Battery life is among the top complaints from smartphone users, including myself. When I first started using Androids my battery would last maybe 5-6 hours, and that was tough coming from a clamshell phone that could easily last a day and a half to two days before losing all battery – even after being in use for two years or so. When I switched to my iPhone 4S, I deemed it king of all smartphones at one point because the battery actually lasted a little more than a day – at least it did at first. To be perfectly honest that’s really all I needed it to last for. Just one day. What am I going to be doing with my phone while I’m sleeping? Nothing, so there’s no issues plugging it in to let it charge. But now I'm not plugging it in just once at night. I have to plug it in at least twice during a given day, and that's not with heavy use.

The problem that manufacturers don’t seem to take into consideration is that consumers need battery life that can last an entire day through its expected lifetime – which typically means two years. My iPhone 4S no longer lasts an entire day because of software upgrades and naturally time and daily use also makes the battery weaker. Had Apple included a battery that lasted two days instead of one from the start I more than likely wouldn’t have to worry about keeping travel charger with me at all times. Was it even possible to create a battery like that at the time? Yes, but the problem is we are cramming so many features into a device that the battery can’t possibly last as long as it has the potential to.

It’s like we’re so focused on pushing the ‘features’ aspect that we lose sight of the fact that our phones are worthless if they don’t last. Dual-core, quad-core, Super AMOLED HD Retina Crazy Amazing Make-You-Slap-Your-Mama Ultra display – all these things just scream abysmal battery life within a few months. I don’t care if the device can make you eggs and bacon with groundbreaking breakfast-making technology backed by Rachael Ray and can walk your dog with Smart Legs, the features will be worthless once your battery dies within a few short hours and there’s no outlet to be found. I mean yeah, at first the battery life is probably going to be decent at around a day; but inevitably you download more apps, get software upgrades with even more features, and you’re back at square one again.

Figuratively we need to be two or three steps ahead from the start when it comes to battery life.

Companies need to stop focusing on how thin they can make the device, not to mention just how many things they can cram into said device. That stuff can come later, after they figure out how to make the battery life better. I mean yeah, you’re going to have the people that would rather choose a cosmetically convenient device over a clunker that lasts three to four days, but there is also a market for people who would sacrifice vanity for a functional and reliable device.

Somebody should step up and make battery the key feature in a smartphone.  Not to say you should throw any interesting side features out the window as a smartphone would need more than just battery to sell, but I’d be interested to see how well a phone would sell if it’s main feature was a fantastic battery.

I don’t feel like it’s asking for too much. I’m not saying the entire industry has to change, but if just two or three companies could throw us a bone and make a clunker that lasts for a couple of days while running on decent specs then people who would rather have better battery life have options. Or, in the very least, make extended batteries available for these devices – kind of like what HTC did for the EVO 4G. The battery life was horrendous, but if you were willing to fork over an extra $55 you could get an extended battery from Sprint which included two extended back covers.  It might have looked kind of ugly but the phone did last through until the next afternoon for me once, after taking it off the charger at 9:30 the previous morning. The problem with that solution is that not a lot of people had cases that would fit it since it was primarily an aftermarket item, and cases are very important when dealing with just how expensive and fragile these phones can be.

Battery life shouldn’t always be an afterthought for manufacturers, coming second only to the features they can play up. With so much focus on features, even when a company includes a battery that would otherwise hold up okay for the day can be significantly reduced. We need more companies to focus on the longevity of the device. If a device can hold up well over two years, that’s what will bring customers back.

Readers, how important is battery life longevity to you? Has your device kept the same charging capacity since you've had the device, or has it changed for the worse? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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80 Reactions to this post

"What's more important to you: battery life or features?"

