I want to stop worrying about battery life when I purchase an Android phone

Daniel Bader

April 23, 2012 8:34 pm


I am tired of my phone batteries dying. Back in the day, when phones were used to make calls, one could leave his device idling for months, flimsy antenna protruding like a signpost. In those days, it was Snake or bust, and when you received a phone call, it was between bouts of reading paper books.

In all seriousness, though, the industry seems to have lost sight of one of the fundamental uses for a smartphone: actually using it. The chassis are slimming down, the screens sharpening up, but in the Android world battery life continues to decline. It’s easy to see why this is: unlike iOS and Windows Phone, Android apps can run indefinitely as services in the background, chewing up and spitting out precious pulses that might be handy down the road.

In fact, the trend seems to be worsening: flagship devices like the Galaxy Nexus, HTC One X and Sony Xperia S all come with cells under 2000mAh despite having to power enormous 4.3-inch+ 720p displays. The latter two don’t even have removable cells to replace in an emergency. The only company that seems to get it is Motorola, which released the popular Droid RAZR MAXX with a 3300mAh cell.

Say what you will about the iPhone 4S and the iOS operating system — some love it, some don’t — but there is no doubt that even with the demonstrably lower battery life on iOS 5 the iPhone has no trouble lasting most of the day. I am sometimes unable to go past 4pm on the Galaxy Nexus.

Which is why I want manufacturers to put aside their “moar power” strategy with their next flagships and focus on battery life. They want to rival the iPhone for popularity? Don’t force every reviewer to add the caveat, “It may be beautiful, fast and powerful, but the battery won’t last through the day.” It’s a song we’ve been singing more often than not, too. Thankfully Samsung appears to be listening to my concerns, as they are promising “all day battery life” in their upcoming devices.

The original Galaxy S had a 1500mAh battery, and, running Android 2.2, it lasted most of the day without issue. The Galaxy S II had a 1650mAh cell but somehow seemed to struggle more than its predecessor. The Galaxy Note, with its massive 5.3-inch screen, has a 2500mAh battery, making it one of the longest-lasting Android devices on the market. Trouble is it’s too big for the majority of people to comfortably use.

The Galaxy S III, or whatever it will be sired, must have a larger battery cell in order to meet the demands of a high-resolution screen, a quad-core processor, LTE connectivity and Android 4.0. Most people won’t even mind if the device gains a bit of weight and girth in the process — nothing unreasonable, but anything under 10mm is fine — if it means lasting the whole day or more on a single charge. The latest leak suggests the device will come with a 2050mAh battery, which could certainly be enough for the power user, but that remains to be seen.

HTC recently did a study that found most users don’t want to sacrifice device slimness for a larger battery. It’s a matter of physics: you can’t cram increasingly powerful components into increasingly sleek devices and expect battery life to stay the same. It won’t. Sure, software optimizations are one things; integrated basebands, less power-hungry chips are another. But battery cells aren’t magic: prick them and they bleed at a steady rate. Use them more and they deplete faster.

As far as Android has come in the last four years it seems that battery life has taken a back seat to the sheer momentum of “specs.” There is nothing wrong with pimping out your flagship device with all the fixins but if your customers have to be constantly scrounging for a charger, few are going to enjoy the experience.

I want manufacturers to start using larger batteries at the expense of device thickness. I want them to start respecting what matters to me most: my time.

  • Sailor Pete

    Bigger batteries should be a no-brainer, though they will probably make phones a bit pricier.

    I don’t mind. I’ll easily pay a bit more, and sarifice a bit of that “thinness” in order to get a phone that would last me TWO days, with no need for it to be re-charged.

    It’s so obvious! Why issn’t anyone seeing this?

    • Tom

      There is no need for “two days”. Most users charge at night, and charging every night is a perfectly easy routine to get into.

      I would go further and say that we here are power users. Ordinary users use their phones less during the day then we do. Perhaps the reason that they aren’t providing big batteries is because ‘ordinary’ users are able to get through a day.

      On the other hand, flagship devices are targetted at power users, so the flagship devices should have batteries sufficent for MobileSyrup reviewers and commenters.

    • PkaTka3

      I think there’s a need for two days. The reason being that if one day you use your phone VERY heavily then that would mean it will last. But I do agree that most people charger it overnight, but a battery that is said to last 2 days will probably last 1 full day on heavy use.

    • Wia

      I agree with a larger battery, but I also think sometimes android devices can try to run less stuff in the background or have their screen brightness settings even lower. I compared my Android phone to my gf’s iphone4S, and found out even with the lowest brightness settings, my phone is still pretty bright. Luckily, I’ve found solutions in dealing with the problems I’ve mentioned above. I use “Screen Filter” to dim my screen, and “Advanced Task Killer” to kill background loading tasks, but this seems to only extend the battery life a bit more.

