Test and Compare battery life with PCMark for Android

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 28, 2014
Google Android

If you compare the battery life of popular devices, or read about it in magazines or on the web, you will notice a huge gap between the top and bottom.

Battery life may not always be a factor or the major factor when buying a new mobile device but if you are on the go most of the time you may want to consider getting a device that lasts throughout the day as well even if you put it to use.

Even if a device performs poorly in regards to how long it runs on battery without charging, you may be able to overcome this limitation.

It is for instance possible to modify system settings such as the screen's brightness or the phone's location feature to improve battery life. There are also apps available that help you preserve battery and apps that you may want to disable or uninstall for the same reason.

PCMark for Android is a new benchmark that you can use to test your Android device's performance and battery life. First thing that you will notice on first start is that the actual benchmark is not even included in the app yet.

You need to download a 430 benchmark file in the app itself before you can run it on your device. It is that large according to the developers because it contains 1080p video and 4 MP photos that are used in tests.

pcmark for android

Once that is out of the way you can tap on run to start the benchmark on the device. Actually, there are two benchmarks that you can run afterwards. First a regular Work Benchmark and then a Battery benchmark to test the device's battery. The latter can only be run if the battery is charged at least 80%.

The regular benchmark did not complete on my Motorola Moto G device. It displayed a black screen shortly after start and the app would not recover from that which meant that I had to terminate it forcefully.

I experienced the very same issue while running the battery benchmark on the device.

I cannot say why it does not work, only that it did not work on the device I tested it with.

The only thing that I was able to do was to check the performance of other devices using the app.

Closing Words

The issues that I ran into are likely caused by a bug that the developers will fix in a future version.  The application can be useful to some Android users, for instance to test various battery saving techniques to find out which works and which does not work.


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  1. SuperAndroidUser said on March 3, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    I agree with you CHEF-KOCH we should not buy any phones if you can’t unlock there bootloaders. But nowadays there a lot of apps that can root your phone easily and can unroot it also. Me i recommend OneClickroot software the best way to root your phone with no hassle just clicking with their 5 steps. I have try it on my Galaxy S3 and it 100% works.

  2. CHEF-KOCH said on October 29, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Simple solution, not buy any phones if you can’t unlock there bootloaders. Or if there other mechanism to not get it rooted. There is also an non permanent root app which called towelroot which can even unlock s5,one plus. This is great for people which cares about the warranty.

    There are only two good root tools, supersu for permanent root if you have an unlocked bootloader and towelroot. All other tools ate just copies, not working on android l or only to fool people.

  3. Blue said on October 28, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    I don’t know what the licensing policy in Germany is but in Canada, when we purchase a new phone it will come with server pre-installed apps. Unless we Root our phones we simply can’t un-install them to save space, free memory, extend battery life, change the interface or customize other options.

    I have two Android phones, a SIIX that runs 4.1.2 and an S4 Mini that runs 4.2.2. The SIIX is rooted, but the S4 Mini can’t be rooted as of yet. The one touch program I use to root them doesn’t have a fix/patch/upgrade for the mini versions yet. The base battery capacity on the SIIX is 1950 mAh, while the mini actually has a physically larger battery that holds 2250 mAh.

    On regular use I can wait up to 5 days before requiring a charge to the SIIX, but the mini requires a charge every 36 hours or less. Android o/s 4.1.2 allows users to set airplane mode to be toggled on/off via apps to save 60% power when we’re sleeping or in an environment that disallows mobile phone use. Android 4.2 or higher disabled app access to toggle Airplane mode on/off.

    So on the SIIX I use Battery Doctor with it’s auto modes to toggle on Airplane mode when I am in bed, and toggle off when I wake. On the mini, the only thing it will adjust in the modes is basic stuff like screen brightness, data, on/off, and WiFi on/off. Which does save a little bit of battery life (14%) but not as much as toggling Airplane mode does (60%).

    My one touch root app of choice, “Kingo”… which is a free developer supported app without spyware, or freeware nuisances. They simply ask for donations via a floating, “donate via Paypal” box on the home screen but that is it. Install the program, run it for the first time.

    Then when it asks to plug in your phone do so. It will access it’s database via internet and download the required codes/method to root your phone. If it is successful it will report, “Success”, at the end. If not, it will simply go back to the beginning. My only warning is to search and download your o/s before proceeding with rooting. Dummy me got soo excited that Kingo worked like a charm on the first try.

    I almost bricked my phone following advice from an app (Battery Doctor) that claimed bogus information that should not be followed under any circumstances. It suggested many more fix-its, and enhancements once it recognized my phone was rooted and suggested I delete what it claimed were non-essential or no longer used apps. On doing so the basic features of my phone stopped working.

    I lost the Camera, Gallery, Video Player, Audio Player, pre-installed Widgets like clock, weather and more. The only thing the phone would do was be a phone and nothing else. It wouldn’t even keep track of calender events because of, “Battery Doctor’s” suggestions.

    Only through searching through dozens and dozens of Android forum sites did I find and download 4.1.2 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and software to re-install it after I un-rooted my phone just to get back the use of the apps and widgets I lost.

    But hands down, the best and easiest way to root a phone is, KINGO.


    1. Martin Brinkmann said on October 28, 2014 at 10:57 pm

      It is the same here. Phones by major companies come with lots of apps that they have added to the system that you cannot uninstall by default.

  4. CHEF-KOCH said on October 28, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    That tool is more or less beta and somtimes gives wrong results. Better use known tools to see what’s draining your battery, like wakelock detector, betterbatterystats and compare with optional battery tools like 3c toolbox, batterystats and such. It’s like with every syntetically bench, the theorey is far away from the daily usage and bugs.

    Use greenify and lion taper (aka unbouncer) and check against wakelock detector or betterbatterystats. That are the tools that I use and the only one without placebo effect.

  5. Pd said on October 28, 2014 at 10:43 am

    Battery life limits is why modern phones should actually be called DumbPhones. It’s the one constant nightmare of using these tools.

    I’ve tried a few apps claiming to help with battery life but none of them have made a significant difference. I run my GS2 permanently in power saving mode and it still chews the battery and I don’t even play games much.

    To this app specifically, why does it require Identity permissions? I refuse to install anything that requires that permission.

    1. Eric said on October 28, 2014 at 3:33 pm

      Which permissions concern you? They seem pretty straight forward for this type of app.

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