There’s a certain point where we all know we’re preaching to the choir about battery technology. You, me, and just about everyone else who has used a smartphone in their life knows that battery life isn’t as good as it should be. Of course, “should be” is about as relative as anything else out there, especially when it comes to devices that are completely dependent upon how we use them. I think this is something that phone manufacturers cling to, as it gives them the only bit of solace they can look forward to when they design phones with admittedly “small” batteries.

That’s the rub, right? While a majority will probably get the same average battery life, if we break it down to individuals, the likelihood that I’ll get the same life out of my BlackBerry Z10 as someone else with the same phone is pretty slim. Why? Because we use our phones differently, we have different apps on our phones, and we are probably connected to different networks, be it cellular or Wi-Fi, at different intervals in a day.

Over the years, I’ve used devices that have both surprised and disappointed me when it came to battery life. I’ve used devices because I was told that the battery life was amazing, and was ultimately not all that impressed with it. On the other hand, I’ve picked up and used devices knowing that the majority of folks weren’t all that pleased with the battery’s longevity, and came away no worse for wear. All this shows is that battery life is dependent on our own usage.

But what it doesn’t mean is that manufacturers should be taking it easy on developing better, longer-lasting batteries.

We know that there are handsets out there that have big batteries. Batteries that can, for all intents and purposes, last a full day. Handsets like Samsung’s Galaxy Note II or Motorola’s DROID RAZR MAXX HD, for instance. The former’s battery measures in at 3,100mAh; the latter’s measured at 3,300mAh. These handsets are known to last a full day. In fact, I know a lot of people who have been able to go even longer than that, reaching upwards of 18 hours (or longer) on a single charge, and with plenty of usage.

I never had a chance to use the DROID RAZR MAXX HD, but I did manage to spend some time with the Galaxy Note II. My own time with the device saw some pretty mixed results, to be honest. On days that I didn’t use the handset like I normally do, which means not listening to music, I could get plenty of life out of the battery. To be honest, though, I don’t watch a lot of video on my phones (with the exception of a movie trailer here and there), so that’s one battery draining element that I never really implement on a regular basis.

I managed to get just about “normal” amount of battery out of the Galaxy Note II when I was listening to music throughout the day, though. Again, an indicator that a battery will only last as long as we really want it to. If we push the devices, and use intensive applications, whether that pulls on technology from the phone, or from an external network, then the battery is going to drain faster. This is a truth, and one that we’ve had to live with for years.

That’s why we want better battery tech out of our manufacturers. It’s why when we hear about a new phone being launched, we wait to see how big –or small—the battery is going to be. Some folks even focus their purchase plans on whether or not they believe the battery will be able to last a full day.

In my review for the BlackBerry Z10, I mentioned that the battery life wasn’t all that terrible. And in all actuality, it isn’t. I managed to get plenty of life out of the phone, but I wouldn’t call it “all day.” If you plug the Z10 in and start charging it, you’ll be given an option to “drop a shade,” where you can apply an alarm clock if you want, and even silence notifications. I look at this feature in one way:

If manufacturers want us to plug our phones in once, at the end of the day and overnight, why don’t they give us batteries that last that long?

The BlackBerry Z10’s battery is measured at 1,800mAh. So what about upcoming devices? The HTC One’s battery is set at 2,300mAh. The Samsung Galaxy S 4? 2,600mAh. Are we looking at a time where devices are seeing an up-tick in battery size, or life? It doesn’t look like it. I only expect Samsung’s successor to the Galaxy Note II to really show some battery improvements, but even that’s a toss-up at this point (considering it’s an unannounced device and all).

So if our batteries aren’t getting any bigger anytime soon, I want to know from you what you’d be willing to sacrifice to get your hands on a few extra hours out of your battery. Is it something you’d be willing to sacrifice in a new phone, like a display with fewer pixels, maybe? No more 1080p displays, by chance? Or how about a dual-core processor, instead of a quad-core?

Or maybe it’s something you are already sacrificing, to eke out a bit more life for your phone. Sticking to a Wi-Fi connection as much as possible? Or maybe you never turn on your GPS, or Bluetooth? Keep your display’s brightness turned as low as possible? I want to know what you’d be willing to give up in a future phone to ensure better battery life, if manufacturers won’t give us the batteries we are so vocal about. And what do you do now to make your phone get through the day? Let me know!

image via iFixIt

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eBay prices for the Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX HD

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46 Reactions to this post

"Is there a particular feature that you'd be willing to sacrifice if it meant you'd get a few more hours of battery life out of your phone?"

