DARK vs LIGHT Theme Battery Stats on SAMOLED

Search This thread

zmore

Senior Member
Apr 25, 2011
1,684
932
NYC
As most of us already know, Samsung's SAMOLED displays are more efficient than LED-backlit LCD displays (HTC One X, Moto Razor, etc), because backlit displays are always on even when showing a black image (no local dimming yet?), whereas AMOLED only uses energy when individual pixels actually need to emit light. What I didn't know until today, though, is precisely how much battery you could save with AMOLED by using dark-themes instead of bright light-themes & wallpapers, etc. I had assumed the difference was in the low single-digit percentage range, and I assumed wrong :)

I simply timed how long it took the battery to drain 5% with the screen always on at various brightness levels and while viewing an all white or all black 720p image fullscreen in QuickPic. All tests were performed on a freshly-rebooted AT&T SGS3 running CM10 Nightly (20120911) with a 2.5-month old stock battery. 4G, WiFi, & sync were enabled. No CPU hogs were running.

I used the following to log the phone's battery level every 10 seconds via adb over wireless. (If I were to do this over again, I'd instead spend a few hours writing a simple app to automate the process for hands-free accuracy, instead of doing it manually):
Code:
$ while true; do printf "%s\t%s\n" "$(adb shell dumpsys battery|grep level|awk '{print $2}')" "$(date)"; sleep 10; done
98      Mon Sep 11 15:59:30 EDT 2012

CONCLUSION:
In the best-case scenario, a SGS3 with its SAMOLED display showing dark content instead of light content gains about an extra 3 hours of screen-on battery time, no matter what your brightness is set to. A backlit LCD display would show no difference. So, in order to squeeze a couple more hours out of your battery, it's smart to use DARK wallpapers, DARK ROM themes, DARK App settings, and DARK-themed Google Apps (like JustinBean's Inverted GAPPS package :highfive: )

And here's a screenshot my spreadsheet just so you can see the data:
RKCnq.png


Experiment over. HTH.
Feel free to verify my results yourself...
 
Last edited:

Milk Tea

Member
Jun 26, 2012
39
11
As most of us already know, Samsung's SAMOLED displays are more efficient than LED-backlit LCD displays (HTC One X, Moto Razor, etc), because backlit displays are always on even when showing a black image (no local dimming yet?), whereas AMOLED only uses energy when individual pixels actually need to emit light. What I didn't know until today, though, is precisely how much battery you could save with AMOLED by using dark-themes instead of bright light-themes & wallpapers, etc.

Your first sentence I bolded is probably not true.

See:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/6022/samsung-galaxy-s-iii-review-att-and-tmobile-usa-variants/3 - One X with 4.7" LCD and smaller battery capacity lasts longer than Galaxy S III 4.8" SAMOLED with larger battery capacity in an internet test that is constrained by the power drain of the screens.
 

zmore

Senior Member
Apr 25, 2011
1,684
932
NYC
Your first sentence I bolded is probably not true.

See:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/6022/samsung-galaxy-s-iii-review-att-and-tmobile-usa-variants/3 - One X with 4.7" LCD and smaller battery capacity lasts longer than Galaxy S III 4.8" SAMOLED with larger battery capacity in an internet test that is constrained by the power drain of the screens.

Here I was testing apples to apples by only changing ONE variable at a time on the same device, and not apples to oranges (different CPU & h/w components, different Android OS, amount of RAM, etc...).
 

bravomail

Senior Member
Jan 12, 2011
1,003
351
Detroit
Cool scientific research! Write a paper on it! Yay!

---------- Post added at 11:19 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:17 AM ----------

Browser test should be done in dark Opera browser. There is usercss.css file available which makes Opera dark. Anandtech tests stock nonmodified phones - so it suxxx.
 
  • Like
Reactions: THE RED BLUR

Heisenberg420

Senior Member
Apr 28, 2011
2,289
1,017
Philadelphia
Google Pixel 6
very interesting information.

i've used devices with lcd screen and the gs3 is my first amoled screen. my impression was that i noticed the display wasn't always the number 1 battery drainer on my old atrix like it is on my gs3. even though oled based screens don't use as much battery to display blacks, during average screen usage most apps use lighter colors apposed to darker colors so this really can't be taken to its full advantage. fortunately there are some apps that i use very often like tapatalk where you can apply a dark theme and save some juice.

mabey in the future as oled screens become more popular, mobile developers will take advantage of darker themes.
 

Top Liked Posts

  • There are no posts matching your filters.
  • 49
    As most of us already know, Samsung's SAMOLED displays are more efficient than LED-backlit LCD displays (HTC One X, Moto Razor, etc), because backlit displays are always on even when showing a black image (no local dimming yet?), whereas AMOLED only uses energy when individual pixels actually need to emit light. What I didn't know until today, though, is precisely how much battery you could save with AMOLED by using dark-themes instead of bright light-themes & wallpapers, etc. I had assumed the difference was in the low single-digit percentage range, and I assumed wrong :)

    I simply timed how long it took the battery to drain 5% with the screen always on at various brightness levels and while viewing an all white or all black 720p image fullscreen in QuickPic. All tests were performed on a freshly-rebooted AT&T SGS3 running CM10 Nightly (20120911) with a 2.5-month old stock battery. 4G, WiFi, & sync were enabled. No CPU hogs were running.

    I used the following to log the phone's battery level every 10 seconds via adb over wireless. (If I were to do this over again, I'd instead spend a few hours writing a simple app to automate the process for hands-free accuracy, instead of doing it manually):
    Code:
    $ while true; do printf "%s\t%s\n" "$(adb shell dumpsys battery|grep level|awk '{print $2}')" "$(date)"; sleep 10; done
    98      Mon Sep 11 15:59:30 EDT 2012

    CONCLUSION:
    In the best-case scenario, a SGS3 with its SAMOLED display showing dark content instead of light content gains about an extra 3 hours of screen-on battery time, no matter what your brightness is set to. A backlit LCD display would show no difference. So, in order to squeeze a couple more hours out of your battery, it's smart to use DARK wallpapers, DARK ROM themes, DARK App settings, and DARK-themed Google Apps (like JustinBean's Inverted GAPPS package :highfive: )

    And here's a screenshot my spreadsheet just so you can see the data:
    RKCnq.png


    Experiment over. HTH.
    Feel free to verify my results yourself...
    3
    Nice I added this to my op

    Sent from my SGH-I747 using Tapatalk 2
    2
    Your first sentence I bolded is probably not true.

    See:
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/6022/samsung-galaxy-s-iii-review-att-and-tmobile-usa-variants/3 - One X with 4.7" LCD and smaller battery capacity lasts longer than Galaxy S III 4.8" SAMOLED with larger battery capacity in an internet test that is constrained by the power drain of the screens.

    Here I was testing apples to apples by only changing ONE variable at a time on the same device, and not apples to oranges (different CPU & h/w components, different Android OS, amount of RAM, etc...).
    1
    Cool scientific research! Write a paper on it! Yay!

    ---------- Post added at 11:19 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:17 AM ----------

    Browser test should be done in dark Opera browser. There is usercss.css file available which makes Opera dark. Anandtech tests stock nonmodified phones - so it suxxx.
    1
    Awesome post man. Makes total sense and nice to see data on this subject. Cheers!