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Smartphones these days come with a wide range of functions, from WI-fi to Bluetooth, apps and browsing, along with the normal texting and phone calls. Add these numerous things working in the fore and background of a phone to a processor-heavy OS and a large screen, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for poor battery life. Long were the days when a phone’s battery lasted a long time – I personally remember the Ericsson t28s that I owned for a while that never seemed to need a charge – judging by the fact that, whenever it was time to charge it, I never quite remember when I last had to do it. But the simple fact is that having all that power in your hands and little power to power it with is ridiculous, so phone manufacturers have struggled to make their smartphones smarter about their battery usage or, in their case, drainage.

And this leads us to the iPhone 5, the supposed pinnacle of smartphone evolution. Apple has always graced us with their idea that the iPhone is the smartest phone of all and that it uses the latest technologies. This would mean that it is in the vanguard of battery life usage, as far as smartphones are concerned. But is this true? The answer is a complicated “yes and no”.

Not wanting to trust testing made by Apple in what are, of course, optimal conditions, testers have tried to see how the iPhone performs in the worst case scenario. They tested the phone while keeping its screen from turning off, while streaming music non-stop, while constantly using GPS and other services and they report that the iPhone 5 did great. So well, in fact, that they stated that it out-performed all current Android phones in the market.

But everyday users tell a different story. They don’t go test the phones over any conditions, only by their everyday lives. And this tells them that the phone is not up to par. People constantly complain of the phone not lasting a full workday on a charge, and even those who are not entirely aggravated by the iPhone 5′s low battery capacity still claim that it is much worse than the iPhone 4s.

An explanation for these discrepancies is not easy, but there might be a culprit that stands out. People’s use of a phone is not linear – they don’t speak on the phones for hours at a time, or stream music constantly. People use their phone in a very varied way throughout the day: they might use it for phone calls during work, then browse the internet and text on their way from work and later use the GPS to find their favorite restaurant. And it seems like the iPhone 5 struggles with this kind of use the most: it is very good at conserving its battery while doing one thing, but switching between activities causes it to drain significantly faster.

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