For the vast majority of folks out there, battery life is easily one of, if not the most important features when looking to pick up a new smartphone. We’ve seen the same thing every year: manufacturers promise improved battery life thanks to more power efficient processors, while Google promises their latest version of Android is more optimized and battery friendly — but rarely do either have a dramatic impact on battery life. At least not in the real world.
The Google Pixel 2 XL crams a nicely sized 3,520mAh battery into its slim frame. It’s almost dead even with the 3,500mAh battery found in the Galaxy S8+ and while you’d expect comparable battery life, that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve been using the phone for the past 3 days now, and I’ve been documenting the battery life I’ve been receiving so far. Let’s take a look.
Pixel 2 XL Battery Life
Before we start, it’s worth mentioning (again) that battery life is one of those things that will never be the same for any two people. There are simply too many variables at play. Even when we’re dealing with two of the same exact devices, things like the apps installed, cellular signal, or services running in the background — all of these things greatly impact battery life and can skew the results. For me, all I can do is compare the battery life I’ve received on similarly equipped devices. That being said, let’s continue…
Over the past few days, I’ve been able to consistently hit 5-6 hours of screen on time with the Pixel 2 XL, something I typically only see from devices like the Mate 9 and its much larger 4,000mAh battery. This isn’t exactly heavy use, I mainly check Twitter, browse some Reddit, and fire off the occasional messages to friends or family. On devices like the Galaxy Note 8, most days I’d struggle to hit 4 hours of screen on time, while the OnePlus 5 was much of the same.
As for additional details worth mentioning, my brightness is manually set to about 50%, I have around 150+ apps installed (including Facebook and Facebook Messenger), Ambient display set to always on, as well as the new Now Playing feature on the lock screen (always listening). In other words — I haven’t exactly been holding back.
Whatever Google is doing with the Pixel 2 XL, they seem to have finally nailed down Android’s notoriously poor battery life. Whether this is unique to the Pixel 2 XL or all Android devices running Android 8.0 Oreo remains to be seen.
Read more: My Pixel 2 XL Battery Life
Pixel 2 XL Charging Times
Battery life is only one half of the equation when examining battery life. Charging speed is another important metric and we’ve seen lots of advancements here over the past few years. Motorola has their own 30W Turbo Charging technology, OnePlus has Dash Charging, and Qualcomm has been touting Quick Charge 4.0 as the next big evolution of fast charging.
Google, on the other hand is committed to using the USB compliant Type C Power Delivery on their devices. Using the the stock Type-C to Type-C cable that came in the box, along with the stock charger (5V/3A regular charging, or 9V/2A for Rapid Charging), I ran the battery down to 0% and closely monitored how long it would take to fully charge the Pixel 2 XL.
The results? It took a very surprising 2 hours and 43 minutes to “Rapidly Charge” the Pixel 2 XL with the stock charger/cable. If you’re curious to see a detailed breakdown on how fast the phone charges, check out my previous post here.
Charging speeds were also pretty inconsistent, especially when it came to the projected charging times displayed on the lock screen. At first, it was showing an overly optimistic 24 min until full, but that number eventually jumped way up and slowed down dramatically over the course of being plugged in. In other words: the Pixel 2 XL’s estimated “X min until full” is total bullsh*t.
It’s worth noting that the time it takes to fully charge a phone isn’t how fast charging works. What you want to pay attention to is how quickly the phone hits 50% to 75% mark. It’s after those percentages where charging speeds are throttled and you usually see a big dip in speeds to preserve battery health.
Even then, the charging speeds I’m getting on my unit are dramatically different from what I’ve seen others report (a little less than 2 hours, the same as last year’s Pixel XL). By comparison, the Galaxy Note 8’s 3,300mAh battery took 1 hour and 47 min to fully charge, while the OnePlus 5’s 3,300mAh battery can charge to 60% in only 30 minutes.
Fast charging speeds are more of an added benefit when it comes to Android devices and while a slow charging device can be an inconvenience, it’s rarely a deal breaker. I’m not exactly sure why my charging speeds are so low, but I’m sure Google is already working on a fix.
What have you guys been getting? Report your battery life and charge speeds in the comments below and let’s compare.