Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Sony HD5, iPod 4G Photo and iAudio X5 battery tests.

I posted fragments of this in three blog entries, but I've decided to tidy it up. And add a nice graph :D

I finally decided to run a 'sort of real-life' battery test of three players: The iPod Photo, the Sony NW-HD5 and the iAudio X5 (the standard X5, not the L).

The test is pretty simple. Charge it up, leave for 48 hours, then play back my test MP3 library which has a wide range of songs, the lowest being 128Kbits and the highest being 320. All effects off, all EQ off. The volume is adjusted to slightly louder than I would normally listen to on a pair of Sony MDR-V700DJ headphones. I also simulate some fiddling by 'using' (i.e. navigating without changing playback order) the player for about 10 seconds at a time for 10 times throughout the testing period. The backlight is enabled for at least 10 seconds after key presses on all players.

With a 21-hour stint until the batteries gave out, the HD5's amazing claimed battery life of 40 hours therefore is less amazing here, although it has still a major lead. It also had an advantage in the test... having no quick wake and no onboard clock, when you leave it there is no battery drain. Given those factors, a rather disappointing performance.

The iAudio X5 surprised with a conservative documented battery life, managing 14.5 hours when the claimed life was 14.

The iPod? It's an iPod, the 'up to 15 hour' life had to be a huge piece of fiction, right? Well... no. It turned in a 14.5-hour life in the test, identical to the iAudio. And this was the player most handicapped by the 48 hour leave test bit, because it wakes up immediately in normal use so doesn't actually switch itself off for a while.

Your real-life use will probably not match up to these examples and may be longer or shorter. It depends on the bitrate of the songs, how often you fiddle with the player, etc, but this test is a good indication of how these compare when on a level playing field. The other factor is the display. The Sony and iPod both have displays which are visible in daylight without the backlight (amazingly, the iPod's colour display is slightly clearer than the Sony HD5's monochrome display in daylight without the backlight) so in order to eke out more battery life, you can turn the backlight off if you're working / travelling in fairly brightly lit places. The iAudio has a display which is totally black without the backlight, so needs it on.

EDIT: 13th September 2005
As soon as I've ripped enough albums in ATRAC3+, I'll do the same test @ 192K on the HD5.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mind doing a battery test between the x5l (supposedly lasting 35 hrs) versus the hd5? That'll even the playing field quite a bit.