Conclusions from testing the BlackBerry Bold 9700 battery

60 Comments

BlackBerry_Bold_9700_battery

Testing the BlackBerry Bold 9700 battery has been an interesting experience. I always thought consumer electronics manufacturers embellished their battery life expectancies in order to impress the buyer. In this case, RIM has actually slightly under-stated the Bold 9700′s battery life, and really proved themselves to be an honest company when it comes to their battery life marketing. Could we say the same for Apple? I challenge TIPB to do the same with the iPhone, and see if it can play 39 hours of music off radio and last 29 hours with heavy usage. Speaking of Apple…the BlackBerry Bold 9700 lasts longer than the best iPod.

Bold9700_versus_iPod

Just look for yourself, the BlackBerry Bold 9700′s battery, lasts longer than that of the best iPod available.

In Part 1 of the BlackBerry Bold 9700 battery stress test, we threw RIM a bone and checked out the music playback with the wireless connections off. For the second part, it was important to test how long the battery would last given very heavy usage. During the 29 hours that the BlackBerry was on, it went through the following:

  • About an hour of voice over 8 phone calls.
  • 10 SMS messages received, 7 sent.
  • 13 Tweets from UberTwitter, 9 of which contained a pic.
  • Google Maps running the whole time and updating Latitude.
  • About 8 hours of music streaming and playing via Bluetooth.
  • Received about 30 emails and replied to around 15.
  • The remaining time spent with all connections on and pulling data.

This is the first BlackBerry that I have been able to run more than 1 full day of usage without charging. There are definitely updates and optimizations made to the OS that make music playback more efficient, as well as general improvements to the device that make the battery last longer than any other BlackBerry. If you’re interested, I could do similar experiments with other BlackBerry smartphones. Anyone want to know about the Storm2 battery?

This BlackBerry test proves that the Bold 9700 has a killer battery.

Special thanks goes out to Slacker for white listing my account so it can be played in Canada. Now if only the lazy bureaucrats can get their act together, Canadians would have an awesome music device.

  • http://www.Crackberry.com/ pkcable

    Good test excellent blog! Yes I would love to see you test the storm2. I fear the results would not be as good, but nevertheless better than an iPhone. But we shall see!

  • http://www.Crackberry.com pkcable

    Good test excellent blog! Yes I would love to see you test the storm2. I fear the results would not be as good, but nevertheless better than an iPhone. But we shall see!

  • pet

    how long was the batterylife of the iphone ?

  • pet

    how long was the batterylife of the iphone ?

  • DavidB

    Definitely interested in a similar test on the 9550. My wife has one and it runs far less time than her 8130 did.

    My 9530 even with OS 5.0.0.328 is horrible on battery life. I suspect that is because of Viigo running 24/7 in the background updating about 50-60 feeds every hour. Plus Viigo leaks memory so bad I can never get a full day without memory being below 5MB and needing a reboot to clear. Without Viigo News running I can go several DAYS with free memory staying about 20MB, with it running memory drops within hours and if left not rebooted starts killing off email and phone records and such.

  • DavidB

    Definitely interested in a similar test on the 9550. My wife has one and it runs far less time than her 8130 did.

    My 9530 even with OS 5.0.0.328 is horrible on battery life. I suspect that is because of Viigo running 24/7 in the background updating about 50-60 feeds every hour. Plus Viigo leaks memory so bad I can never get a full day without memory being below 5MB and needing a reboot to clear. Without Viigo News running I can go several DAYS with free memory staying about 20MB, with it running memory drops within hours and if left not rebooted starts killing off email and phone records and such.

  • DavidB

    Definitely interested in a similar test on the 9550. My wife has one and it runs far less time than her 8130 did.

    My 9530 even with OS 5.0.0.328 is horrible on battery life. I suspect that is because of Viigo running 24/7 in the background updating about 50-60 feeds every hour. Plus Viigo leaks memory so bad I can never get a full day without memory being below 5MB and needing a reboot to clear. Without Viigo News running I can go several DAYS with free memory staying about 20MB, with it running memory drops within hours and if left not rebooted starts killing off email and phone records and such.

