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Modem vs. Modem event 3: Talk Time Puzzle Cube

You’ve been using your phone heavily all day, and you’ve got a sliver of battery life left. Spur of the moment, you and your friends decide to get together for dinner. Before you can protest, you’re tasked with calling the restaurant to make a last-minute reservation. The question is: will your battery last long enough, or will your phone die mid-call? And will there be enough left so you can Snapchat everyone to let them know dinner is on?

Many factors play into how long that battery lasts. Capacity—whether you have an 1800 or 3000 mAh battery, for example—matters. How quickly the battery drains depends on what you’re doing with your phone and how much power each of your phone’s components is using to get those tasks done. If, for example, the display is on for an extended period of time (perhaps for a furious, extended game battle), it’ll probably use the most power.

And when you need to connect to the outside world over cellular—whether it’s to watch a YouTube video, listen to Spotify, or even make a reservation—the modem inside your phone uses power too. That’s because the modem is the wireless chip that connects your phone to the cell network.

And just like cars have different miles-per-gallon (MPG) ratings, modems can use different amounts of power to accomplish the same task. Qualcomm Snapdragon LTE modems are engineered to use power as efficiently as possible, helping you stretch your phone’s battery life well into the night.

What’s a great way to see how a Snapdragon LTE modem stacks up against the competition when it comes to battery life (more specifically, talk time)? Our Modem vs. Modem series, of course.

That means if a phone with Team Blue’s modem can get 15 hours of talk time, that same phone could get nearly 20 hours of talk time with a Snapdragon LTE modem. And who wouldn’t want 5 additional hours of talk time?

The premise is simple: The multi-event competition pits two teams, each made up of a human athlete and a “modem athlete,” against one another. The first team, sporting red colors of course, pairs a human athlete with a Snapdragon LTE modem. The second team featured a modem athlete from a competitor—we’ve been calling them Team Blue.

In the first Modem vs. Modem event, the teams competed in an LTE download relay (you’ve got to check out the giant orbs). Then in the second event, while the human athletes engaged in a game of high-speed chess (after all, Modem vs. Modem is a battle of brains as well as brawn), their modem counterparts were tasked with keeping them out of a dunk tank (Team Blue’s modem definitely “dropped” the ball on that one.)

In our third Modem vs. Modem event, the human athletes had to solve a complex 5-by-5 puzzle cube as quickly as possible. Why the time pressure? Because hanging above each of them, like a veritable Sword of Damocles, loomed a giant balloon filled with gallons of paint. The amount of time each competitor had to complete the puzzle depended on his phone’s talk time.

It’s up to each modem to stretch the phone’s battery life in order to give their human teammate enough time to solve the puzzle cube. Once the phone dies, the balloon pops, and it’s game over.

The event starts with both phones’ batteries (each with the same 3000 mAh capacity) drained down to 5 percent, providing a sense of urgency. (Spoiler alert: things got pretty messy for Team Blue.)

Qualcomm Technologies ran tests on both phones under identical testing conditions. Team Blue’s modem drew 31 percent more current while on a 3G voice call. A higher current draw means Team Blue’s modem drains its phone’s battery faster than the Snapdragon LTE modem does. The result is that the phone with the Snapdragon LTE modem has a 31 percent longer talk time.

Now think about that. We’re not talking 3, 5, or even 10 percent. It’s a whopping 31 percent longer talk time. That means if a phone with Team Blue’s modem can get 15 hours of talk time, that same phone could get nearly 20 hours of talk time with a Snapdragon LTE modem. And who wouldn’t want 5 additional hours of talk time?

Here’s an interesting tidbit. It’s quite common for phone manufacturers to quote talk time as part of a phone’s specifications. If you look up Team Snapdragon’s phone, you’ll see the manufacturer states 20 hours of talk time. The manufacturer of the phone with Team Blue’s modem doesn’t provide a talk time spec at all. Interesting, eh? I wonder why…

And so another Modem vs. Modem event concludes, and the difference in performance between the Snapdragon LTE modem and Team Blue’s modem is significant. After three events, we’ve seen 30 percent faster LTE download speeds, a 100 percent call success rate, and 31 percent longer talk time. These differences are substantial, and they have a direct, measurable impact on user experience.

So again I ask you, what statement is a phone manufacturer making when they pick Team Blue’s modem? What message is it sending to you as a user?

You’ve probably never given thought to which modem is inside your phone, but hopefully you’re now getting a sense of just how much impact its performance has on the things that you do every day. For superior LTE download speeds, call reliability, and talk time, choose a phone with a Snapdragon LTE modem.

Stay tuned for more “Modem vs. Modem” madness. Next up: the stakes are higher than ever: can Team Blue’s modem help its human teammate “dodge” imminent danger?

Qualcomm Snapdragon is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

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