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Google Pixel 5 Battery review: Well-optimized consumption

Reading Time: 5 min read
58
battery
Charging Time
1 day 20h
Battery life
Charging Time
1h14
80% Charging time
Charging Time
3h15
Full charging time

Google introduced the Pixel 5 in October 2020 at an initial launch price that puts it into our Premium ($600-$799) segment. It comes with a 4080 mAh battery and an 18W charger.

We put the Google Pixel 5 through our Battery protocol tests and will present its most important results in this review.

Key specifications:

  • Battery capacity: 4080 mAh
  • 18W charger included
  • Qi wireless charging up to 12W
  • 6.0-inch, 1080 x 2340, 90 Hz OLED display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G (7 nm), 5G
  • Tested ROM / RAM combination: 128 GB + 8 GB

About DXOMARK Battery tests: For scoring and analysis in our smartphone battery reviews, DXOMARK engineers perform a variety of objective tests over a week-long period both indoors and outdoors. This article highlights the most important results of our testing. (See our introductory and how we test articles for more details about our smartphone Battery protocol.)

Test summary

Google Pixel 5
58
battery
51
autonomy
63
charging
65
efficiency

Pros

  • Excellent software integration compensates for small battery size
  • Out-of-box default settings optimized for autonomy
  • Supports wireless charging, with wireless results comparable to wired

Cons

  • Below competition and other products featuring similar or better hardware in the same price range due to smaller battery capacity

Google has something of a history of putting relatively small-sized batteries into its smartphones, and the Pixel 5 is no exception. Although Google engineers have done a terrific job optimizing the software, the lack of battery capacity, coupled with only an 18W charger, hobbled its performance despite good efficiency. As a plus, however, the Pixel 5 supports wireless charging.

We compared the premium-category Google Pixel 5’s performance in several key categories with two devices from our high-end segment ($400-$599), the OnePlus 8T and the Oppo Find X3 Lite; battery capacity, charger, display type and resolution, and processor specifications for all three devices are shown in the table below.

Google Pixel 5

OnePlus 8T

Oppo Find X3 Lite

Battery (mAh)

4080

4500

4300

Charger (W)

18W

65W

65W

Display type

OLED

AMOLED

AMOLED

Resolution

1080 x 2340

1080 x 2400

1080 x 2400

Processor

Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G (7 nm)

Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 (7 nm)

Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G (7 nm)

Autonomy (51)

How long a battery charge lasts depends not only on battery capacity, but also other aspects of the phone’s hardware and software. The DXOMARK Battery autonomy score is composed of three performance sub-scores: (1) Stationary, (2) On the go, and (3) Calibrated use cases. Each sub-score comprises the results of a comprehensive range of tests for measuring autonomy in all kinds of real-life scenarios.

Light Usage
65h
Light
Active: 2h30/day
Moderate Usage
44h
Moderate
Active: 4h/day
Intense Usage
27h
Intense
Active: 7h/day

With an overall autonomy score of 51, the Google Pixel 5 hovers between its OnePlus rival (52) and its Oppo rival (50).

When it comes to linearity, the Google Pixel 5 achieves the coveted distinction of “what you see is what you get” — meaning that it has no precipitous drops in power once it shows 20% or less on its gauge.

Let’s take a look at some of the details.

Stationary

Google Pixel 5

55

104

Vivo Y72 5G
Best: Vivo Y72 5G (104)

A robot housed in a Faraday cage performs a set of touch-based user actions during what we call our “typical usage scenario” (TUS) — making calls, video streaming, etc. — 4 hours of active use over the course of a 16-hour period, plus 8 hours of “sleep.” The robot repeats this set of actions every day until the device runs out of power. 

Despite having a slightly smaller battery than its competitors in this review, the Google Pixel 5 falls just a half-hour short of providing a full 2 days of TUS autonomy — but that’s nearly an hour longer than both the OnePlus 8T (with a score of 50 in this attribute) and the Oppo Find X3 Lite (51), as you can see in the graph below:

Typical Usage Scenario discharge curves

On the go

Google Pixel 5

51

96

Samsung Galaxy M51
Best: Samsung Galaxy M51 (96)

Using a smartphone on the go takes a toll on autonomy because of extra “hidden” demands, such as the continuous signaling associated with cellphone network selection, for example. DXOMARK Battery experts take the phone outside and perform a precisely defined set of activities while following the same three-hour travel itinerary for each device.

The Google Pixel 5

While the Pixel 5 battery provided a similarly average amount of autonomy as its rivals in our social apps use, that was pretty much the only situation in which it did as well as either the Oppo or the OnePlus device. While nipping at their heels in GPS navigation and camera use cases the Google device turned in a weak performance when making phone calls on the go. In short, it struggles with the unpredictability of mobile situations.

Estimated autonomy for on the go use cases (full charge)

Calibrated

Google Pixel 5

52

100

Samsung Galaxy M51
Best: Samsung Galaxy M51 (100)

For this series of tests, the smartphone returns to the Faraday cage and our robots repeatedly perform actions linked to one specific use case (such as gaming, video streaming, etc.) at a time. Starting from an 80% charge, all devices are tested until they have expended at least 5% of their battery power.