  • DavidB

    Definitely interested in a similar test on the 9550. My wife has one and it runs far less time than her 8130 did.

    My 9530 even with OS 5.0.0.328 is horrible on battery life. I suspect that is because of Viigo running 24/7 in the background updating about 50-60 feeds every hour. Plus Viigo leaks memory so bad I can never get a full day without memory being below 5MB and needing a reboot to clear. Without Viigo News running I can go several DAYS with free memory staying about 20MB, with it running memory drops within hours and if left not rebooted starts killing off email and phone records and such.

  • The Shadow

    Kyle – I don’t want to be a ball buster, but you’re doing it again dude…

    “There are definitely updates and optimizations made to the OS that make music playback more efficient, as well as general improvements to the device that make the battery last longer than any other BlackBerry.”

    Definitely?

    I know blogging isn’t hardcore journalism, but that statement is completely unsupported by any evidence whatsoever. Yes, the 9700 plays music for a long time, but do we really know why? Are you guessing, or is there something behind that statement? Is it really better than the Tour? Please let us in on the secret… What “general improvements” to the device? What “optimizations to the OS?” What does this mean for Blackberries in general? Or do we just all trade in our devices for a 9700?

    Don’t get me wrong – it’s cool that you did this. The community should be grateful, but this would be so much better if those statements were substantiated by SOMETHING, or at least couched…

    RIM might be willing to comment on this – is the hardware different? Is it all OS? Any way we can find out?

  • The Shadow

    Kyle – I don’t want to be a ball buster, but you’re doing it again dude…

    “There are definitely updates and optimizations made to the OS that make music playback more efficient, as well as general improvements to the device that make the battery last longer than any other BlackBerry.”

    Definitely?

    I know blogging isn’t hardcore journalism, but that statement is completely unsupported by any evidence whatsoever. Yes, the 9700 plays music for a long time, but do we really know why? Are you guessing, or is there something behind that statement? Is it really better than the Tour? Please let us in on the secret… What “general improvements” to the device? What “optimizations to the OS?” What does this mean for Blackberries in general? Or do we just all trade in our devices for a 9700?

    Don’t get me wrong – it’s cool that you did this. The community should be grateful, but this would be so much better if those statements were substantiated by SOMETHING, or at least couched…

    RIM might be willing to comment on this – is the hardware different? Is it all OS? Any way we can find out?

  • http://www.blackberrycool.com/ Kyle

    @The Shadow – Yep, I totally agree, I am saying that they have made optimizations with no supporting evidence.

    I’ve asked RIM to comment and they aren’t saying anything. It’s for the same reasons that Slacker won’t tell me their “secret sauce” when it comes to how they stream music so efficiently. There is a patent somewhere, and a good journalist would dig it up (sorry, I guess I’m lazy).

    Off the record – I have friends at RIM who told me about the optimizations but can’t get into specifics. That was actually the genesis for this test. So my compromise was to vaguely tell you about them and test whether they exist. I might be able to follow up with something more specific. Rest assured I’m workin on it.

  • http://www.blackberrycool.com Kyle

    @The Shadow – Yep, I totally agree, I am saying that they have made optimizations with no supporting evidence.

    I’ve asked RIM to comment and they aren’t saying anything. It’s for the same reasons that Slacker won’t tell me their “secret sauce” when it comes to how they stream music so efficiently. There is a patent somewhere, and a good journalist would dig it up (sorry, I guess I’m lazy).

    Off the record – I have friends at RIM who told me about the optimizations but can’t get into specifics. That was actually the genesis for this test. So my compromise was to vaguely tell you about them and test whether they exist. I might be able to follow up with something more specific. Rest assured I’m workin on it.

  • http://www.blackberrycool.com/ Kyle

    @DavidB – Okay, I’ll run the Storm2 through its paces and test the battery. I’ll make sure to have Viigo running too. I’ll just go straight power user conditions.