  • FiZi

    “I want to stop worrying about battery life when I purchase an phone”

    Fixed it.

  • Sean

    With my iPhone 4 i would get around 4~ hours of screen on with full brightness

    With my Galaxy nexus I would get maybe an hour of screen on with full brightness

    I know the difference in screen resolutions might be the reason why yet seriously I can barely use my Nexus. I expect decent battery life and really HTC if Moto an do thin and amazing battery you and Samsung can do to.

  • anirask

    The Lumia 900 lasts from wake up to bed time on 3G and the business day easily with LTE on.

  • js

    i would prefer to have a phone that is 1-1.5cm thick if it meant having one or two days. my arc gets about 18 hours on an average day which is nice compared to most phones but ultimately i’m stuck to a plug like everyone else anyways before second day.

  • Gab

    I have 4 batteries.

  • Dany

    Buy the Galaxy Note, this phone has a very good battery life, I’m a heavy user and by the end of the day i still have 20-30%!

    • jellmoo

      We’re talking about phones, not tablets.

      (joking… kind of…)

  • A

    Good Article… :)

  • s0dhi

    My GSM Galaxy Nexus easily does more than 24h of moderate use on a charge, using the 2000mAh battery, AOKP ROM and Faux123 kernel. It is possible to have great battery life.

    • RobbieCrash

      I’m here to echo this statement. An hour or so of Draw Something, the subway ride to and from work reading comics and listening to music streaming some off Google Music, 45 minutes on the phone, 5 Gmail accounts with push, 1 Exchange account with push, bunch of Gtalk and texts, and I’m at 9 hours and 50%.

      GSM Galaxy Nexus on Mobilicity, AOKP with a dark theme, and no custom kernel, or non-default CPU governor settings. I can routinely go 30+ hours on a charge.

      Are phone batteries really this all over the place?

    • Rio

      I find that very hard to believe lol.

      Unless your a very careful person about how you use your phone. A normal user would never be able to do all of that without running out of jun.ce

  • BadBikerBob

    It should be common sense, however…..As I have repeatedly discovered throughout my life….Common sense really isn’t all that common!

  • hinds

    I get a full day with my nexus. I’m a power user but I know how to power save and get the most of my device. Why would I put my screen on full brightness all day(no reason) I have the 2000mh extended battery for my gnex.

    • mikevan

      I have stock battery on my Galaxy Nexus and use my phone quite a bit. I seem to be able to go easily for a day and a half without charging if I fall asleep without charging it.

      Having had HTC Desire previously, maybe power management just comes naturally to me. Loved that phone other than being chained to a USB cable.

  • rye&ginger

    For my usage which is 3 hrs screen time browsing and 2 hrs streaming music, the Galaxy Nexus gets far better life that Galaxy S Captivate. Both are on ICS.

    Run Facebook and you might as well drop your phone off a bridge.

    Its bad apps more than the hardware from what I’ve seen.

    I uses iPhone 3G prior to the Captivate and it never lasted long so what is better about iOS since then?

  • Fenrir

    I always charge my galaxy nexus with the phone off my battery then goes easily for 24+ hours got it to 52 once. Try that and you should find a big difference with the nexus.

  • rye&ginger

    Also I’ll add I’m left with 45% battery after that use.

  • Y3LLO

    I’m using a One X and have been seeing enough battery to get me through a work day and the evening. This is with a fairly heavy usage.

  • Domingo

    “industry seems to have lost sight of one of the fundamental uses for a smartphone: actually using it” Exactly, frankly anything less than 3500mah is idiotic. First thing I bought after my Nexus S was a battery extender with new back cover to fit it for $10. No more battery anxiety. What the heck is the point of having a Ferrari with a 1 litre gas tank? The i****s running these companies don’t get it.

  • sixteen12

    So long as my phone makes it from 6am-11PM I’m fine. I almost always have a chance to charge my phone over night. Where do you sleep that this is an issue for everybody?

  • what what?

    With my iPhone I would last 5 hours of moderate use. With my Galaxy S2, I would last 15 hours of heavy use.

  • Nitin

    On a typical day My nexus will last me easily 12-16 hours. My battery is at 46% right now and has been unplugged for 10h and 25m. Although today I have been using it less then normal. However I do have the extended 2000mAh battery instead of the standard 1750 but my standard still lasted me 10-12 hours before I got the extended.

  • bb1983

    I totally feel the pain with my optimus LTE. so far today I have had to charge my phone twice and all I have done was make a few texts and checked twitter a few times. I do have a few emails syncing, weather, twitter and Facebook syncing but I managed to get a whole day with my evo 3d and nexus s before it.

    nightly charges are acceptable but more than that is frustrating and I hope these handset makers get this in their head with their hardware, software, and size of battery. thinner is nice but having to carry a charger is embarrassing.

