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I usually am within range of my Wi-Fi hotspot, and am using a Samsung Galaxy Note II. I've always wanted to know whether I'd have better battery-life if I was to turn off Wi-Fi? I have unlimited 4G lte from an old Verizon plan, so I don't have to worry about data charges.

By turning on Wi-Fi you get to turn off 4G lte, so I would think it would be a trade-off.

But the cellular connection stays on always, so wouldn't turning on Wi-Fi have a net increase in battery usage?

Also, my phone has the option to disconnect Wi-Fi when I turn it to standby, and reconnect when I turn it back on. I wonder if that makes a difference?

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Easy answer

Depends on.

More detailed answer:

This is no easy yes/no question, but has many things to consider. Several factors have to be taken into account. Picking just the easy ones to make it less complicated:

  • what is the energy consumption in idle mode
  • how much energy is needed per time unit
  • how much data is transfered per time unit
  • how much data do you have to transfer
  • oh, and what's the signal quality of course

To make a raw calculation, I've collected some hard data on battery consumptions of components a while ago. You will note it lacks LTE/4G specifics, but you can rawly "deduce" those for an estimation. For some "practical examples", take a look at e.g. 2G versus 3G: Does it really save battery?

If you followed this far, you probably reached the same conclusion I came to: There's no "general rule" to give, all depends on "user habits" and "actual situation" (coverage etc.).

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