• Battery, battery, battery

    By Shaun McGill , May 14, 2012 - Leave a comment

    The release of the Motorola RAZR MAXX caught my eye for one reason, and one reason only. The 3300mAh battery which can offer 17.6 hours talk time and up to 380 hours standby time. That is impressive for any phone, but for one that still comes in under 9mm deep is shocking.

    I have used the normal RAZR and was surprised at how much battery life Motorola managed to squeeze out of a phone that is impossibly slim so expect this one to knock my socks off. The problem is that for most people, the battery specifications are the last thing they look at and this is why manufacturers are happy to produce phones that require a daily charge. This makes sense because size has been proven to be more important than battery for most users, but when you really think about it, that thinking is the wrong way round.

    For the sake of 3mm and a few grams, the majority are happier to charge their phones every day. For me I would much rather never have to think about my battery life and have a slightly bigger phone because it can be so liberating. My Amazon Kindle is an extreme example, but so are many tablets. Every day I pick it up and just use it- the battery monitor in the top right-hand corner never gets looked at and it may receive a charge every 3 weeks if it is lucky. Battery life and charging are not even considered when using a Kindle and the same is true, to a lesser extent, for my iPad. It may be charged once a week and I know that either device will last a long plane journey for watching movies and many days of standard use.

    Some of the older BlackBerry’s used to offer performance that would only require a charge every 3 days and of course the old Psion devices needed 2 AA batteries once a month if you were a power user. Battery life is an area that we have barely moved forward on. We have from a technical perspective and today’s mobile devices do a lot more than they used to, but the real life of batteries that users see has barely changed and in many cases reduced.

    I say that the time has come for the battery to figure more prominently in the minds of smartphone manufacturers. Either make the jump and use some of the new technologies that are being built to improve battery and charging performance or add a ‘tiny’ amount of bulk to the devices so that they can last 3 days without the need for a charger.

    Shaun McGill

    A freelance writer and mobile technology addict there are not many phones that have not been through Shaun's hands. Honest and straight talking, Shaun provides insightful content and provokes thought and debate and reviews products highlighting their good and bad bits to provided a rounded conclusion, taking in too all the various users.


  • I think HTC did a lot of customer polling when designing the One range and found that generally people appreciated a thinner phone than one with greater battery life. People want an attractive device and it seems, at least in this respect, that function must follow form (for the moment). I think most people have gotten into the habit of charging their phones every night to ensure they start the next day on a full charge – me included – or carrying around spare batteries and chargers.
    Apple has definitely improved battery life generally in their mobile devices and they are pretty strong in this area relative to their competitors. I expect this to continue with the next iPhone. They will have continued their innovation in this area to deal with LTE implementation. The new iPad, however, has a disappointing battery. It takes forever to charge, runs down faster, and I’m not sure the retina display (which is responsible) is worth it.

    • Thanks for your comment Tony.

      I think Motorola has got it right in developing a handset that is thin, but still leaves room in the design for the manufacturer to easily add a bigger battery without much more cost. A wise move on the part of Samsung as well with the SGS3 to make the battery removable so that there is still the option to add an extended battery.

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