  • Max

    This seriously is the greatest issue! I mean, you can have all the muscles in the world, but if your sleeping during the fight your not going to be of any use! I bought a S2 Skyrocket when it first came out because I was sick of my iPhone 3gs. But I had to get rid of it after a week because I couldn’t get past 4PM. It does NOT need to be that thin. It needs to WORK!

  • Dave

    I dont know why peope would want 2 days. I can understand a full day as, you know, going from 6 am to about 8 pm or 10 pm. realistically put those days don’t go much longer than that or at least vast majority of people’s days don’t go much longer than that. also depends on how much you use you pull out of your phone 1 person will have more than another but to be fair I think the phones Barry life.should be geared towards all the heavy users because if the heavy users can put it through from 6 am to 10 pm then the average users should have no problem.

  • TheFire

    Shrug. Honestly my Infuse with a 1750mAh battery does a great job lasting through a day. I get very similar use out of it to my coworkers iPhone4s, and way better life than my other coworkers with their BB 9900s.

  • Bala

    I would prefer to have a thicker phone (Reasonable size) than carry a mini tablet in my pocket refereing to galaxy note. Why do you need a 5.3inch screen

  • Soilm

    All i want is to be able to play some games and not watch my battery drop like a countdown timer.

  • wp74life

    Windows phone 7 is the only to pass a full day ;-)

    • jellmoo

      Before the update to the 800, absolutely not. Battery life was terrible. After the update, I get about 28 hours of mild to moderate use.

  • Acitta

    I used to use a Blackberry 7105t. It is 19mm thick. I didn’t find it too thick and the battery lasted a week. I had a Nexus One. I had to buy a giant 3200mAh battery to get a days use out of it. I currently have an LG G2X. If I don’t use it too much, it will last till the late evening, but if I am doing a lot of web browsing or Facebooking, it will conk out before the end of the day if I don’t manage to charge it. I bought a Zagg 6000mAh external battery to use when commuting on the Greyhound bus, otherwise my phone would be dead in half a day.

  • Zeake

    Like i said before. Android sucks. Its broken and feels like my little brother slapped it together over a weekend on his down time from playing video games.

    • Bearz420

      Dont you have anything better to do than trolling on here. Go to engadget where your comments are welcome.

  • Crocography

    My old iPhone4 couldn’t last a day if it tried, my Samsung Focus (win7 phone) easily lasts a full day. I guess that is what you get from a modern OS.

  • aregularonhofo

    Easy solution…buy Windows phones. Pretty soon Androids will need large car type batteries to run. Just saying. :-o

  • SIMCITY

    My battery lasts all day. I leave it plugged into my charger and have 1000 feet of extension cords.

    Maybe the old days in the 90′s were better. At least I had a charge for 2 days without a problem.

  • Pept68

    Guess it depends on the user… as i get better batty life on my GS2x than i did on my iphone4. I use juice defender and timerific and i can easily get 2 days…

  • zzZZzz

    Daniel, I don’t know how you get that battery life with the i4s, since everyone I know with it need to charge it during the day.

    Can’t say anything about the Nexus, but my Sensation lasts me from morning till night with a charge (though I did put a 1800mAh battery inside and a different kernel).

    But I do agree with your statement that phones should last a day no matter what you do … and if Moto managed to fit a 3300mAh battery in the Razr, I don’t see why other companies couldn’t.

  • FranzJoseph

    My old BB Curve 8530 used to last almost 3 days between charges and that was wth tons of texting, bbming and facebook.

    The battery life on new BLackBerry`s has certainly decayed but I have no problem getting a full days worth (and sometimes even 2 if I forget to charge it)on my BlackBerry 9900

  • Dalex

    My SGS2 easily lasts the whole day. It did so with Touchwiz and it still does with CM9. With Juice Defender (which is free), it lasts 2 days…

    I’m assuming you have trouble with your HTC One X (from the picture), but there are steps to take to make it better.

    Also really? Windows Phones? Yeah no thx, I’ll take functionality thank you.

  • Entegy

    I completely agree with this article. It seems that in a race to jam pack the next latest gimmick requiring an over-the-top GPU for a cell phone and a quad-core CPU, it’s suddenly become acceptable for a cell phone to not last you the day.

    I believe recently it was the SXSW Festival that had girls walking around with chargers so attendees could charge their phones during the day. Insanity.

    Yes we do more with our phones more than ever. But really, I don’t need 3D in a phone. I don’t yet need quad-core CPUs.

    I’m also against HTC’s study. I’m more than willing to get a slightly fatter phone if it meant more battery life. I don’t need a phone that’s as thin as a toothpick in my pocket.

    So maybe for the next round of phones, let’s focus more on battery in both hardware and software instead of gimmicks.

  • bob

    I don’t know what you are talking about. I charge my Android phone every other day or so.

