3G vs wifi: battery life?


  1. brigand

    brigand Active Member

    When I'm in my apartment, I'm wondering if I should turn off 3G and just keep my phone connected to my wifi connection all the time. Would this save some battery life?

    My thinking is that it would cause less strain on the phone and battery to connect to my wireless router which is never more than about 20 feet away from me at any moment, than to connect to some tower. (Then again, I live in Manhattan so I would assume there's pretty good tower coverage- in my apartment, I always have 4 bars, and signal strength is usually -60dBm).

    Also, my wifi is just ridiculously faster than 3G (which is of course no surprise). After running the test on speedtest.net several times on my phone, my average speeds are:

    - 3G: 2Mbit/s download, .7Mbit/s upload
    - wifi: 13Mbit/s download, 8Mbit/s upload

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  2. olbriar

    olbriar Moderator Moderator

    I would guess there isn't much difference as long as you have a solid 3g connection. I am only guessing though.. I KNOW if your 3g is iffy there is an extra drain on the battery. With the speed difference.. who cares which is more efficient lol. WIFI when available is the given option.
  3. Stupifier

    Stupifier Well-Known Member

    WiFi uses less battery than 3G, you are correct.
    gonzo8402, Tyseyh and howarmat like this.
  4. WormDoes

    WormDoes Well-Known Member

    I use WiFi whenever I'm at home and whenever I can find it when I'm out
    gonzo8402 likes this.
  5. Dannyseed

    Dannyseed Well-Known Member

    WiFi
    gonzo8402 likes this.
  6. jayochs

    jayochs Well-Known Member

    are there any proven results as of this? i've never noticed wifi using any less battery on my phone, and i always hover around -90 dbm....
  7. octoberdana

    octoberdana Well-Known Member

    Is there a way to automatically turn off 3G when you connect to wifi? I have wifi at home so I would rather use that, but then I have to remember to turn off 3G and turn it back on whenever I get in the car, and this is kind of a pain.
  8. Wrathenn

    Wrathenn Well-Known Member

    Leave the 3G connection turned on, the phone will use WiFi while it is available. But if you turn off the 3G radio you would miss texts, calls, etc.
  9. ACD168

    ACD168 Well-Known Member


    This is so wrong. Don't give out bad info like this...

    phone, txt, sms, calls ect. DO NO require 3G.
    check your facts before speaking them, this could change someones entire outlook.
    there is a setting for 3g it's called "always on" which means it will turn off while the phone is alseep, saves a ton of battery for me.
    Divine_Madcat and howarmat like this.
  10. ACD168

    ACD168 Well-Known Member

    which is why I just stick with 3G unless I'm downloading or using the browser, but lets face it, if I'm home I'm usually on my laptop.. so having it on wifi would kill my battery as it would stay connected as 3g will turn off after being asleep for a few mins. yea I wont get txts, until I turn the screen on and 3g pops back on, takes a whole second lol. I get 2 days stock battery easily.
  11. dragonsamus

    dragonsamus Well-Known Member

    I would switch to wifi for the speed boost.

    I notice huge battery drain when I leave wifi on and go to sleep at night. Why is that?
  12. Wrathenn

    Wrathenn Well-Known Member

    ACD168;

    Would you please clarify your statements regarding 3g? In one reply you blast me for 'giving out bad information' and in the next you make a comment that 'yeah I won't get txts'. Not trying to start a flame war, just interested in the details, thanks.
  13. Wrathenn

    Wrathenn Well-Known Member

    Also, to clarify....when I said 'if you turn off the 3G radio'....I was referring to totally disabling the mobile radio (i.e. using Airplane mode) which does indeed prevent calls and texts from arriving at the phone.

    I should have been more specific, since just unchecking the 'Mobile network' box under Settings => Wireless & Networks just turns off data connectivity but still allows calls and texts.
  14. octoberdana

    octoberdana Well-Known Member

    I am really confused now. I have wifi at home, am I better off just using 3G because wifi runs constantly? I need 3G at work and when I'm out and about. I am trying not to cripple my phone so that I can use it as much as I need to, but also save battery life when possible.
  15. Wrathenn

    Wrathenn Well-Known Member

    Octoberdana;
    What I do is turn ON WiFi when I am at home, that way the phone can use the WiFi connection for Internet access. When I go to work (or out and about) I turn OFF WiFi so that the phone uses the mobile radio for Internet access. What I've noticed is that when at home with WiFi ON (say on a weekend especially) the battery lasts longer than with WiFi OFF.
    Just my 2 cents, your mileage may vary, test it out in your situation and see how it works.
    gonzo8402 likes this.
  16. sta7ic

    sta7ic Well-Known Member

    You're absolutely correct. Using Wifi uses less battery. When you turn the wifi on and are connected, the phone's 3G radio is turned off (thats why the icon for it disappears). It definitely saves battery. You will still receive calls, texts, whatever. It takes far more energy to send data over 3G(and its slower) then the 20 ft to your radio.

