How important is the battery to you?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: July 10, 2013

Before I finally got around to picking up a Samsung Galaxy Note II and trying it out for myself, all sorts of people were telling me I was "missing out" on something pretty great. You know what I told them? "It's too big," and that was that. Because, let's face it, the Galaxy Note II was too big. That is, until you started using it, and started realizing why the device worked so well because of its size.

The Galaxy Note II's display measures in at 5.5-inches, and for awhile that was the biggest smartphone-slash-tablet you could get, at least from one of the major manufacturers. That's changed, of course, and Samsung will more than likely out-do itself this year with the Galaxy Note III. (Plus, we can't forget about the Mega 6.3, now can we?)

Screen size can only get you so far, though. It can only count for so much.

As we all know, there's plenty that goes into a smartphone purchase decision. Screen size, features, mobile operating system, onboard memory, and a plethora of other things all get rolled into one package that'll either sweep us off our feet, or bore us to tears. And for most, it's a combination of the features, be it hardware or software, that can make or break the final decision.

That's why when a manufacturer, like Samsung for instance, launches a new phone like a Galaxy Mega with a 6.3-inch display, or even the upcoming Galaxy Note III with its rumored 5.7-inch display, most folks will immediately look to see how big the battery is. Because if you don't have a battery that can run the show, then your big display doesn't much matter.

And yet, to be perfectly honest with you, I don't really pay any attention to the size of a battery. I can tell you that the Galaxy Note II has a 3100mAh battery. I can tell you that the HTC One has a battery measured at 2300mAh. But, I had to actually look up the iPhone 5's battery size, simply because the number hasn't been drilled into my head since the device's launch.

With my time with the Galaxy Note II, I've been on two very different ends of the spectrum for battery longevity. The first time I owned the device, and I used it like I use every phone I carry as my personal handset, the battery just didn't impress me all that much. While everyone was showing off pictures on Twitter of their batteries lasting hours and hours, and seemingly not losing any strength, just listening to music for me seemed to kill it just like any other phone.

Which would be fine, if the Galaxy Note II had been preached to me as anything other than just a normal phone. But, this was the best thing to happen to a "phablet" and batteries all in one. I just wasn't seeing it. Not with that first model.

And it must have been the device itself, because when I've gone back to different Galaxy Note II models since then, I made sure to stretch out my usage, and I began to see what everyone else had been seeing, too. Sure enough, the Galaxy Note II was lasting me all day, with heavy usage, and I was a happy camper.

The thing is, I can still get all day battery life out of devices like the HTC One, the iPhone 5, and the Lumia 920. All three devices don't have particularly huge batteries, and I've heard that many people haven't been pleased with the battery life, but for me, I just don't notice it.

I do notice it when it's bad, though. Just like the Galaxy Note II situation. However, if it's good, or isn't terrible I should say, then I don't pay any attention to how big the battery is, or what the "tests" show. So you say your phone can last so many hours talking on the phone constantly? Or watching video constantly? That's great. My usage usually adds some Twitter, other social networking tools, more video, a lot of music, texting, phone calls, and everything else at least once or twice. The usage is all over the place.

So, just don't be terrible and it's all good. Moreover, the battery just has to not be terrible with my usage. Not someone else's. The way I use the Galaxy Note II, the iPhone 5, Lumia 920, or whatever other phone will be different than how anyone else uses it. They could get terrible battery life, while my day-to-day battery usage is fantastic, or vice versa.

Basically, what I'm saying here, is that while it's great that these companies are shoving huge batteries into their phones, I think it's got to come down to software, features, and how it all comes together to sap power out of the battery throughout the day. The fact that I can get the iPhone 5 to last all day, which has a battery clocked well below 2000mAh is pretty great, even if saying the iPhone 5 has a battery measured below 2000mAh is pretty sad, at face value.

Which is why I want to know how seriously you take those battery claims. Do you pay close attention to it? Will you avoid devices with "low" battery sizes altogether? Or are you willing to give any device a chance, despite the battery size? Let me know where you stand with the current state of our batteries.