Do You Save Battery When Using a Dark Background in Windows Phone?

Windows Phone allows for plenty of visual customization, especially in the new Windows Phone 8.1. One question we have asked ourselves was whether the background color has an impact on how long the battery lasts. In order to answer this question, we took four Windows Phones with different prices, specifications and sizes and we have run some battery tests. Now we can answer the question: does the battery last less when using a light background versus a dark one?

The Testing Procedure

We took the following smartphones with Windows Phone:

  • Nokia Lumia 525 - it has a 4" IPS LCD screen, with a resolution of 480x800 pixels.
  • Nokia Lumia 625 - it has a 4.7" IPS LCD screen, with a resolution of 480x800 pixels.
  • Nokia Lumia 720 - it has a 4.3" WVGA IPS screen, with a resolution of 480x800 pixels.
  • Lumia 1020 - it has a 4.5" AMOLED RGBG PenTile ClearBlack screen, with a resolution of 1280 × 768 pixels.

We would like to thank Nokia for sharing with us the smartphones used in our testing.

We used the default configuration for each smartphone and the default colors that were set by Nokia. Then, we added a Microsoft account and installed the WP Bench app, so that we could test the battery. Also, we made sure that each smartphone had the latest version of Windows Phone that was available for it.

We changed the background color from dark to light and ran 3 battery tests on each smartphone, for each background color. Then, we calculated the average score for each smartphone and each background color and we looked for any obvious trends in our measurements.

Let's see what we have learned:

Depending on Your Windows Phone - You Can Save Up to 8% in Battery

Below you can see the average time each smartphone lasted in the WP Bench battery test. This test stresses the phone to the maximum and it drains the battery really fast. In real life your smartphone's battery won't drain that fast.

If there's one thing clear from the chart below is that you will save battery when using a dark background instead of a light one.

To get a better picture of the savings you get, we created the table below which shares the percentage of savings for each smartphone.

On Windows Phones with smaller screens like the Nokia Lumia 525, the savings are insignificant. In our testing we have saved only 0.69% on this Windows Phone when using a dark background vs. a light one.

However, as the screen size and the resolution increases, the savings are a lot more noticeable. For example, on the Lumia 720 we have saved 6% in battery time while on the Lumia 1020 we have saved 8%. A great improvement!

Did You Notice Any Savings When Using a Dark Background?

Before you close this article, we would like to learn about your experience. Did you notice any differences in battery time when using a light background vs a dark one? Would you be willing to make a quick test and share with us your results?