  • http://www.blackberrycool.com Kyle

    @DavidB – Okay, I’ll run the Storm2 through its paces and test the battery. I’ll make sure to have Viigo running too. I’ll just go straight power user conditions.

  • http://www.zambinidirect.com/ Zambini

    How similar do you think this is to the Storm (Verizon)?
    I have been thinkin about getting them to replace my battery

  • http://www.zambinidirect.com Zambini

    How similar do you think this is to the Storm (Verizon)?
    I have been thinkin about getting them to replace my battery

  • Jas

    hey guys, i just wanted to tell u, that battery life on the 9700 is brilliant approximately double of the previous bold, RIM have made major improvements which they kept silent about, they really under promoted the battery of the 9700. My 9700 lasts around 2.6 days on average on heavy usage with 3g enabled and constant use of two email accounts and facebook.

  • Jas

    hey guys, i just wanted to tell u, that battery life on the 9700 is brilliant approximately double of the previous bold, RIM have made major improvements which they kept silent about, they really under promoted the battery of the 9700. My 9700 lasts around 2.6 days on average on heavy usage with 3g enabled and constant use of two email accounts and facebook.

  • Jas

    hey guys, i just wanted to tell u, that battery life on the 9700 is brilliant approximately double of the previous bold, RIM have made major improvements which they kept silent about, they really under promoted the battery of the 9700. My 9700 lasts around 2.6 days on average on heavy usage with 3g enabled and constant use of two email accounts and facebook.

  • Doug

    Datapoints: I ran out of battery on my 9700 at about 9pm last night, after a full charge the previous night. Prior days I have not run out of battery. Yesterday, I spent an hour or so with 3G enabled, which I had previously disabled to conserve battery.

    Theory: I suspect I burned a bunch of power while the phone was searching for 3G signal in the wilds of greater Los Angeles.

    Is that credible?

    Doug

  • Doug

    Datapoints: I ran out of battery on my 9700 at about 9pm last night, after a full charge the previous night. Prior days I have not run out of battery. Yesterday, I spent an hour or so with 3G enabled, which I had previously disabled to conserve battery.

    Theory: I suspect I burned a bunch of power while the phone was searching for 3G signal in the wilds of greater Los Angeles.

    Is that credible?

    Doug

  • sticcie

    Hello all,

    If anyone can help me … it would be greatly appreciated. I have had a new Blackberry Bold 9700 for a couple of days. I fully charged the unit last evening and verified that it had a full charge this morning before leaving for work. I turned off the ATT Network Connection as well as the WiFi adapter via the little antenna icon on menu. After turning all of the connectivity off, I did not power down the unit … I simply left it on not thinking any (or very little) juice would be used in a standby mode. However, when I went out to my car at lunch to check e-mail and voice calls … the battery has less than half its charge left. This of course is shocking due to the fact that I turned all of the signals OFF.

    My first question is … when I turn the connection to ATT’s Network OFF, does that also include 3G … or is it simply their EDGE network connectivity that gets shut down.

    My second question is … is there some setting with regard to GPS that I need to change so that the battery is not sucked dry in standby mode.

    Thank you to whomever can help me out in advance …

    Clay

  • sticcie

    Hello all,

    If anyone can help me … it would be greatly appreciated. I have had a new Blackberry Bold 9700 for a couple of days. I fully charged the unit last evening and verified that it had a full charge this morning before leaving for work. I turned off the ATT Network Connection as well as the WiFi adapter via the little antenna icon on menu. After turning all of the connectivity off, I did not power down the unit … I simply left it on not thinking any (or very little) juice would be used in a standby mode. However, when I went out to my car at lunch to check e-mail and voice calls … the battery has less than half its charge left. This of course is shocking due to the fact that I turned all of the signals OFF.

    My first question is … when I turn the connection to ATT’s Network OFF, does that also include 3G … or is it simply their EDGE network connectivity that gets shut down.