    If you turn off only the 3G radio, you again will still receive texts and calls. Its only if you put the phone in airplane mode will it cut off your cell signal entirely. T
    brigand likes this.
  17. ACD168

    ACD168 Well-Known Member


    Hey sorry man didn't mean to come off as a blast on ya, just didn't want the wrong info getting out there. turning off 3G, and enabling airplane mode are two entirely different things. 3G is used for internet, gmail etc. it isn't needed for txt msgs, phone calls. in airplane mode, yes you cannot receive any type of data or phone or txt. :cool:
  18. WormDoes

    WormDoes Well-Known Member

    You could always put the mobile network widget (add>widget>settings>mobile network) on your home screen so you can easily toggle between that and WiFi.
  19. Kennyc11

    Kennyc11 Well-Known Member

    Whenever I am at home I ALWAYS have my phone on wifi. It seems to be less drain on the battery IN MY OPINION (Can not stress that enough). Some people say that they leave their phone on wifi when they go to bed and it drains a lot of battery, I find that not true for me. Whenever i go to bed i keep my phone on wifi, and when I wake up it usually drops 2-10 percent (depending on how many text/emails I get at night). I usually sleep for 5-8 hours.
    gonzo8402 likes this.
  20. ChiTownJim

    ChiTownJim Well-Known Member

    There is a lot of bad information in this thread .

    There is no proof that wifi uses less then 3g . I however notice I do get less battery drain when connected to wifi, Once you set up a wifi network your phone will automatically connect to it when it detects it and turn off 3g. You still get all your texts, calls, etc. you will not notice a difference when connected to wifi other then faster data and less battery drain .

    Now to the tuning 3g (mobile network) off when not connected to wifi you will still get calls and texts as normal and use a lot less battery but you will not be able to retrieve emails or multimedia messages ( picture texts or video texts )
  21. jayochs

    jayochs Well-Known Member

    ok so for everyone who says wifi uses less, please explain this to me...androids stock setting for wifi usage is to never let the phone sleep. meaning, if none of you changed the setting, you all have 100% awake time. if you changed the setting to turn off after 15 minutes, then after fifteen minutes your 3y radio turns back on and wifi turns off until you wake the phone up again. from what i've come to learn, 100% awake time=bad on the battery life...so what is all yours set to? 15 min or never turn off?
  22. DevilsSi1481

    DevilsSi1481 Member

    im interested in more info also. i thought i remember it draining my phone alot faster when i had wifi on. so i turned it completely off. cus i think even when i was out and about it was always constantly trying to connect to wifi.
  23. brigand

    brigand Active Member

    I'm not really sure what you mean. When I was in my apartment all day yesterday, I turned off 3G, turned on wifi, and connected to my wireless network. Wifi has definitely not kept my phone awake (40 hours up, 4 hours awake). What "stock setting for wifi usage" are you talking about? I just have it on. I don't see anything about it turning off after 15 minutes. Could you tell me specifically how I get to these settings?
  24. brigand

    brigand Active Member

    I'm talking about turning on wifi when you have a known, reliable connection (eg, your wireless network in your house). I would definitely not leave wifi on when you're out and about. When I leave my apartment, I turn wifi off and turn 3G on. If I go to a friend's house (or some other place that has a reliable wifi connection), I'll turn off 3G and connect to wifi.

    My assessment so far: when I'm home, turning off 3G and connecting to wifi saves some battery life. At the very least, it doesn't use MORE battery than 3G- so for me, using wifi, while I'm at home, is a no-brainer because it's so much faster and more reliable.
  25. ChiTownJim

    ChiTownJim Well-Known Member

    I Don't leave my wifi on when it's not connected. I use Tasker to automatically connect to wifi and turn it off when not needed . I have my 3g and wifi set to never sleep. And I get 18-30hrs of pretty solid use with a 1500mah battery. Have gotten as high as 44hrs on minimal use

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