There’s one inescapable truth about our gadget-filled culture — all that tech, from iPhone to iPad to big-screen TV, has to be plugged into an electrical outlet at some point. And while feeding 1980s-era electronic devices battery after battery was an exorbitantly costly endeavor, Apple and friends have made strides to make sure that unlike some home energy hogs, our newest batch of electronics barely use electricity at all.
Research firm Opower took a look at today’s most popular devices from the Apple iPhone 5 to the Samsung Galaxy S III, measuring exactly how much juice they sip from outlets. Here, the iPhone 5 beats out the Galaxy S — the former will cost you only 41 cents per year worth of electricity, while the latter will set you back 53 cents. The older iPhone 4 cost only $0.38 per year to charge, while a new iPad requires $1.36 to keep powered.
Other household devices eat up a lot more energy. It’s estimated that charging a laptop will cost you about $8.31 per year; a desktop, $28.21. And if you use your TV as your main source of entertainment, things get even more expensive: Your set-top box gobbles $30.20 worth of electricity, an Xbox 360 console consumes $40.24 per year, and a 42-inch plasma television eats up $41.13.
The new report is great news for environmentalists: As Americans get more reliant on their phones for communication, entertainment, and internet, older, more costly-to-run devices will get left sitting unused. So if you’re worried about high electric bills, turn off that TV, grab your wifi-enabled tablet or phone, and enjoy.