    My second question is … is there some setting with regard to GPS that I need to change so that the battery is not sucked dry in standby mode.

    Thank you to whomever can help me out in advance …

    Clay

  • sticcie

    Hello all,

    If anyone can help me … it would be greatly appreciated. I have had a new Blackberry Bold 9700 for a couple of days. I fully charged the unit last evening and verified that it had a full charge this morning before leaving for work. I turned off the ATT Network Connection as well as the WiFi adapter via the little antenna icon on menu. After turning all of the connectivity off, I did not power down the unit … I simply left it on not thinking any (or very little) juice would be used in a standby mode. However, when I went out to my car at lunch to check e-mail and voice calls … the battery has less than half its charge left. This of course is shocking due to the fact that I turned all of the signals OFF.

    My first question is … when I turn the connection to ATT’s Network OFF, does that also include 3G … or is it simply their EDGE network connectivity that gets shut down.

    My second question is … is there some setting with regard to GPS that I need to change so that the battery is not sucked dry in standby mode.

    Thank you to whomever can help me out in advance …

    Clay

  • Tom

    Your comments about the battery dying seem all to familiar. Up until a couple days ago I would get a good solid day out of mine – now I am lucky to get 5 hours! I checked all the APPS and nothing else except default is running. I turned off WIFI (since it seems to really drain when I tried connecting to my home wifi), turned off GPS – and still it seems to be “talking” to the network all the time. Turned off wireless sync of contacts.

    Maybe time to wipe it and reload.

    As for Stellar battery life claimed in the start of this thread – I haven’t seen it.

  • Tom

    Your comments about the battery dying seem all to familiar. Up until a couple days ago I would get a good solid day out of mine – now I am lucky to get 5 hours! I checked all the APPS and nothing else except default is running. I turned off WIFI (since it seems to really drain when I tried connecting to my home wifi), turned off GPS – and still it seems to be “talking” to the network all the time. Turned off wireless sync of contacts.

    Maybe time to wipe it and reload.

    As for Stellar battery life claimed in the start of this thread – I haven’t seen it.

  • Tom

    Your comments about the battery dying seem all to familiar. Up until a couple days ago I would get a good solid day out of mine – now I am lucky to get 5 hours! I checked all the APPS and nothing else except default is running. I turned off WIFI (since it seems to really drain when I tried connecting to my home wifi), turned off GPS – and still it seems to be “talking” to the network all the time. Turned off wireless sync of contacts.

    Maybe time to wipe it and reload.

    As for Stellar battery life claimed in the start of this thread – I haven’t seen it.

  • RJ

    I’m finding the same thing with regards to the battery draining quickly. I’ve had my 9700 for a little over a month now and within the last week or so I’m finding that I can’t make it through a full day without charging. I’ve removed the weather bug app, gmail, google apps and turn off the wifi when I head to the office, but even without listening to slacker radio and just having the device sit in my pocket the battery is only lasting about 5 hours. I haven’t turned off the GPS as I use telenav in the car to monitor traffic and I use Vlingo for speech to text, but I think I’m getting about 65% of the battery life of my two year-old Curve.

    I read some of the threads on the original Bold and the apps I mentioned above were some of the culprits in killing the battery in those cases, but removing them didn’t seem to have any effect on mine. The only other thing I can think of is that the Tmobile version that I have switches back and forth from 3G to EDGE so often that maybe that’s the problem. I’m going to shut down the 3G and see if it makes a difference.

    I refuse to accept that I’m going to have to wipe this device every month or so and that even if I do I’m only going to get a few weeks of great battery life each time.

  • RJ

    I’m finding the same thing with regards to the battery draining quickly. I’ve had my 9700 for a little over a month now and within the last week or so I’m finding that I can’t make it through a full day without charging. I’ve removed the weather bug app, gmail, google apps and turn off the wifi when I head to the office, but even without listening to slacker radio and just having the device sit in my pocket the battery is only lasting about 5 hours. I haven’t turned off the GPS as I use telenav in the car to monitor traffic and I use Vlingo for speech to text, but I think I’m getting about 65% of the battery life of my two year-old Curve.

