How to measure smartphone energy consumption (Samsung S7 Example)

February 2, 2018

Understanding where and how energy is consumed in a mobile phone is crucial for great battery life, and an even better user experience. This can be investigated on many levels, broken down to the hardware components or higher up in the software stack. It’s usually of interest to see how a certain use case draws the current. For example, you may want to measure power consumption on the phone when using social media apps such as Facebook, or while gaming, or playing music via Bluetooth speakers. Regardless, the system level approach will give the best insights on how different use cases will impact the battery life.

For smartphones today, the most accurate approach to a system level measurement is invasive. In this tutorial we’ll show how you can prepare a phone for such system level current measurements. It can be any mobile phone running iOS or Android operating systems. We’re using Samsung S7 as an example. Check out our video tutorial to learn how to replace the existing battery and connect the phone to Otii Arc so that you can test your different use cases. Our example use case is video recording with a flash on a Samsung S7.

Follow these 3 steps for preparing the phone:

  1. Open up the phone so that you can get access to the battery connectors. For this we recommend iFixit’s excellent tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETEGRh_p7Ng.
    For the Samsung S7 used in this step-by-step guide as well: https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Samsung+Galaxy+S6+Battery+Replacement/44648.
  2. Use original (those that come with the phone) battery protection circuits to connect to the phone, since the phone will check this during the power up and operation.
  3. Consider that smartphones in general consume a lot of current. Use a DC adapter to power the Otii Arc, keep your leads short, and put some capacitors close to the phone.

With all of this in place, you are ready to hook up your Otii and start measuring and optimizing!

Share your measurements and achievements on our forum. We’d love to hear from you!

The Qoitech Team

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