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What feature would you trade for longer battery life?




It’s incredible how cellular phones have evolved into something beyond just a communication device. However, as smartphones become more powerful, it tends to suck more juice out of your battery pack. This now begs the question: if given the chance, what smartphone feature are you willing to give up for an extra half a day’s worth of mileage?

battery life

To help you decide, we’ve enlisted a few smartphone features that we think, if adjusted, could possibly lead to a device with longer battery life. So let’s start off with design.

Design

Now I know some of you are already thinking; why won’t manufacturers just slap a big-ass battery pack inside their smartphone and be done with it? I mean, can’t all the smartphone be like the CloudFone Thrill 430X which boasts a 4100mAh battery?

thrill 430x

Well, we feel that it has something to do with the design and the aforementioned smartphone is a testament to that. Fitting a huge battery inside a rather small device like a smartphone, oftentimes result to a bulkier handset, as is the case for the 430X which has a thickness of 14.2mm.
Having said this, would you sacrifice a few millimeters of thickness for better mileage?

Display

As most of you may’ve noticed already, most flagship handsets that were released in recent times sports a 1080p displayed. Now, apart from being an overkill (as discussed on this post) in terms of pixel density, another thing to note about Full-HD screens on a smartphone is that it actually requires more power to drive.

Don’t believe my claim? Let’s take iPad 2 and iPad 3 as an example. Now, I don’t know if you can still remember it, but the two major differences between the two tablet is increase in screen resolution on the latter model, as well as the 70% difference in battery rating (iPad 2 – 6,944mAh vs iPad 3 11,560mAh) which resulted to a slight increase in thickness and heft (0.36 millimeters and 39 grams respectively).

ipad3

Now, based on countless reviews and comparison between the two generations, you probably noticed that the iPad 3 didn’t fare any better than its predecessor in terms of mileage. This leads us to a conclusion that Apple only outfitted the iPad 3 with a bigger battery for the sole purpose of counteracting the effect of the increase in resolution.

So, would you settle for a smartphone with a display that has a lower pixel count in exchange for longer battery life?

Processor

Now this one’s a little tricky to judge. Moreover, there’s also the question of whether multicore processors consume more power than single core chipsets. And depending on who are you talking to about this matter, you’re gonna get a different response.

Let’s start with the skeptics’ take on multicore processors. According to them, processor cores are similar to cylinders in a car engine; the more cylinders it has, the more powerful it gets. However, in exchange for the performance boost, the engine consumes more gas.

exynos

Chip manufacturers, on the other hand, have a different take on this. They too used the car engine analogy, but explained that unlike car engines, multicore processors have the ability to switch off other cores if it deems it unnecessary then switch it back on if the user requires more torque.

In addition to this, chip makers have taken the necessary steps to ensure that their processors/SOCs power consumption is always in check. In fact, NVidia has added a 5th “battery-saving” core on the Tegra 3 that ensures that the chip only consumes energy based on the current need.

tegra

Both parties present a convincing argument on the difference in power consumption between single core and multicore setups. Thus, it’s really hard to tell which side is right. So instead of identifying which setup will provide more mileage, the question we should be asking is if we can live with a slightly slower chipset that consumes less power.

Data Connection

We all know that leaving data connection on, will drastically decrease the amount of up time of our device, not to mention if your connection is LTE. However, by turning it off we’ll be missing out on real-time feeds/updates on our email and social media.

You can make a few adjustments to your device such as controlling the frequency of synchronization, when to turn on mobile data and such, but the power consumption is still relatively higher compared to when you just turn off the mobile data.

iphone5

In actuality, most people do turn off their phone’s data connection to extend its battery life. However, the question is how much time are you willing to spend offline for the sake of stretching you device’s juice?

Summary

Mobile phones have indeed gotten more capable over the years, but it seems that with every addition of new features to it, the amount of time we spend being hooked in to a wall outlet, charging our devices, has also increased.

This is exactly the reason why we got curious as to what smartphone features consumers are willing to give up in exchange for longer period of mobility. We hope you can share your thoughts about this.



This article was written by Ronnie Bulaong, a special features contributor and correspondent for YugaTech. Follow him on Twitter @turonbulaong.

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36 Responses

  1. Ron says:

    I am willing to give up tight pixel screen density. 1080 is overkill. qHD is enough. HD is right in the middle.