    I read some of the threads on the original Bold and the apps I mentioned above were some of the culprits in killing the battery in those cases, but removing them didn’t seem to have any effect on mine. The only other thing I can think of is that the Tmobile version that I have switches back and forth from 3G to EDGE so often that maybe that’s the problem. I’m going to shut down the 3G and see if it makes a difference.

    I refuse to accept that I’m going to have to wipe this device every month or so and that even if I do I’m only going to get a few weeks of great battery life each time.

  • RJ

    I’m finding the same thing with regards to the battery draining quickly. I’ve had my 9700 for a little over a month now and within the last week or so I’m finding that I can’t make it through a full day without charging. I’ve removed the weather bug app, gmail, google apps and turn off the wifi when I head to the office, but even without listening to slacker radio and just having the device sit in my pocket the battery is only lasting about 5 hours. I haven’t turned off the GPS as I use telenav in the car to monitor traffic and I use Vlingo for speech to text, but I think I’m getting about 65% of the battery life of my two year-old Curve.

    I read some of the threads on the original Bold and the apps I mentioned above were some of the culprits in killing the battery in those cases, but removing them didn’t seem to have any effect on mine. The only other thing I can think of is that the Tmobile version that I have switches back and forth from 3G to EDGE so often that maybe that’s the problem. I’m going to shut down the 3G and see if it makes a difference.

    I refuse to accept that I’m going to have to wipe this device every month or so and that even if I do I’m only going to get a few weeks of great battery life each time.

  • Jeff

    I purchased a Bold 9700 on December 16th. As of Christmas Eve, the battery is malfunctioining. The failure has been cascading — now, it won’t hold a charge for more the 5 hours.

  • Jeff

    I purchased a Bold 9700 on December 16th. As of Christmas Eve, the battery is malfunctioining. The failure has been cascading — now, it won’t hold a charge for more the 5 hours.

  • ekinchi

    I have the problem with my battery. My battery life is very short. It less than 24 hours even in standby mode. I’m very upset. What should I do? Buying new battery? Or maybe we doing something wrong? I suppose that some application stay on background and waste energy. If somebody knows how to check and close background applications pleas help us. I beginning to hate my first ( and if the problem will continue, last) Blackberry device!!!

  • ekinchi

    I have the problem with my battery. My battery life is very short. It less than 24 hours even in standby mode. I’m very upset. What should I do? Buying new battery? Or maybe we doing something wrong? I suppose that some application stay on background and waste energy. If somebody knows how to check and close background applications pleas help us. I beginning to hate my first ( and if the problem will continue, last) Blackberry device!!!

  • DavidB

    Press and hold the BlackBerry button. The popup that launches shows you the apps that are running.

    From my BlackBerry Tour…

  • DavidB

    Press and hold the BlackBerry button. The popup that launches shows you the apps that are running.

    From my BlackBerry Tour…

  • Tom

    Well I have a solution for mine right now. I did a complete wipe and reapplied the Enterprise Activation. I haven’t loaded any outside applications and run my Berry for a couple of weeks. Stellar Battery performance now – better phone reception too. There was something in that original OEM delivered system that was hanging it up or draining the battery. I get 3-4 days easily with average email and phone use!

  • Tom

    Well I have a solution for mine right now. I did a complete wipe and reapplied the Enterprise Activation. I haven’t loaded any outside applications and run my Berry for a couple of weeks. Stellar Battery performance now – better phone reception too. There was something in that original OEM delivered system that was hanging it up or draining the battery. I get 3-4 days easily with average email and phone use!

  • 9700 heavyweight

    This wasn’t really a test of heavy usage; 10 sms’s, an hour of calls..??? I send at least 100 a day, plus over 200 bbm messages. Email is my least used method of communication and that comes in with at least 25 messages received and 20 sent, not to forget at least 2-3 hours of calls. All that plus apps and the browser for browsing on the go.. the phone just about lasts 24 hours – and thats with NO MUSIC at all. I think you should devise another, more intense test.
    Thats, in my opinion, relatively heavy usage; good effort though, always wondered about the music playback.

