is just as strong as your 3G coverage. If you've got a solid 4G signal, and you're downloading the same amount of data as you would using 3G, then I've seen nothing to indicate that 4G is harder on the battery... in fact, you could make the case that it's actually easier on the battery since the connect time to download the data is so much shorter, effectively negating any higher battery draw over time.
Now, the caveat to this is that 4G coverage is very spotty in a lot of areas. If you aren't getting good 4G coverage, then the phone is working harder to maintain a signal, and it will go through battery faster for this reason. This has always been the case going all the way back to the analog days... the lower quality signal you have, the harder your phone works, and the quicker the battery drains.
Also... and this is more user related than network related... you may tend to download more data over 4G than you would over 3G, because, well, you can. It's so much faster. This allows you to do things online over 4G that you probably wouldn't do over 3G because it would take too long. This skews the profile as well.
I've had my Rezound for about 3 weeks now, and done some testing... I have a very good, very strong 4G signal in my area, and in my tests leaving 4G enabled vs switching it to 3G only, I haven't noticed a difference in battery life. Your mileage may vary.
Oh, and regarding WiFi... I'm predominantly a business user, and I move around a lot, and I don't use WiFi because honestly the reason I have a smartphone in the first place is so that I don't have to rely on WiFi. That's what I'm paying to use Verizon's network for.
Just my opinion.