    • tech_noodles says:

      I couldn’t agree more, for me qHD is enough and honestly i have three things i consider buying gadgets 1.Battery 2.Brand 3.Design/Specs in order yan ah hehe, but thats fo my personal preference. Why battery first coz i don’t wanna charge my battery every single day.

  2. Kris says:

    For Android devices, you can use battery saver apps like JuiceDefender, GreenPower, or Battery Defender. However one must note that these only work for the savings related to turning off data connection. Its sort of a compromise. These apps turn off data connection when the screen is turned off, so the more your phone is idle, the greater the savings. Also it has a timed mode where they open the data connection for a minute or two every 15min, so some messages and emails still get through, though not at real time. I get up to 6hrs more per day with Green Power.

  3. Yusuf says:

    The thickness of the phone. 10 mm, bigger battery > 8 mm, smaller battery

  4. emignatius says:

    I would definitely sacrifice the form factor for a better battery life. I think this is the only option above that would definitely not have any effect in terms of performance. In fact, I think a slightly thicker device may even help ergonomically. If companies however don’t want to sacrifice their design, they can always include an extra battery for those that has a removable battery (i.e. Samsung) or external battery packs for those with non-removable designs (i.e. iPhone).

  5. vxalexei says:

    I already gaveup my samsung galaxy s3 for a lenovo p770 with 3500mah batt. I hardly get 1day batt life with the sgs3 with data consantly on but with the lenovo, i get 2days without charging! It can even charge other gadgets through the usbOTG. The only downside is that it is not that as good looking as the sgs3. Function wise, almost the same as the sgs3. Best bang for the buck!

  6. Rocketlog says:

    I’d drop LTE and FHD (1080P) display features first. These features munch on your battery so hard it’s not even worth the specs bragging rights that come with it. FHD is not really noticeably better than HD (720p) displays. And LTE signals are still quite limited in range. Also, it makes you want to setup a wifi hotspot to be able to maximize the LTE speeds when they’re available.

    The maximum thickness I’d settle for will depend on the height and width of the device. A bigger device (think 5-inch and up) would need to be thin to be comfortable, while smaller devices can add on a few millimeters and still feel good in the hand. So design is really something of a case to case thing.

  7. peter purple says:

    i am willing to give up the camera pixel. 5 megapixel is good enough.

  8. Bleh says:

    Definitely form factor. The 1080p and LTE is kinda like a gun. You don’t really need it but it’s good that it is there.

  9. someone says:

    I’d be ok with a smartphone that’s less than 20mm thick. I dont get it why manufacturers try to trim the thickness of their phones and sacrificing the battery life. Our jeans wouldn’t mind even if we had an inch thick of bulge on our pocket.

    If my phone’s uptime is really a concerned, I would like to have a phone that has an internal battery so that I can hot swap a fresh battery without needing to turn off my phone. The internal battery can be as short as 5 minutes. Just enough time to replace it. Actually, my old Motorola Defy can do this, but it needs to be plugged in before i can hot swap the battery. Saves me a few minutes to not wait for the device to shut off and power back on. This is useful for those who are really dependent on their phone’s mobile connection without a power source nearby.

  10. Sample says:

    I would give bluetooth for a bigger battery since i hardly use it.

  11. Jun Isip says:

    Sacrifice the design, but why no just improve the charging time say 30mins full charge or even 15 mins, then batttery capacity will not be that much of an issue.

    • Karl says:

      Less charging time would mean a higher charging current, which shortens the life of the battery. They usually design batteries to receive very low currents so that they will last longer and so that the user wouldn’t have to buy a new one every now and then.

    • @JunIsip that makes a lot of sense. However, as @Karl pointed out, it may present some concerns with the battery’s longevity. If only manufacturers can come up with a workaround for such drawback, then I think that your suggestion might be plausible.

    • manuel says:

      may napanood ako sa net na indian student na nanalo sa intel competition dahil dun sa fast charging niya. check mo mukang ok eh

  12. Butch Tamayo says:

    Display. I wonder why mobile phones are so big these days.

  13. metre9dmt says:

    The reason I’m excited about Nokia Asha 501 is its long battery life. Just look at its features and you will know it made the right compromises.