  • 9700 heavyweight

    This wasn’t really a test of heavy usage; 10 sms’s, an hour of calls..??? I send at least 100 a day, plus over 200 bbm messages. Email is my least used method of communication and that comes in with at least 25 messages received and 20 sent, not to forget at least 2-3 hours of calls. All that plus apps and the browser for browsing on the go.. the phone just about lasts 24 hours – and thats with NO MUSIC at all. I think you should devise another, more intense test.
    Thats, in my opinion, relatively heavy usage; good effort though, always wondered about the music playback.

  • sharanmasand

    hi just acquired the bold 9700 not even 2 days ago and my battery …and my battery is about 70% before i got to bed and by mornin when i wake up its completely dead…..any reasons why …
    its happened to me both mornings …and then i give it a full charge in the morning…and same thing happening the next morning…..my blackberry plan only allows BBM and emails not 3G or GPRS….so its not like its updating or anything like that…..

    please help

  • P Fisher

    Just bought Blackberry bold 9700. No instructions on how many hours to charge the new battery for first time. Advice appreciated. Thanks Paul

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rodolfo-Bertoloni/100000307338666 Rodolfo Bertoloni

    Really impressed with your job, I'm running to a local store and changing cell phone operator, because the one actually serving my Storm doesn't have BB 9700

  • Vicki

    I don't agree with this. I've had my Blackberry 9700 2 days. Charged it up fully overnight the night before last. Yesterday I sent 3 text messages, received 2, made 1 2 minute phone call and quickly checked facebook notifications 3 times. Phone didn't come off charge until 8.30am and it was completely dead and shut itself down before 6pm. Ridiculous. I'm taking it back to exchange it for something else.

  • dhogkinson

    I can't get the blackberry to last more than 6 hours if any RIM applications are installed on my phone

  • Pieter

    I must be lucky because I run my Bold 9700 always on 3G, get between 80 – 100 emails a day, about 40 sms, BB messager, BBWeather always on and MSN and about an hour of voice calls. When I go to bed at night round about 11:30pm the battery still has 40-50% left. I charge my BB every night.

    Hope it stays this way!

  • Pieter

    I must be lucky because I run my Bold 9700 always on 3G, get between 80 – 100 emails a day, about 40 sms, BB messager, BBWeather always on and MSN and about an hour of voice calls. When I go to bed at night round about 11:30pm the battery still has 40-50% left. I charge my BB every night.

    Hope it stays this way!

  • Robert Bobsonbender

    I've been using my 9700 at work off and on throughout the day for the past 2 weeks and I'm lucky if I make until 5pm before the battery completely dies. I've lowered the back light to '10,' close out of all apps when not in use, put it on standby, turn off GPS, etc., etc., etc. I've heard from several other buddies with the 9700 that it's completely normal for it to run out of battery after 10 hrs. or so. It cracks me up when people on these forums say they get 3 or 4 days of battery life. Even 2 full days is comical. Blackberry doesn't even claim to boast 2 full days for the 9700. Anyway, I figured I'd be one of the few to complain about how terrible the battery life on the 9700 really is.

  • Jimmy Johnsonberger

    This guy, Kyle, must be Mr. Bold's well-lubed right hand if he really believes he got 29hrs. of battery life out of his 9700 after that list of usage. You'd be lucky to get a solid 12hrs. out of the 9700 for an average day of calling 1-900 numbers and the occasional few dozen sext messages. The battery on these things basically sucks, but since the device is so dope, you just gotta deal with the crappy battery. Or you could always just keep telling people it lasts for 2 days until you've convinced yourself that's the actual truth.

  • radwan

    i have blackberry bold 9700, and battery lasts and lasts, sometimes i forget when i charged it last time… and i use it frequently, send emails, text, call, go on internet… none of the cell phones that i had got a battery as good as this