Make your mobile battery last longer
Ask any smartphone owner to list three things they don’t like about their phone, and chances are that one will its battery draining far too quickly. I spotted a joke on this very subject on Facebook the other day, along the lines of: “This morning, I put on a pair of trousers I’d last worn at a wedding back in 2001 and found a Nokia 3210 in the back pocket – it was still showing two bars of battery.”
Not exactly Edinburgh Fringe material, but it made me chuckle. Many people seem to be resigned to charging their smartphone every day, plugging it in overnight so it’s ready with a full charge the following morning.
Some will even get through their battery before the day is through, which can be a pain.
Of course, we’ll never get back to that “last-all-week” stamina of pre-smart mobiles, but battery life has become quite nowadays. I could once recommend BlackBerry phones, which often lasted for three or four days between charges, but in a failed attempt to ape Apple and Android, a recent BlackBerry is no better than the rest of the herd.
We’ll never get back to that “last-all-week” stamina of pre-smart mobiles, but battery life has become quite miserable nowadays
When choosing a new phone, there are a few things you should consider in an aim to get as much runtime as possible. The first, pretty obviously, is to pick the phone with the biggest battery.
Most manufacturers seem to be in a race to produce the slimmest units possible – for example, each new iPhone is always a little slimmer than the previous one – but as the phone becomes slimmer, so does the battery inside.
A few manufacturers have tried to buck this trend, such as Motorola with its various Maxx handsets, which eschew svelteness for stamina; for example, the recent Droid Maxx has a 3,500mAh battery beneath its back cover. Unlike some of the earlier Maxx phones, the Droid Maxx isn’t particularly porky at 8.5mm thick– than the ever-popular Samsung Galaxy S4 (7.9mm).
This ability to fit bigger batteries into more recent phones is also partly due to larger screens – as they become bigger, there’s more space behind them for a battery. HTC’s One max, which has a whopping 5.9in screen width, packs a 3,300mAh battery.
Of course, there’s a trade-off for having a bigger screen – more pixels require more battery juice to switch on and off, and the bigger GPU needed to keep those pixels updated also uses more power. A bigger screen will also need a bigger backlight, making it tricky for handset manufacturers to achieve the right balance.
If there’s a particular phone you’re after that doesn’t have a huge battery, all is not yet lost. So long as that phone’s battery is replaceable, there’s always a chance that an enterprising manufacturer will have produced an extended replacement.
If there’s a particular phone you’re after that doesn’t have a huge battery, all is not yet lost
Usually these will be physically larger than the original, so they’ll ship with a replacement back cover for the phone housing a bulge to accommodate the extra bulk. Deputy editor Darien Graham-Smith wrote an excellent blog post about how he fitted such a battery to his Samsung Galaxy S4.
An alternative solution is to carry a rechargeable battery pack, so you can top up your phone if it gets low and you’re nowhere near a charger.