  14. opinionlng says:

    For me i will not sacrifice those features except the thinness of a smartphone because for example a 2mm to 3 mm that will be added to an iPhone will be noticeable but that will not turn off customers from buying the phone

  15. Anon says:

    What battery problem? I have the 430x ^_^

  16. ChrisP says:

    I’ll trade the display. 1080P display for me is overkill for a 5″-5.5″ screens. Pwede na sa akin yung mga 233 PPI.

    At saka yung thickness, kahit 15mm pa yan basta aabot yung charge ng 1-2 days ng moderate to heavy usage. :)

  17. Iyan Sommerset says:

    Display, definitely. On a 4-5″ phone, 720p is the absolute highest I’d care for. Also no need for those newfangled AMOLEDSs and similar tech – gimme an ultra-energy-efficient screen with a bright-enough LED backlight system.

    I’d also be cool with a more energy-efficient GPU. The way I see it, phones aren’t really for graphically-intensive gaming anyway.

    Similar feel with the CPU. Just fast enough to do shit comfortably, thank you very much.

    I could also live without data – WiFi should be sufficient. Also ditch NFC, BT, LTE – I’ll be fine with a simple uUSB connection.

    Form-factor wise, thicker would be nicer. I used to be fine with Nokia phones that were more than half-and-inch thick. Imagine the mAh capacity of a battery with similar thickness.

    Oh, and no need for dual mics or speakers. It’s a freaking phone – put a fuckton of 4.0 speakers all over and it’s still a little device in front of you.

    Finally, software-side. Energy-efficient OS optimization. As in, as little TSRs as possible. I don’t need hidden background apps poking the CPU every few seconds to “check for updates” or pre-syncing or whatever.

  18. soc says:

    I already sacrificed some degree of portability when I bought the Note II. Battery life lasts for 2-3 days, the screen is huge and bright, and performance is great…it just won’t fit in girl’s pockets, nor allow a lady with small hands to text one-handed.

    All worth the extra battery life.

  19. eellarac says:

    i am willing to give up the TouchWiz UI

  20. romspl says:

    I’m wondering… what if phone manufacturer and telcos build a technology that the telcos should supply power wirelessly to the devices since some company uses this technology… e.g. nokia lumia had a feauture of wireless charging. If this will be the case…there will be no more lowbat issues will be heard.

  21. steelicon says:

    How much is your ceiling price for a NO NAME just entered the market NEW PLAYER but had EVERYTHING INCLUDING the proverbial kitchen sink? Yung tipong nanjan na lahat na gusto mo and more? How much would you consider spending for a CHINA PHONE pero anjan na lahat ng gusto mo?

    AND

    What are your features and specifications wishlist?

    I’d trade off LTE for longer battery life. :)

  22. Rich says:

    I would just go with qHD for longer battery life. Also, I would welcome a different battery chemistry or newer battery technology. like one that would be able to provide more juice for longer use while still being able to fit in a small form-factor.

    Read about it here: http://readwrite.com/2013/04/18/super-powerful-long-lasting-smartphone-battery

  23. virg says:

    I read a blog entry that scientists found a way to increase the life of lithium-ion batteries.

    http://blog.gsmarena.com/a-latest-innovation-from-south-korean-scientists-can-boost-the-efficiency-of-lithium-ion-battery/

  24. von says:

    Some people here are sacrificing things that doesn’t really consume the battery juice unless turned on.

  25. paolo says:

    I don’t need a wafer-thin phone if it is going to have, say, a small battery (I’m looking at you, Alcatel!) (Ergo, I’d have a thick phone with a big battery.)

    Says the owner of a Galaxy Note 2.

  26. roiji says:

    thickness. but not design.
    it’s ok to be thick as long as it’s still has good design.

    i’d stop at a 720p screen too at 4.3 to 4.7 only.

    also, a powerful processor would be good but with exceptional standby time.

  27. Arnel says:

    Display.

    Although processor is another factor, I believe that multi-core processors can save battery compared to single core processors.

  28. manuel says:

    Ako din display ok lang sakin kahit hindi retina. mas ok parin yung nakabukas lagi data connection lalo na kung may mga importante kang email na inaabangan. yung processor naman automatic nagaddjust pang power saving kaya walang problema dun.

  29. Blitzkrieg says:

    you forgot the camera especially with xenon flash

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