I just want to know what consumes less battery Wi-Fi or 2G Data.

My battery last long for 12- 16 hours only. I know there are lots of application which continually running and fetching data from internet.

I have both options available, in my office i have Wi-Fi and i also has 2G plan in my sim account, both give me desire speed.

  • I am sure that this is an duplicate of a previous question, but couldn't find it. – Flow Aug 14 '12 at 9:02
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    2011 question about this: How does power usage for data over WiFi compare to data over 3G? Covers 3G, 2G and Wi-Fi related with battery drain issues. – Zuul Aug 14 '12 at 9:08
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    Friends i am talking about Wi-Fi & 2G comparison not about 3G. – rajpara Aug 14 '12 at 9:17
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    @AndroidCoder that was not clear from the original phrasing of your question. – Flow Aug 14 '12 at 10:23
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    hummm... 2G Data... stepping back and looking at it, 2G does save battery, but data wise, very slow! Wifi on the other hand chews up battery, and in some cases, buggy drivers can cause the kernel to not release the wakelock on the wifi and drains the battery. Now this will sound contradictory, but.. using data over 2G can actually chew up battery as the browser,market, or any tcp/ip related app over 2G will "have to work harder to suck down data" over 2G... that's my thinking... – t0mm13b Aug 14 '12 at 11:35

I already posted this in another answer. As it where different details that time (more a general "what consumes most"), here some details from a reference Motorola Droid. Data taken from a German article named Energiesparplan (Heise is a very famous technology publisher in Germany; Google Translate Version here):

|  Standard  |  Upload  |  Download  | Standby  |
|  3G        |  1410 mW |   1349 mW  | 18,3 mW  |
|  2G        |  1179 mW |    853 mW  | 11,6 mW  |
|  Wifi      |   479 mW |   1158 mW  |  7,8 mW  |

Guess this definitly answers the question. Though the values may vary between devices, relations should roughly match.

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  • According to data posted by you, i come to conclusion that Wifi is better than 2g & 2g is better than 3g. Thanks +1 for u. – rajpara Aug 14 '12 at 9:45
  • Exactly. On my phones I completely turned of 3g -- and as soon as I get home, Tasker automatically turns on Wifi :) – Izzy Aug 14 '12 at 9:56
  • It had to be a German publisher! I could not find a comparison table! +1 – Zuul Aug 14 '12 at 10:02
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    @AndroidCoder WiFi is not better then 2G. Compare WiFi download vs 2G download, that is what matters. – Flow Aug 14 '12 at 10:21
  • i just add both upload & download speed and then i compare, because both the things matter – rajpara Aug 14 '12 at 10:24

The generic perception is that networking via Wi-Fi cause less drain on your device's battery than connecting with 3G.

During the data transfer, if you use both connections to perform the same download, you will find that Wi-Fi is more efficient since it transfers stuff faster than 3G, thus leading to less consumption of your battery.

Rare exceptions may prove otherwise, but 3G faster and with stronger signal than Wi-Fi is a grandpa's fairytale ;)

One important thing to account for, is the network coverage:

If you stay a large amount of time within a limit coverage area, either for 3G or WiFi, disable the one who's suffering from low coverage. Your device will constantly be searching for available network, and that's just energy wasted on fruitless searches.

Being this usually the cause for complain on the battery life.

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  • +1 Yep, signal strength plays an important factor here. A weak 2g/3g signal will force the phone to crank up it's radio power. As will a weak wifi signal. – Grant Aug 14 '12 at 14:01
  • Additionally, Android will continually scan for open WiFi networks if you're not connected to one at the moment - that's the biggest drain of all. (I believe that option can be disabled, but I don't use it - I just turn WiFi off entirely when I'm not using it) – Izkata Aug 14 '12 at 14:10
  • The question has 2G, not 3G. – Android Quesito Aug 14 '12 at 20:24
  • @SachinShekhar Check the question revision history! My answer was placed for the original question... :/ – Zuul Aug 14 '12 at 20:35

2G consumes less power than WiFi when it comes to standard usage (surfing, small downloads etc). The problem with WiFi: It constantly scans for Hotspots even when you are connected to one and not using it.

When it comes to big downloads etc, WiFi is more efficient. Reason: Due to slow speed, 2G will continue to drain battery for 2 hours when WiFi quits downloading within 5 minutes.

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Use Wi-Fi.

In most cases a Wi-Fi radio will offer greater bandwidth at a significantly lower battery cost. As a result, you should [prefer] Wi-Fi whenever possible.

-- developer.android.com : Modifying your Download Patterns Based on the Connectivity Type

via Transferring Data Without Draining the Battery.

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