  • Terry

    I don’t know why you’re singling Android phones.
    While some phones last longer then others, such as Iphones lasting longer then SOME Android, smartphones as a whole have pathetic battery life.

    Does everyone forget the days when dumbphones lasted days?

    Battery tech suffers at the cost of thinner and prettier, and the whole tech behind batteries is in a drastic need of an innovation.
    I don’t care how many ppi my screen has, I care about how long the battery lasts.

    Smartphones these days really suck in that regards, ALL of them. Even Nokia and Blackberry phones, which use to be a USP with battery life are starting to suffer because of the direction the market is going. Pretty sad really.

  • Dylan D

    Why isn’t there a company out there that wants to be different.. create an android phone that literally lasts days on a full charge. And I mean with use. Not on idle.

    For me, I don’t really care how big the phone is. As long as it can fit in my pocket in the end of the day, thats all that matters.

    I like texting a lot.. as well as catching up with my social networks, twitter, facebook, and email.

    The battery in my phone lasts about 5 hours of near constant use.

    With minimal use about a day and a half.

  • Tomatoes

    I have no problem getting a full day out of all my android phones. Not that different from IOS.

  • john Wu

    What a big deal about batthey when is run out just charge the stupid thing get on with real life stop crying

  • Brandon

    Get the Galaxy Note if you want a longer battery life. This machine is a beast, most of the battery powers up the awesome screen. But I can still get over 10 hrs of heavy usage.

  • ehoustoun

    amen, what I wouldn’t give for a smartphone that could even last a weekend.

  • Tom

    Amen! And android is the answer for battery life. Either through battery swap or Motorola Maxx.

  • Chris

    You really want to extend your battery life? Kill your persistent data connection. You’d be suprised how long your average smartphone will last if it’s not constantly polling web based services.

  • BurntPixels

    While I may be playing devil’s advocate here, I don’t see the point in having 99% of apps running in the background.

    I myself use a Samsung Galaxy Mini, which I’ve affectionately named Baby Nexus (flame suit ON; I’ve always wanted a Nexus S but couldn’t justify the out-of-contract price). But, you know what? That phone can easily last me anywhere from 12 to 15 hours between charging.

    I don’t consider myself a light user, either. I text often, I gobble up data, I check my e-mail, and actually make phone calls.

    The key, as I mentioned earlier, is something I picked up on after about a week of using my Galaxy Mini. I don’t have apps, such as Facebook or Gmail, set to sync every X minutes or hours. I don’t keep the phone’s screen on its highest brightness setting, and almost always, WiFi is off.

    I can probably squeeze more juice out of it, but I’m relatively happy with the current numbers I’m getting. It also makes me happy I didn’t have to resort to a BlackBerry if I wanted a smartphone with decent battery life, although that’s arguable.

  • Roger

    Most of these new phones wont last more than 6 hours if you’re a heavy user.

  • Zeake

    @pept68
    I don’t know which is more apparent, your lies or you stupidity.

    I repeat android sucks!

  • BurntPixels

    P.S. This is one of the best articles I’ve read on MobileSyrup in a while.

  • Andy c

    Considering the last time mobile syrup wrote an editorial the nexus s got ics a few weeks later.

    So if my calculations are correct the sgs3 should last 3 days…

    Keep up the good work Daniel

  • Vito

    Daniel,
    You say – “It’s easy to see why this is: unlike iOS and Windows Phone, Android apps can run indefinitely as services in the background, chewing up and spitting out precious pulses that might be handy down the road.”

    However, looking at the image it’s your One X’s SCREEN that has used 80% of your battery – not background apps. The first couple of days with any new iPhone I can’t make it through the afternoon without charging it.

    Also, I have the One X and I noticed the battery SIGNIFICANTLY better after a few charges. I think it just takes a few charges to calibrate reporting.

    Case in point, I charged my phone last night and left it unplugged from 9:30pm to 9:30am (12hrs) and my battery was still was at 99% full. Background apps don’t seem to be a problem.

    With few exceptions – last year’s HTC phones – I find Android battery life is getting better.

    As you somewhat correctly point out, some poorly designed background apps could be detrimental to battery life. I’d suggest staying away from those apps.

  • ffinder

    Why don’t u..

    BUY 2 BATTERIES ! ! !

    Or even 3.

    One is in use the others charge.

    Problem solved.

    ff

  • Zeake

    You vote you your wallet. But some people are to stupid to realize that.

  • dinmab

    ok i keep seeing this. i have gnexus. my brightness is in auto , wifi is always on, data is always on, auto sync is off(turn it on once a day). talk in phone for 3 hours , listen to music for 1.5 hours all in one charge. it lasts for 2 days easily for me. that is 1.5 hrs of talk a day and 45 mins music , browsing , mail checking.

    only once did my phone die , when i navigated with google maps(internet) and with gps on for 2 hours after a full charge.

