Google Pixel and the battery problem
As a fan of Google hardware, the Google Pixel 7 Pro has been my faithful companion since its release. Initially convinced by the design and hardware, my impression of the Pixel phone began to falter. As the old saying goes, all that glitters is not gold. A few months of use - and a few Android updates later - and the shiny new smartphone started to lose its luster. The reason? A steadily deteriorating battery.
Where the screen-on-time was initially 6-7 hours and the device only had to be plugged in again the next day, since the update from March it has become two charging processes a day. A problem that not only users of the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro report, but also users of the Pixel 6 series are affected.
Even when idle, the smartphone sometimes loses more than 5% battery capacity per hour. An unexpected and unwanted power consumption for a flagship product. Especially when the smartphone drains itself completely overnight and the alarm clock doesn't ring the next morning.
The culprits for this battery issue appear to be two main components besides the software: Google's in-house Tensor G2 processor and the Samsung Exynos 5300 5G modem. Both are notoriously power-hungry, and the modem makes the problem worse by pumping up power consumption when the cellular connection is poor.
If you take a look at the consumption overview of the system apps, the mobile network leads the consumption by a clear margin.
Tips to improve Google Pixel battery life
Many had hoped that Google's April and May updates would fix the battery issue, but unfortunately that hasn't materialized so far. Until Google comes up with a solution to this problem, we'll have to come up with some strategies to improve battery life.
- Switch from 5G to LTE: The newly launched 5G may be faster, but it's also a bigger power consumer. Switching back to LTE can improve battery life.
- Disable the Smart Battery feature: Paradoxically, although it aims to increase battery life, in some cases it can do the opposite.
- Disable the smooth display: The high refresh rates are nice for the eye, but they also consume more energy.
- Uninstall power-hungry apps: A look at the battery settings reveals which apps are using the most energy. You should consider whether you really need these apps.
- Turn off the always-on display: As handy as this feature may be, it also continuously sucks energy from the battery.
As I said, these are just tips with which you can theoretically extend the runtime. However, the actual problem is far from being solved.
So far, Google hasn't taken the battery problem very seriously. However, the voices on the net are getting louder and at least Google mentions it in the beta changelog of the Android 13 QPR3 Beta 3.1 update (Link) that the "excessive battery drain in some situations" has been fixed.
It remains to be seen whether 6-7 hours of screen-on-time will be possible again. After all, beta testers see the update as the first success back to the usual battery life.