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  1. Thread Author  Thread Author    #1  
    carraser891's Avatar

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    Default Which uses less battery - WiFi or 3G?

    Currently i am in a very good 3G area where i consistently get 4-5 bars all the time. I recently started using my wifi because i heard it uses less battery. But i only get 1 bar TOPS for wifi and i notice things like web browsing and facebook are ridiculously slow (wifi at my school sucks). Then when i turn off the wifi and the phone switches to 3G, everything is blazing fast. So does 5 bars of 3G use less battery than 1 bar of WiFi? if so im turning wifi off.
  2. #2  

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    From my understanding WiFi uses more power over 3g service regardless of what level of signal your getting.

    Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
    Paul
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  3. #3  
    jd195's Avatar

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    I don't have the links to back this up at the moment, but under equal circumstances, I thought it was the other way around? I remember reading that WiFI is better for data heavy apps like Pandora, and such.

    Edit: Found one source. http://jvoegele.blogspot.com/2010/10...r-samsung.html

    About halfway down, under the right conditions WiFi wins out, it seems
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  4. #4  

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    I won't say that article is wrong, but at home I leave WiFi on and connect to my router. If I use that all day long it still seems like my battery will drain faster than if I'm simply using 3g at home to do the same tasks.

    This was even before I rooted my phone and started running custom ROMs.

    Good job on providing the source article!
    Paul
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  5. #5  

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    I guess that varies on how strong of a connection you're getting, and what you're using on the phone.. If you're getting strong 3g/4g network connection - your battery will last a longer time. Vice versa with a steady wifi signal. Which is better in conserving battery... each individual phone will give different results. In fairness - I don't think there is any one correct answer to your question.(IMO)
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  6. #6  
    Kikoshi's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by jd195 View Post
    I don't have the links to back this up at the moment, but under equal circumstances, I thought it was the other way around? I remember reading that WiFI is better for data heavy apps like Pandora, and such.

    Edit: Found one source. Unweaving the Rainbow: How to Improve Battery Life for the Samsung Epic 4G

    About halfway down, under the right conditions WiFi wins out, it seems
    In my own suggestion, if there is free wifi, I'll use that one right of the bat, if there isn't wifi, i use 3G/4G when im able to.

    so does it really matter which one uses more battery? not really in some aspects, because if you can't use Wifi, you still gotta use 3G/4G or vise versa :P
  7. #7  
    jd195's Avatar

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    Yeah, Paul. I don't really think it will matter too much in the long run. I tend to get pretty bad 3G signal in my house so I normally swap over to WiFi, but an entire day exclusively on either tends to not vary by more than maybe 5-10% on normal usage for me.
  8. #8  
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    Hmm, I have consistently decent coverage (3-4 bars most of the time, sometimes 2), and if I'm connected to WiFi I see much better battery life over the course of the day. During an hour on WiFi my battery will drop maybe 8%, but when I then switch to 3G and go out, my battery will drop closer to 10-12% per hour, which adds up pretty quickly. Of course, using something like Juice Defender makes this much better, but that's besides the point.
  9. #9  

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    i would just go with whatever gives you the fastest speeds imo, regardless of battery drain. its prolly not even that big of a differnece which connection your are using and more to do with what you are running on your phone
  10. #10  

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    @bojackson. Agreed. I will go with whatever gives me better speed. 5-10% difference between 3g/wifi is not a make it or break it situation for me as it is to others which is very understandable.
    Paul
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  11. #11  
    BlackHawkA4's Avatar
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    I know for a fact that wifi uses less when cell signal is very low.
  12. #12  
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    It depends... Some quick facts:

    1)While using a lot of data: wifi is more efficient with electricity
    2)While not using data, 3G is more efficient, when it goes idle it uses less juice
    3)When your screen turns off, wifi and 4G normally go idle, and 3g is used if your phone is searching for data. In this scenario, if you're using up a lot of data while your screen is off, then you phone will die quickly.

    So, the question is how much data do you actually use when your screen is on and off? And, what's the configuration for your wifi when the screen goes off?

    When I say screen off I mean when your phone goes into a sleep state. The exception, if your phone is using wifi and the screen turns off, it'll keep using wifi until you stop and the phone goes to sleep.
    Last edited by coolqf; 01-27-2011 at 02:08 PM.
  13. #13  

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    I work from home so I always have my phone on WiFi. It saves the battery. I have tested both and WiFi is much better on the battery. I have good coverage at my house too. I am either at full bars or 1 minus full. If I leave the house, I turn WiFi off so it doesn't keep searching.

    Another thing you may want to do is change the default WiFi sleep policy to keep WiFi on even when the phone display is off. By default, even when WiFi is enabled, once the display turns off it switches back to regular 3g data. You can modify this default policy by:
    Menu -> Settings -> Wireless & networks -> Wi-Fi settings -> Menu -> Advanced -> Wi-Fi sleep policy
    I would only do the above if you are using WiFi for much of your day. Otherwise, you may decrease battery life if you have WiFi enabled and it is constantly searching for a connection.
  14. #14  
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    In my personal experience WiFi gets you better battery life unless you have a consistent 5-bar signal, which I rarely get. If I leave my phone idle with WiFi on, I lose about ~1% / hr, but with 3G enabled I lose closer to to 2%/hr. Average 1-3 bars in my area indoors, 4 outdoors.
  15. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by freedumb87 View Post
    I work from home so I always have my phone on WiFi. It saves the battery. I have tested both and WiFi is much better on the battery. I have good coverage at my house too. I am either at full bars or 1 minus full. If I leave the house, I turn WiFi off so it doesn't keep searching.