  • Mystic09

    My iphone 4 would be dead by lunch time just from texting. This was about 1.5 – 2 hours screen on (and actually using features).

    I’ve read reviews for the new windows phones and iphones and android phone, flagship or not, all with crappy battery life. This is not isolated to Android.

  • simian

    Maybe my usage is pretty light (which I doubt) but I can get about 30hrs on my GNex no problem. It’s only when I start doing graphic intensive stuff like gaming that it takes a hit, which isn’t something I do since mobile gaming has and always will suck.

  • Jer

    Love this article. It pretty much explains why I’m prudent about switching to smartphones, they just seem impractical with their extremely low battery life. If I wasn’t with Mobi I would of jumped on the MAXX. Now I’m just waiting for something that makes sense.

  • Malevolent

    Seriously, am I the only one that misses charging their phone every two of three days? Tell me why I have to accept charging my phone every day sometimes more than once a day!

  • Francis

    They should have increased battery life long time ago …

  • Eric

    I have a galaxy S and have bought 5 extra batteries for it on e-bay for about $2.50 each, so I just carry an extra battery with me if I am out for the day. I need lots of batteries because I run 2 computers, a fta satellite box and use it for phone calls which is was meant to be used for. I have no problem with a dead phone. I noticed that some of the new phones have a battery that can’t be removed, that’s a pity.

  • Screw you guys im going home

    My Nokia 3120 lasts me 2 weeks

  • toopy binoo

    I have two phones, one N1, one HTC Surround. Both have two be recharged the night before or they’ll be out of juice by the next morning. My coworkers and relatives who have iPhones also won’t last until the next morning without recharging. So I disagree that it’s strictly an Android problem – rather it’s a problem across the entire smartphone industry.

    I recall BB’s can typically go more than a day, but I have not used a BB for years now.

  • Steve

    The picture doesnt lie. He is expecting to get a full day of nice battery levels when using LTE??? Good luck :P We are definitely not there yet.

  • Eric

    A bigger battery is a must. What people here who say “who needs 2 days of battery, you plug in a night anyway lol” don’t realize is that some days you have a lot of time to kill, so you want to play temple run for 3 hours, and you need to make an hour call, and then you need to use GPS navigation for an hour, and then you need to check emails, etc… And with a standard battery in say the galaxy nexus lasting “almost a day” with normal use, it goes down to around 6 hours with heavy use. So maybe most days a big battery would be overkill, but for the days when you want to use your phone heavily it would be nice to have it actually last.

  • Matt

    Dont have an issue getting a day on my GS, past that… I lose a lot of life over night. This article is in the right direction, but all it is a complaint. No solutions offered, nothing as to how battery tech is advancing and making better stuff possible…

  • ActivesiN

    I had a nexus s, after getting ics on it the battery life was terrible
    barely lasted 6 hours

    im running a lg optimus g2x now, and somehow being dual core, and having a brighter screen it has better battery life….
    I think ill stick to gingerbread until ics fixes battery issues

  • New_tradition

    I use a nexus s running ics from wind, and if I keep the brightness on the lowest setting and turn the 3g and wifi off, I have between 25-35% battery left after about 12 hours from a full charge. I wouldn’t call myself a heavy user, but I do use my phone as my primary mp3 player, so that’s the main drainage.

    I’m okay with a phone lasting just a day, but my concern for overnight charging is that it will overcharge and damage the battery.

    I don’t care much about a phone’s width, so if I get better battery life with a slightly thicker phone, I can live with that.

  • clseea

    Maybe the answer is putting down your cell phone for just a minute instead of living your life through it?

  • Tminus

    All the lies lies lies. My android runs 50x longer then my iphone, I’m a power user and my galaxy note last 3 weeks! Stop over exagerating. I have come to one conclusion today, atleast 90% of people on her must work from samsung. Thumb me down losers

  • G -man

    Couldn’t agree more.
    I live in a poor coverage area area. I had an android device, and not only did I have to keep it plugged in all the time, I couldn’t get a call through, ever. I could get a text through, if I was willing to wait 36 hours for it to arrive.
    Went back to BlackBerry, and suddenly I’m getting, making calls, texting instantly, and getting a days worth of battery without plugging in.
    Say what you want, but if a phone won’t phone, the rest don’t mean diddly.
    Especially in an emergency.

  • Mark

    I can get at least two days out of my Galaxy Nexus without charging. Probably close to 7 days if left on standby.

  • Ron Mexico

    Want good battery life on your Android? Don’t install Facebook. I’ve tested it I get easily 15-20 more out of a battery by removing the app. Worst app on the play store bar none.

  • Firsttimeandroid

    Just unplugged my one x and after reading this article and comments my battery went from 100% to 89%. I’m very disappointed!!!