The Google Pixel 5 had mixed results in our calibrated use case testing. On the one hand, it was strong in making phone calls (when stationary), had good video playback, and had a comparable performance to that of the Oppo and the OnePlus devices when streaming video via Wi-Fi. On the other hand, it had a tough time with 4G video streaming, with music streaming, and for gaming, where it provided two hours less autonomy than both the Oppo Find X3 Lite and the OnePlus 8T.

Estimated autonomy for calibrated use cases (full charge)

Charging (63)

The DXOMARK Battery charging score is composed of two sub-scores, Full charge and Quick boost. Full charge tests assess the reliability of the battery power gauge; measure how long it takes to charge a battery from 0% to 80% capacity and from 80% to 100%; and measure how long and how much power the battery takes to go from an indicated 100% to an actual full charge. With the phone at different charge levels (20%, 40%, 60%, 80%), Quick boost tests measure the amount of charge the battery receives after being plugged in for 5 minutes. 

Wired
Wired
38%
in 30 min
1h14
0 - 80%
3h15
Full charge
Wireless
Wireless
23%
in 30 min
2h10
0 - 80%
4h05
Full charge

The Google Pixel 5 falls short in charging vs. its two competitors, both of which come with a 65W charger, making the Pixel’s 18W look quite weak. Further, other devices in the Pixel’s premium price bracket come with chargers that are 33W or higher. One positive note is that the Google Pixel 5 supports wireless charging, which while not dazzlingly fast, is nonetheless convenient.

Full charge

Google Pixel 5

63

106

OnePlus 9
Best: OnePlus 9 (106)

Power consumption and battery level during full charge

It takes the Google Pixel 5 some 3 hours and 15 minutes to go from an empty battery to a completely full one. By contrast, the OnePlus 8T takes just a hair under 40 minutes, while the Oppo Find X3 Lite takes just a hair over 42 minutes. The Google device is particularly slow to “top off” — that is, to go from when its gauge indicates 100% to when it is actually full, thus its accuracy is  90% versus 97% for the OnePlus and 95% for the Oppo.

Time to full charge

Quick boost

Google Pixel 5

63

108

Oppo Reno6 5G
Best: Oppo Reno6 5G (108)

The 18W charger of the Google Pixel 5 cannot compete with other devices and their 65W chargers in this comparison when it comes to quick boost charging. With 20% battery power left, for example, the Find X2 Lite is able to recover some 3 hours and 33 minutes of autonomy, but the Pixel 5 recovers only 2 hours and 7 minutes. That all said, due to its good optimization, that is more autonomy than is typical for other devices with similar-sized chargers and batteries. Further, the Pixel’s ability add 1% of battery power in 42 seconds is a good performance, though obviously not as good as the Oppo’s 24 seconds and the OnePlus’s lightning-fast 17 seconds.

Google Pixel 5 OnePlus 8T Oppo Find X3 Lite
Autonomy boost (hh:mm) 20%2:16 5:42 5:56
40%2:16 5:17 5:27
60%1:46 4:22 3:33
80%1:13 2:30 3:05
Percentage boost 20%6.9 %17.9 %18.9 %
40%6.9 %16.6 %17.4 %
60%5.4 %13.7 %11.3 %
80%3.7 %7.8 %9.8 %
Energy consumed 20%1654 mWh3847 mWh3983 mWh
40%1656 mWh3565 mWh3668 mWh
60%1294 mWh2941 mWh2384 mWh
80%894 mWh1685 mWh2069 mWh

Efficiency (65)

The DXOMARK power efficiency score consists of two sub-scores, Charge up and Discharge rate, both of which combine data obtained during robot-based typical usage scenario testing, outdoor mobility testing, charging evaluation, and power measurements, and then take into consideration the device’s battery capacity.

Charge up

Google Pixel 5

55

84

OnePlus 9
Best: OnePlus 9 (84)

With a nominal efficiency of 66%, the Google Pixel 5 is far less efficient than either the Oppo or OnePlus device — and in fact, it’s one of the lowest percentages in our database so far, and implies a fair bit of wasted energy while charging. That said, the Google adapter handled residual power better than either competitor.

Discharge

Google Pixel 5

74

121

Apple iPhone 13
Best: Apple iPhone 13 (121)

In contrast to its charger’s low nominal efficiency, the Pixel 5 phone itself is a globally efficient device, controlling power consumption quite well in all but the gaming and 4G video streaming use cases.

Conclusion

Although Google engineers have done a terrific job optimizing the software and default settings, the Pixel 5’s battery performance was lagging behind its less-expensive competitors — and particularly so when on the go. Its biggest weakness, however, is in charging, with an 18W charger that was not efficient. Nevertheless, the smartphone itself proved to be very efficient in most of our protocol’s use case tests.

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