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Teron Facey I get amazing battery life with my Droid RAZR MAXX HD. I would pick battery life over anything.
Chorbs 'sz Amen!!!
Elijah David Kleehammer Most people are saying battery life is the only one that matters, but if that were the case, we would all be using flip phones. Instead, we go out looking for phones with the latest and greatest software features. Without these, why would we spend hundreds of dollars on mobile devices? It's a mixture of both.
Curtis Owens batteries should last for at least 24 hours. I keep hearing that they only last 4 or 5 hours while being used. That is simply unacceptable to me.
Kevin Joseph battery
Jeff Seaver Battery
Vicente Reyes Battery with a few features, the rest of the features come from apps.
Derek Arguello The 3rd from yemen
Derek Arguello Joelenheimer
Derek Arguello Galaxy Note 2 trumps lumia 920 so :P
Derek Arguello Battery life is key because most phones these days have great features but what's the point if you only get 4 hours with 1 hour of on screen time that's totally weak
Mauka Side Not overlooked but intentional
Kevin Joel Lumia 920 = both.
Antwone Yaj Battery life, thats why im on Gingerbread
John W Bloodworth III Battery. But, not really a way to fix that without a break through in storage technology. We need it for electric cars as well.
Sumeet Parihar Both.....!!!
Daniel Ayala some people said features lmfao hahahaha
Paul Battle Battery life
Adam Schulte I get great battery life on my DNA because I know how to limit my usage :)
David Lukens A mix of both
David Torres Battery life. Can't utilize the features to their full potential if my phone dies too quick.
Kenneth Cypret I'm always messing with my phone and I'm always on an LTE network. I just accept that I'm going to get poor battery life from a phone. Some are better than others though :P
Curt Popejoy Features. Battery life is foe whiners. Most of us have access to a way to charge our phones the bulk of the day. People want great phones but complain about battery. Its like buying an suv and bitching about gas mileage.
Camar Green Battery life
Jace Casiño Battery life man ... these phones wouldnt survive in a zombie apocalypse.. o.o
Jenni Massey A removable battery that lasts two days with moderate usage would be ideal. Some features would be wonderful including no bloatware.
Gian Carlo Mirasol Both! How can u enjoy those features if ur battery sucks!
Art Lopez Both that's why I have the Galaxy Note 2
Lawrence Lepes If you think about it, a long life battery is a feature. So, the two are the same.
Michael Kergosien Jr Just a full day is all I ask for lol
Sandy Bullard Ryczak this is exactly what I said in my fb post to you guys a few weeks ago. what good is a thin yet dead smart phone? give me a thicker phone that holds a charge all day. I can't see why no one tries this and sees how they sell. right now i have a g3 with an extended battery and a case. the charge lasts more than 24 hours with heavy use and the phone fits my hand nice. the case works the buttons perfectly, too. as for the droid, att does not have it.
Dave Bourque At least a day of battery life, then features
Eric Quach if it can last a full day with moderate-heavy use, I'm fine. I charge my phone everyday anyways.
Carl Dale Battery life... Phones have no battery life... Why make them over powered when you have a low battery capacity, *cough* HTC....
Brandon Moran battery life is def more important. but features are mainly the reason to buy. if they'd just stick the Note II's battery on it, we're good lol.
Brandon Holley Battery life because features will come eventually. I'd rather have something to use all day than some toy that dies in two hours.
Raul Garcia I say both cuz wats the point if u have great features with a dead battery and a great battery life but no features to do things with. Only we get the best of both worlds.
Reese Woodson I'd say both
Christopher Manic Johnson The features can sometime help with battery life, so it's a give and take.
Mark Belkowski I get great battery life on my note 2.
Ken Reil Both
Alonzo Tollini Oh and stock android wouldn't hurt either. Enough manufacturer UI's.
Cvetelina Toncheva battery life ...
Mark Fisher Jr. Features, but more in the battery life. Phones just die to dam quick these days.
Alonzo Tollini After 3 years of meh battery life, most recently on my Toro (having to carry 3 batteries). I'm gonna say great battery life, and a removable battery. So I'm looking at the #Note2 next.
Tarek Halaby battery
Chris Glade Battery life
Michael Burnham I get 24hours+ on my s3 with a custom rom so I am happy with that
George Millhouse what good are features if your battery is always dying?
Hector Enrique Mercado a mix between both, depends.
Willie Lucero Battery life obviously, all I do on my phone is watch Netflix, YouTube, listen to music, games and text and rarely call, have to charge my phone at least 2-3 times a day
Gabriel Ramiris Battery Life is number one Key
Brandon Watters Battery because I can only tell it to do so much w/o it knowing more about me than me.
Kyle Cordiano Features.
Nick White Both but if I had to pick just one it would be battery
Douglas J Kmiotek Features are necessary, but excellent battery life is REQUIRED!!!
Don Scaflus WizMatic Bennett Both! Cuz wats di point of havin 1000 features an a weak battry..
Håvard Ulsaker Features.
TheGuywho Livedinthecrystalcastle battery life,reason i gave up on android phones for now,can never get a day on moderate use
Bobby Cento its just sad that we even have to choose between the two
Derick Ulac A good balance of both.
Craig Marsh is it really that hard to ask for both?
David Buenrostro Why not both? Note 2.

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