Motorola's big gambit is extra large batteries - and it might just work

Taylor Martin
 from  Concord, NC
| September 10, 2012

Having ragged on Motorola so much over the past few days, I felt compelled to take a step back and look for the good in the announcements from last week. Being so critical of everything all the time, most people believe I'm just a hater of all things. Actually, I love technology in general and find it very difficult to wholly hate anything with a battery. But I also firmly believe that being constructively critical of technology is for the greater good. After all, no tech is perfect.

To no surprise at all, finding a positive in last week's announcement wasn't difficult. While it isn't dominating the mobile market by any means, Motorola is a great company and they have several things working in their favor at the moment. For one, they are part of Google now. But they're also set on offering solutions to the growing issues in the mobile realm.

Take the DROID RAZR M, for instance. It is a very small device – not much larger than the iPhone 4S. The DROID RAZR M's small stature, however, doesn't keep it from having a decently sized display at 4.3-inches. With the ever-increasing size of phones, it is important to some to cram extra display real estate in a device that doesn't completely fill one of your pant pockets.

But looking a bit deeper into its devices, the differentiating factor that Motorola strives to invoke is screaming at the hundreds of thousands of disgruntled consumers: superior battery life. Last week, Motorola revealed that they are going all-in on large batteries.

In comparison to competing brands and smartphones, all three DROID RAZRs announced last week are packing gargantuan batteries. The runt of the bunch, the DROID RAZR M, features a 2,000mAh battery; the DROID RAZR HD has a 2,530mAh cell; and the flagship DROID RAZR MAXX HD has the same 3,300mAh battery that was first introduced in the DROID RAZR MAXX. While I still can't understand why Motorola or Verizon felt the need for three new DROID RAZRs before the holidays, it's hard to ignore the appeal of said devices.

For contrast, the HTC One X has a meager 1,800mAh battery in a package that is less than 0.5mm thinner than the MAXX HD. Just 0.3mm thinner than the One X, the Samsung Galaxy S III has a battery pack that is rated at 2,100mAh. And the Lumia 920, which was announced just hours before the new DROID RAZRs features a 2,000mAh battery in a package that is 1.4mm thicker than the DROID RAZR MAXX HD. Lastly, the Samsung Galaxy Note II touts a 3,100mAh battery in a chassis that is the exact same thickness as Motorola's flagship, but the Note II is 19mm longer and 12.6mm wider that the DROID RAZR MAXX HD.

For me, battery life is the one thing I am never satisfied with. I was once a huge BlackBerry proponent and experienced the lavish days of only charging your phone a few times each week. Now I'm all but forced to carry a backpack with a built-in battery-powered charger, and I need supplementary charges in the afternoon – sometimes more than once – to make my phones last an entire day without dying.

The bad part is that there have been next to no lithium-ion battery technology breakthroughs to make their way down to any consumer electronics. I've covered countless possible solutions to our current battery troubles, but few of them (if any) can be expected within the next couple years. It's daunting and disheartening, really.

And I've explained that simply packing devices with more milliampere-hours isn't exactly a great long-term solution – charge times increase respectively to any capacity bumps. But it works, and it will continue to work until one of these breakthroughs is ready for a consumer device. During Aaron's stint with the original MAXX, he found that it was difficult to completely kill the device's battery even after a long day of heavy use. As long as a user constricts their charging times to night (which is viable when you don't need supplementary charges to make it through a 16-hour period), extended charge times is really a non-issue.

So what's my point in all this?

The DROID RAZR MAXX HD isn't the best device to ever grace the market. Far from it. It's not even on the top of my list of must-have devices. (In fact, I would say it's near the bottom. I'm not particularly a fan of the PenTile display.) Rather, I'm looking forward to the Lumia 920, Galaxy Note II and possibly the next-generation iPhone more than anything else right now.

Nonetheless, the DROID RAZR MAXX HD has been pecking at the back of my brain since the announcement. It is seemingly the only phone that offers an entire package, a no-sacrifice solution to the one thing I have not been content with in smartphones in over four years: uninhibited battery life. And I'm beginning to believe that's the only thing that will finally make me truly happy with my smartphone.

Tell me, readers. Are the extra large batteries in Motorola devices enough to make you take the DROID RAZR plunge? Or are you content with your current phone's battery life? With your current phone, do you supplement with battery pack chargers or bump charges in the afternoon?