  • poseidon d

    yes! this is a great article. I am a galaxy s 2 user and im not a heavy user by my definition, however I have to charge at night and in after noon. Bigger batteries should be a given these days!

  • Dennis Forbes

    I don’t quite understand this complaint. There are Android handsets that perfectly cater to user’s who prioritize battery life. The author seems to be complaining that all handsets don’t cater to their personal priorities, which seems rather weak.

  • Jamie

    Why do we even have to settle at a larger battery to keep the device powered longer?

    The speed in phones almost doubles in one year, why are they not investing into battery technology. Sure we can make the same battery hold more but what about a new design. You can’t tell me with the global push in renewable energy, electric cars, solar panels, etc that they can’t look into new tech for longer battery life.

    Their is enough smartphones out in the world one of these companies should be investing and patent the battery. Giving users what they want in the end, helping technology move forward in renewable energy and ultimately making buck in the end which is their bottom line.

  • stylinred

    and this is why i love my Symbian Nokias they last longer on smaller batteries than droids ;)

  • Kriilin Namek

    I would like to see someone buck the trend, and make a chunky 3/4 inch thick phone that has crazy battery life and is ruggedized. A good number of us end us encasing our sexy expensive toys in protective cases, making them chunky anyways.

  • Yeria

    Well, obviously it would be great if the phone battery lasts longer but for people like me.. who work in an office setting HAS to sit through the day anyway.. which means it’s not difficult to keep my phone charging on my desk at work at all.

    I have a charger at home, at work and in my car as well. I can charge my phone wherever I go so it hasn’t really been an issue for me. I mean, I’m a very heavy user as my Galaxy Nexus sometimes last two hours when I use it a lot so it feels to me that I’m almost obliged to have a charger with me all the time.

    Another thing I’m considering is buying an extra battery and a battery charging stand. My phone is already thin enough so carrying an extra battery in my pocket isn’t really an issue.

  • woohoo

    The title should be just phones NOT Android.

    My previous iPhone 4 and my wife’s current iPhone 4S has atrocious battery life. In moderate use, we don’t even last a day.

    My current “Android” SGS2, last over a day. On heavy use I get 15 hours. On light to moderate use, I get close to 24 hours.

  • yousuck

    The title should be just phones NOT Android.

    My previous iPhone 4 and my wife’s current iPhone 4S has atrocious battery life. In moderate use, we don’t even last a day.

    My current “Android” SGS2, last over a day. On heavy use I get 15 hours. On light to moderate use, I get close to 24 hours.

  • jbinc

    Thank you for the article Daniel! I felt the exact same way as you do. Only, I made the switch to an iPhone 4S this year. I grew tired of having to charge my Android device every time i was near a charger. Seriously, I had a usb charger at work, in my car and at home and had to use them all.

    I was an Android faithful user/lover until I got my GSII last year. awesome device, but crap battery life. The only other thing that made me switch was the amount of time Google and carriers expect users to wait for the latest updates. TERRIBLE! The GSII still has no official update to Android 4.0 ICS in North America. I had to switch, and I’m glad I did. My 4S lasts me 1.5 days at minimum b4 I need to worry about charging after heavy usage, and I’m running the latest iOS.

    Apple has it right, Google has it wrong. I hope they learn this sooner than later.

  • Mark

    To all people saying ordinary use of the phone suggests no action is needed, why do you need to buy a $600+ superphone to just call, text, and Facebook when a $200 phone can do it perfectly for years to come?

  • Leo

    I easily get full day (8 -10hrs) of heavy use on my Galaxy Note with 20% – 30% to spare and that’s streaming music for atleast 1hr, youtube on HQ for minimum 45 mins, web browsing and texting throughout the day with a few calls here and there. Apps like Easy Battery Saver that switches off wifi and lte between 12 midnight and 7 am and I’m up to minimum of 24hrs of use without charging. Despite the size the GNote this phone is a beast! The longest I’ve gone without charging has been 2d 4h 22m with 16% charge remaining with low to moderate use and usually that means no media streaming.

  • LeDerp

    Well i guess its a simple matter of doing like the Razr Maxx: huge battery in slim format. I dont mind an extra 1.4 mm for better battery life in general.
    Ive done what i could software-wise to help my Gnex (AOKP, Franco Kernel and Juice Defender Ult). It can last me the full day and i play drawsome, scramble, and do other fun stuff like emailing, browsing, stream, etc etc.
    There are several things to address phone-life-wise: the efficiency of the processor and its processes, the size of the battery, the software optimization etc… I understand that we used to have phones last us weeks in the past but their function was limited to a phone and texting over the phone bands.
    Now we’re asking for our phones (which are now mini laptops) to last that long without charge?
    It’s definitely a challenge! Moto has responded by putting a laptop grade battery in the phone while keeping its ultra-slim status, now what will be the other manufacturers’ answer?

