All things being equal, Windows Phone beats Android for battery life (for now)

After years of Windows Phone and Android handsets running on similar hardware, we now have the two platforms available on the exact same device: An older model of the HTC One M8 uses Android, while the latest edition comes with Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8.1. Aside from the software, these two phones are identical. So which has the better battery life based on the platform it runs?

htc one 2

The only way to find the exact answer would be to test the two phones side by side as they perform the same activities. I’m sure someone will attempt that arduous task at some point, but for now, the product pages are a good proxy. And they suggest that a [company]Microsoft[/company] Windows Phone will get between 6.5 and 10 percent better battery life than the same phone running [company]Google[/company] Android.

Neowin peeked at HTC’s own product pages for the data and found the following battery life specifications for the HTC One M8:

It’s a small difference but speaks to how Microsoft has engineered Windows Phone. I’ve often said that the software runs very well on lesser hardware. Now that we can compare directly, it confirms my experiences showing the platform is well optimized.

Microsoft’s battery advantage may be short-lived, however.

Part of Android L, the next major Google software version due out later this year, is aimed specifically at improving battery life. The effort is called Project Volta and Google introduced the power optimization strategy at its Google I/O developer event this past June. Early testing from Ars Technica on pre-release Android L software has already shown a 36 percent run-time boost when compared to Android 4.4 on the same hardware.