We thought it would be really important to give our readers an understanding of just how long they would be able to track their lost or stolen cell phone with plan B before it completely drains the battery from the device. To that end we crafted a test that would tell us the baseline battery life of a particular cell phone – in this case a Droid X on the Verizon network – and how using Plan B would affect that baseline battery life.
The testing involved two stages. The first was to get the baseline for my phone. In the test we worked with a completely charged phone (Droid X) that was set to the power setting that I normally use – Performance Mode. This is the battery setting where my phone will sync with all my services without restrictions throughout the day and creates the largest battery strain. In the test I did not use my phone for the entire time that it was being tested (except to read 1 test message and listen to 1 voicemail). In the end, we saw a battery life of 47 hours. Here is a breakdown of my battery usage statistics:
- Phone Idle – 42%
- Cell Standby – 32%
- Maps – 9%
- WiFi – 4%
- Android OS – 4%
- Android System – 4%
- Google Services – 3%
- Voice Calls – 2%
A nice 100%. After getting this baseline, which was much longer than I expected, it was time to move onto the next phase.
Testing Plan B Battery Usage
The second stage was to test Plan B battery usage. All conditions that we used with the baseline test we used again. Power setting was on Performance, I did not use the phone, and it was fully charged before the test took place. In addition to this, I installed Plan B as soon as I could after the test began. I also tried to find its location every 30 minutes until the battery was drained from the phone and it shut itself off. Doing things this way resulted in a battery life of 18.5 hours. Battery usage looked like this:
- Plan – 81%
- Phone Idle – 8%
- Cell standby – 6%
- Maps – 3%
I did not do a perfect job of sending the texts every 30 minutes, but ended up sending 26 texts over the 18.5 hours that the battery lasted. That is about once every 40 minutes. We also don’t have 100% in the values my phone gave me for battery usage. I presume this was because the missing 2% was made up of several different sources that only amounted to a fraction of a percentage each but in aggregate equaled the missing 2%.
It appears that using Plan B significantly decreases the battery life of a mobile phone running the Android OS. We saw a decrease of 60% in the battery life when using the app with approximately 40 minute intervals between locates. Hopefully you will be able to find your phone in less than 18.5 hours or else you will drain your battery before you can find it.
This information becomes important in real life situations because it gives us an idea of how much time we have to find our lost cell phone before the battery dies. If you know that your mobile had half of its the battery left when it was lost then you can assume that you only have 40% of the time to find it when using Plan B than you normally would when not using this app.