  • VP888

    I purchased a genuine Samsung extended 2000mAh battery on eBay, for my Samsung Galaxy S2 and Galaxy Nexus and it is totally worth the $55! My phone easily lasts 1.5-2 days without charging.

  • gogakhan

    I do echo the article, battery life is growing concern in the android community. Also I must say that bad apps are a reason for it as well. Be it the Android architecture which would let bad apps get away with it, or iOS restrictions which just don’t; we’re not here to debate that. Battery life is a concern and we must acknowledge it. A few of you have had great battery, doesn’t mean everyone else does. My GNex would come to 25% at about 16hrs with AOKP and faux kernel; with Anrdoid Rev. HD and Stock kernel, I’m at 60% after 16hrs.

    This makes me question whether HTC should hire the guys who optimize these ROMs to optimize their Sense as well. Its a lot of things that define battery life, and as not all of us are geeks; the companies should take this initiative to give GREAT battery life to the user out of the box rather than him/her searching around for one.

  • Cancuckle215

    Honestly, I think this article sounds like a bit of a whine.

    If you USE your phone, then the battery drains faster than it would if you barely use your phone.

    My wife and I BOTH have SGS with ICSSGS and Semaphore 1.0.0sbm on them. I’ve already used my phone to record my workout, stream music, read a little bit of a book through Google Play, read the news, etc. I’ve USED my phone for 4hrs and it’s got 54% left.

    My wife, she will do a little browsing here and there, text etc. Her phone will probably last all day because she doesn’t use it like I do.

    To have the expectation that you shouldn’t have to plug in your phone more than once a day is ludicrous, unless you use it for just a phone.

    These things do SO much more than my ancient and archaic Nokia that I bought as my first cellphone back in ’98. That thing would go for DAYS. My Kyocera, same thing. They were stupid pieces of equipment.

    My first “smartphone” was the Instinct, and I browsed,listened to music, surfed…and it would maybe get two days on a full charge.

    If you DON’T want to worry about charging your phone all the time, then DON’T:
    -Play games
    -Browse
    -Read books
    -Text
    -Watch youtube
    -Stream or listen to music
    -Navigate
    -Video chat

    I think you get the drift. Use it as phone or the device it’s meant to be.

  • SkyDome

    Funny that this comes from the same author who gave 7/10 for battery life of less than 10 hrs on the lastest Nokia review ;)

    I am looking forward to your next review …

  • Scott

    Boy, looks like you hit a nerve on this one! I think this is the only major flaw in Android right now. My Galaxy Note will run for 2 days of light use or >1 day heavy use, but this is not the case for 95% of Android phones that are available today. Motorola are leading the way with the Droid Maxx – too badd it’s not available in Canada!

  • Dennis Forbes

    “Be it the Android architecture which would let bad apps get away with it, or iOS restrictions which just don’t; we’re not here to debate that.”

    I like how you toss that in and then short circuit actually discussing it.

    Smartphones run out of charge quickly when you *use* them, whether it’s an iPhone (which is hardly a champion of long battery life), Android, or Blackberry. My old Blackberry lasted forever because I barely ever used the device, while now I am endlessly prodding at my handset to read emails, watch videos, play games, etc.

    Maybe that’s why Microsoft had that whole ill-conceived “the phone you don’t want to use” commercial campaign: Given that the Lumia has generally terrible battery life, just convince people that they don’t want to use it and all would be good.

  • Colin Pastuch

    I get a day and half out of my Galaxy S II (international version). I’m constantly listening to music and reading books on it with Aldiko. What murders my battery is wifi and gps but so long as I leave them off my battery is amazing.