    Another thing you may want to do is change the default WiFi sleep policy to keep WiFi on even when the phone display is off. By default, even when WiFi is enabled, once the display turns off it switches back to regular 3g data. You can modify this default policy by:
    Menu -> Settings -> Wireless & networks -> Wi-Fi settings -> Menu -> Advanced -> Wi-Fi sleep policy
    I would only do the above if you are using WiFi for much of your day. Otherwise, you may decrease battery life if you have WiFi enabled and it is constantly searching for a connection.
    I couldn't of said it better. leave wifi on and set sleep policy to Never if you are in wifi range most of your day. I get much better battery life this way. Especially if you have a poor 3g signal.
  16. #16  
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    Now how much more battery does 4g use? As I'm using it right now. And while idle. Hmm.
  17. #17  

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackHawkA4 View Post
    Now how much more battery does 4g use? As I'm using it right now. And while idle. Hmm.
    Pretty sure it switches to 3g while it's asleep or while there isn't any data transfer going on. When it is actively being used, I notice quite a bit of difference in battery usage when compared to 3g. Not sure I could give you a hard number though. I would guess that it would drain abou 25% faster if using just a 4g connection vs standard 3g. Maybe someone has tested this.
  18. #18  
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    isn't it a correlation between how often data is being polled to how long it takes to complete the data collection? be it wifi, 3g or 4g, it will use juice while polling the data until the full data is collected. so, the slower the connection the longer it takes, hence the more juice is used.
  19. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrz5024 View Post
    In my personal experience WiFi gets you better battery life unless you have a consistent 5-bar signal, which I rarely get. If I leave my phone idle with WiFi on, I lose about ~1% / hr, but with 3G enabled I lose closer to to 2%/hr. Average 1-3 bars in my area indoors, 4 outdoors.
    Hey just wondering, which ROM do you use where you only lose 1% battery/hour, because I would love to have that kind of battery life.
  20. #20  
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    I am stock except for root and LP and that is what I approximately lose. Although mine varies between 1.25 - 1.75% per hour not as good as previous poster, but I am happy :-)
    Samsung Galaxy S3 (tweaked and rooted)
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    Oh my! I rooted my SGS3!
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  21. #21  
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    Does anyone else have the issue where the battery doesn't sleep during and or after wifi use? air plane toggle use to fix but doesn't anymore.

    Is really annoying after using wifi every time that the phone won't sleep.
  22. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jinded View Post
    Hey just wondering, which ROM do you use where you only lose 1% battery/hour, because I would love to have that kind of battery life.
    Baked Snack 1.6. Not having Froyo sucks but until the 2.2 APIs are released the battery life with Froyo roms is too short for me. Baked Snack typically gets me 12-14 hrs with moderate use at max brightness, but the most impressive gain is when the phone is idle - on days of light use (only texting or short phone calls / web browsing), it can still have 50% left after 14 hours. If I unplug my phone fully charged in the evening and let it idle all night long (WiFi on) it will only lose maybe 5-6% by the next morning.
  23. #23  
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrz5024 View Post
    Baked Snack 1.6. Not having Froyo sucks but until the 2.2 APIs are released the battery life with Froyo roms is too short for me. Baked Snack typically gets me 12-14 hrs with moderate use at max brightness, but the most impressive gain is when the phone is idle - on days of light use (only texting or short phone calls / web browsing), it can still have 50% left after 14 hours. If I unplug my phone fully charged in the evening and let it idle all night long (WiFi on) it will only lose maybe 5-6% by the next morning.
    That's pretty impressive. Do you have Auto-Sync and Background Data enabled as well?
  24. #24  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jinded View Post
    That's pretty impressive. Do you have Auto-Sync and Background Data enabled as well?
    Yes, but I have my sync schedule set pretty infrequently: two hours for weather updates, six hours for RSS feed refresh, six hours for FB feed refresh, and I don't have my Email pushed to me at all (I have my e-mail notifications forwarded through text).
  25. #25  

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    Well, I didn't have wifi in my house b/c I thought I would just use the hotspot or my 3g or 4g (in chicago it works) service....but eventually I decided the hotspot was a complete battery drain and i got my wifi/dsl back in my house. Now my phone connects to the wifi when i'm home. Without a doubt, my phone battery life has doubled, if not tripled by using the wifi in my house instead of using 3g or 4g. I've had my phone since it was launched and never really used wifi before and always had a hard time getting this battery to last beyond 10-15 hours...now with wifi, I can go a full day without needing to charge. Wifi is much better for the battery life - with my phone at least. i'm not rooted or anything.
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