Please limit your reaction to 140 characters or use comments for a longer reply :)
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Teron Facey My phone already has excellent battery life with the 3300 mah battery.
Stephen Nicholas Woodall i dont get 4G or even 3G on my tmobile android phone, i get "2G" which is more than enough for me atm and i get between 13-14 hrs of heavy usage.
Facebook user screen size
Jordan Griffith I would say 1080P displays and a bit of thiness
Jonathan Coffey YES if you phone does not stay on its useless
Jason Vargas Phone being sothin
Steven Pereira Live wallpaper! It keeps my attention for about two seconds and beyond that it's just what's behind my apps. A waste.
Alberto Garcia Flores I always sacrifice my Internet connectivity. That and also helps my not waste my 3Gb data lol
Anthony Bailey You're an absolute IDIOT in every sense of the word, if you're trying to compare a screen size in the 40"+ range to 5". There is a tremendous difference in how images are displayed to the human eye, when you go from an extreme big to an extreme small. At 5-6", what is discernible to the human eye when going from 720p to 1080p, is infinitesimally smaller. When you start to get to 40, 50, 60"... the difference is huge. 720p is outstanding for any screen size 40" and small. Once you get to 42" or larger, it has been stated ad naseum, that 1080p is what you should consider, because that's when the human eye starts to notice pixelation and deteriorated image quality. All of this information can be found with a simple Google search.
Adam Smith People who drink alcohol are Scum. No wonder girls get raped
Fabian Toti the thickness of the phone
Zeke Zehr Why sacrifice? Get a solar back pack. I won't mention the name of the best company to get one from, I don't want to piss off Phone Dog. Some totally suck, nothing more then a cheap gimmick. But one company makes awesome solar back packs and do what they say they do. Having your phone run out of power these days is like holding two sticks together and wondering how to make a fire. Friggin' crazy.
Ashley Blackwell Honestly just make the damn phones a teeny bit thicker. I don't need a razor blade in my pocket.
Neil Hussey Thickness. Although saying that, I upgraded the battery in my original Galaxy Note to 3400mah and it's the same size as the original battery! So more mah can be squeezed into them but for some reason the manufacturers don't seem to want to do it themselves!!
Jeff Griffith Heavier phone and thicker body for a larger battery, phones are so thin nowadays it's hard for me to pick one up off a table without a case!
Lukasz Dudek Colorfull screen
Dee Nazario I am willing to sacrifice the Nexus 4's sleek design and make it a bit more bulkier/thicker if that means they can put at least a 3000mah battery in it.
Tim Bunting Get rid of the phone function. The 3G/4G drains the battery.
Clive Gorman Weight and thickness. My Nokia 920 lasts all day but it's heavy. My wife's iPhone 5 struggles after 5 hours.
Mark Fisher Jr. Anything that takes the most battery juice.
Joel Diaz Multitasking
Roc Starr that's why I have a Samsung Galaxy Note® II I sacrifice having a big phone which is actually an awesome feature for battery life my battery last 18 hours
Brandon Holley 1080p screens are pointless. The human eye can't tell the difference after 330+PPI. So with screens in the 400ppi range it kind of defeats the purpose. It's more for bragging rights than anything.
Paolo Zorilla Yeah. Not reading your blog is one. :D
Nicholas Rosario your all crazy !!!! We want 1080p screens!!! Why would you want older tech in a phone ? It defeats the purpose and defeats the purpose of spending our hard earned dollars, while finding pixels on a 720p screen is hard, go to best buy and look at a 720 p screen on a 42 in and then look at a 1080p screen on a 42 in, I know there is a size difference but at the same distance about 14 ft away you can tell the difference of the 2 screens, the same applies to phones
Dee Ross This isn't Star Trek where you can demand someone to alter physics. Improved tech takes time and money, whereas even with current tech adding a few mm to the size of existing batteries can improve current mAh.
Hamza Khan Agree with Alex.1080p screens are clueless.It was already impossible to find an individual pixel in a 720p,and in 1080p,it's just a wee bit sharper,but drains the battery life like crazy! 1080p screens for me.
Nicholas Rosario I only ask it to get me through my work day, i have no problems giving it a charge at night it doesn't bother me at all, i like using my phone and i won't sacrifice anything, a bigger battery is always welcome but not at the loss of a feature
Frank F. Bona Your askng stupid q? again......
Bobby Delaney Bluetooth, 1080p,
Matthew Rock In this day and age, we should be way up on the battery technology. This iPhone 5 is about as thin as they should go, it really doesn't need to go any thinner. I fear that now 1080p screens are here, they'll try and go for 4k next year, keeping they battery life around the same (which isn't good enough). Stop upping the res, it's fine, nobody can see the pixels anymore.
Krishna Karthik Build quality and looks.....if it gives good battery n has decent speed
Alex Villalpando 1080p displays 720 is just fine
Gabi-Guillermo Ortiz-Albert Thickness, and length of battery. I don't understand why don't they just make the batteries on let say the GS3.....About the length of the phone. That way it would feel more solid and strecthing the battery out you would be able to make it thinner but with longer capacity. Or even leave the thickness just make them longer. Done!
Jesse Huertas I'd say 'NAY' thee mortal
Frank Porter No, I shouldn't have to sacrifice anything for better battery life. They should improve on battery technology.
Ryan Berding the thickness of the phone. A few mm means nothing vs more battery life.
Anthony Evans phone feature hmmm bluetooth
Ruben Andy Colon I would sacrifice money... .-.
Hooney Heoh nah i have a note 2. i stay up at night doing everything i can do kill the battery so i can get a full charge in
Saurabh Bisht HD Games..:D
Jeremy Gross removable battery lol

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