  • Cooldog

    First, I’ve been using smartphones since PDA times in 2000 . First strictly a PDA(Samsung & Toshiba), then a PDA phone (XDA-Qtek). Back then I went from 1 week charge to 3 days, sometimes 4 on different Q-teks (2020, 9090, 2020i etc…). That was a when I started buying secondary batteries and having a cradle to keep a second battery at full charge (remember those?). Then as soon as the first 3g phones came out, then I needed to change my habits and make sure I recharged at night! I bought the Nokia 6630, which wasn’t even a touch screen, but It would only last 1 day with the phone getting warm. Then went to a HTC TYTN and the battery went back up to 2 days… Since then, capacitive screens are the norm and so is 3g. I know capacitive screens take more juice because on my first Ipod Touch, I could not watch 2 movies while traveling  Which was a lot less than my TYTN. With my more recent phone, If I leave 3g data on today, getting more than 16h of good usage is practically impossible, even with all apps not accessing data… If I’m at home over weekend just on Wifi I get WAY better battery life. I’ve noticed this on 3 phones in 4 years… Same battery observations . Maybe getting 4h more on WP7, but in the end still getting only 1d and still need to charge… Why argue on Android, Iphone or WP7? None of them last more than 1 day without charging…. 2-4h will not make a difference if you still need to charge at night, or in the Car or in the office… The way cellular phones work is that they need to connect to local towers periodically (every 1-5 minutes or so) to communicate location and other information. On 3G, it just takes up more power from the phone! I’m on Telus in Montreal, and I’m convinced that the distance from the cell towers to my phone and other interferences is the issue. With Bell or Rogers, I think I would get a bit better battery life, but I’m not going to change for that  What I’d like is some way of switching off 3G data and just use GPRS until I need 3G for better surfing or streaming. I mean, most “usefull” apps only need to transfer a few kilobytes of data every 5-10 minutes no? Do I really need to transfer an email header over 3G? Or this hour’s temperature with lightning fast speeds? Guys, we are “stuck” in an impossible scenario… We have on one hand, constructors building more cores of CPU, more GPU, more RAM and bigger capacitive screens because for some reason, we think we need it and on the other hand, we have telco’s who want to sell more data to pay for their infrastructure and are forcing 3G & LTE down our throats with higher prices without guarantying constant speeds … Everyone I talk to these days who own a smartphone (BB, Iphone, Android & WP7), now have a habit of recharging at night. And also want LTE for the 10x a month they are streaming from Youtube a 1080p(???????) video. Why would constructors like HTC, Samsung, Apple and all others change if our habits have changed? My would telco’s build more cell towers if we accepted that speeds are not constant and are willing to pay more for a newer “faster” technology? Just imagine a 2g smartphone with a resistive screen that would promise 1 week of use without charging? It would never sell because my sister cannot swipe from left to right or pinch zoom and because my brother cannot watch his last 1080p video on youtube or because I do not have the latest best phone to show off at work?
    My 2 cents….

  • Rob

    I agree 100%. RIM has these stupid commercials airing these days where some music producer goes on about how it’s easy to type 1000 emails a day on the BB (she says “try doing that on your touchscreeen”). Well F U lady, cause the 9900 doesn’t last a full day with minimal browsing lol

    I’m not sure how she gets to 1000 emails a day but it’s certainly not on a single charge.

  • John

    I should be able to go away for the weekend, use my phone, and plug it in to recharge on Sunday night. Not be scrambling at 11am Saturday morning because I forgot my charger at home.

    My Captivate sucks a$$…with moderate use the battery is dead by 6pm. With my iPhone, when I listened to music on it, it barely affected the battery. With the Captivate listening to music kills the battery life. POS.

  • jon_d0e1

    LOL how is this still an issue??? is mobilesyrup still trolling?

    dont they know ALL android users carry 10+ batteries with them?

  • Chris

    100% agree, I can’t believe that companies have gone backwards with battery life. Anything over 4″ MUST come with at least a 2000mah battery, less than a day is dumb, why should I be tethered to power up in less than a day of moderate use.

  • Paul

    I had a galaxy s2x, and fully charged on the way to work, brightness at 30-40%, wifi, bluetooth, gps OFF – I’d belistening to music and surfing. By the time I got through my 1 hour commute, It’d be down at 82-85%.

    Battery drained by 3-4 PM. Not a heavy user.

  • JustMeAndMe

    yes, battery life these days are pathetic and nobody cares. where are those old golden days when i needed to charge my phone once a week?

  • Donald

    I have an original Galaxy S. It has horrible battery life. If I leave my data on, my phone will be dead before I leave work everyday.So I have to explicitly shut data off everyday.

    I bought a spare battery for it though, which solves most of my problems. I just leave the spare in my wallet

    Until you can reliably get 2 days out of a smartphone, I’d never buy one without the ability to battery swap.

  • Rus Tar

    How about ‘swappable’ batteries? I think it’s a good idea. WHY: You can still get all high specs into a slim phone and be able to swap cells! Like guns you use it until ammo depleted than insert a new magazine. Keep using (no animals harmed)… I mean, in case of phone we cannot completely remove the single battery but you(manufacturer) can totally come up with like a ‘two bay battery slots design’. All accessible from outside of the phone. Press on left/righ battery and it slides down. Android can also give smart control over what cell to deplete first: I.E. slot1 – high use, slot2 – slight (maybe for some boosts). Once slot1 depleted – insert a new slot1. Slot2 – high use, slot1 – slight use. Now, if each slot is 1.6 mAh than you can assume by 4pm slot1 will be completely depleted(depending on your phone). If no back up, you just remain on the last cell. But that’s the point! You will always have the ability to carry a few extra batteries in your suitcase, backpack, car, or at home. Especially home, as you want to get home, quickly eat and go out. No need to get plugged in for a couple of hours. You ask me how do I recharge it? 1) through device, as normal. 2) through an external charger. Now batteries will be waiting for you and not the other way around.