May 03 AT 10:18 AM Nick Gray 35 Comments

A look at HTC’s approach to improving handset battery life


Since the unveiling of the HTC One series, the main complaint we have heard about the phones was HTC’s decision to deliver devices with non-replaceable batteries. There are quite a few reasons why average users may want the ability to swap out a battery, but the main concern most people have centers around battery performance.

In the past, HTC has not had the best track record when it comes to battery life. HTC’s dual-core flagship phones from 2011 were powerful and beautifully designed, but it was nearly impossible to make it more than 10 hours on a single charge. Fortunately, HTC listened to consumers and sent their engineers back to their labs to work on the issue.

Rather than equipping the HTC One phones with massive batteries, HTC’s engineers researched every single layer of their phones to maximize power efficiencies between the chipset, networking, display, OS and application.

For the HTC One series our engineering teams spent thousands of man hours on the Battery Stamina Boost Project — an effort that impacts battery life by improving standby time, extending talk time, increasing audio and video entertainment time and increasing web browsing and social network time. When you combine this engineering effort, along with the 1800-mAh battery in the HTC One X, the real-world performance gains, as highlighted earlier, are significant.John StarkweatherHTC

The result? Compared to the HTC Sensation, the HTC One X features a larger 4.7-inch HD display and an 18% larger battery, but HTC managed to improve talk time by 147 percent, improve MP3 playback time by 105 percent, improve video playback by 39 percent and improve web browsing time by 23 percent. In order to back up its claims, HTC cites recent benchmark tests by AnandTech which proclaimed the AT&T HTC One X as the “longest lasting Android smartphone in our 3G web browsing test.”

We’re sure many of you would love an HTC phone with a 3000 mAh battery, but we applaud HTC for its effort in making their phone more power efficient without making compromises in size and design. In our testing, we found that the 1,800 mAh battery in the HTC One X lasted longer than the 2,100 mAh extended battery of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. It still falls short when compared to the 3,300 mAh monster found in the RAZR MAXX, but heavy users will always have to charge their phone at least once a day until there is a major breakthrough in battery technology.

Do you think HTC took the right approach with the HTC One series? Will any of you not buy an HTC phone that features a built-in battery?

Source: HTC Blog

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. He started (the first HTC blog) back in 2007 and later joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

    Most Tweeted This Week

  • Dave

    Both right and wrong.
    I bought a HOX and love it, but if they’d release two versions – one as we have and the other 1-2mm thicker but with a 2500-3000mAh battery – I’d have definitely gone for the larger model. They say they’ve done their market research and given the market what they wanted – a thin phone, but I’d like to see what would have happened if they’d given the market a real chance to vote with their wallets.

    • WlfHart

      Exactly, at least with removable batteries most phones have an extended battery option by swapping out the back plate. Here we’re stuck with the small battery and no way to swap. Kind of disappointing. But I’ll save the bulk of my lamenting until giving the phone a chance and seeing if it really can keep up with a full day’s use on one charge.

    • Nick Gray

      I think the tipping point was the HTC Rezound. It was thick and ugly. I know a lot of people who passed it over for the Motorola RAZR (not the MAXX) even though they likes the screen on the Rezound a lot more.

  • Paul

    Every new phone that comes out this year should have at lease a 2,100 mAh battery & better power management, with more power come better relationship with the buyer.

  • Paul

    Its fine for HTC to say look it has better power management, but once you downloaded all your power hungry apps onto your new HTC the power will drain quicker than there tests.

  • Kaser

    Built in battery is a no. So far the tests have shown great improvement in standby, but not so much in screen on time….on my GSM galaxy nexus I can easily get 20 something hours and have plenty of battery (30-40%) left if my screen on time is only an hour. And I still carry an extra battery with me in case. Until you can squeeze out 9-10 hours of screen on time from a single battery, I will like to keep my extra battery option.

    • Dave

      Definitely a good point. Having a phone that only just lasts all day with ‘average’ use is all well and good. What we all really need is a phone that’s going to see us through on the odd day when we need to use the phone a lot – these are usually the days when having the phone die is a massive inconvenience

  • Lightning7

    After seeing this, I am not 100% convinced, yet slightly more relieved.

    • jonathan3579

      I have been testing the T-Mobile variant of the HTC One S and so far any fears or concerns of it having a lower capacity battery are completely unfounded. I have averaged 19-26hrs off a single charge with “4G” being the only connection I’ve used. Sure, they could up the battery size but they have done a great job at fine tuning their software to a point.

  • S3

    1st. HTC Sucks Bigtime. Junk.

  • bellken

    I got my HTC Rezound last fall, so, I will be hanging on to it for a while. The ability to swap batteries is great, but, if I don’t need to, all the better. It is great that HTC is making their new phones more energy efficient, I hope they can use some of their knowledge gained designing the One’s, and, pass that back to some of their older devices – ie. make their older device more energy efficient, too.

  • falltime

    No dumb approach. Even if the battery life is great – today; batteries deteriorate with time and use. In 12 months the battery life will be substantially worse than today and users will be stuck with a relatively small battery and no way to reasonably replace.
    And for what benefit??? I mean at least the Razr/Maxx are thin and the iphone beautiful; there is no real payoff here for having a non-removal battery.
    Replaceable battery is a major feature differentiator from iphone; not having that is a mistake. Given the choice I will always chose replaceable battery over fixed.

  • swazedahustla

    I wish people would actually read before making some stupid comments. Go check out Phil’s review of the one x on androidcentral. He used the phone heavily and managed to push 23 hours on a single charge. If you want more than that then I suggest going to get a cry phone. HTC has made a major improvement from where it was. That is the point of technology right? Keep getting better?

    • Dave

      Yeah, even though that review was the AT&T version I get about the same battery life.

      I wouldn’t call only having the screen one for an hour and a half in a 23 hour period ‘heavy’ usage though. That’s just average for most people who are receiving emails and having a furtive browse through Facebook once in a while.

      • Nick Gray

        With the AT&T One X, I’ve been averaging about 14 hours with 2.5 hours of screen-on time.

  • seabass978

    I have the htc amaze 4g and its quite amazing how fast the battery go, but it’s a good thing I can replace the batteries. I like to listen to music at work and on break I come here and other sites to check on phone and games news, with that said the battery last around 5to 6 hours. I can’t leave it plug because I don’t stay at one place.

  • Nick Gray

    I’ve had the AT&T HTC One X since last Friday and can easily say that it’s the longest lasting Android phone I have ever used (I have not used the RAZR MAXX). I’ve been unplugging the phone at 6:30 every morning and have not needed to plug it back in until I got to bed at night (typically around 10pm).

    I’ve been using it as my main device which means I have it synced with 3 Gmail accounts, two twitter accounts, Facebook and G+. Since I am still testing the phone, I’ve been taking 15-20 pictures a day, browsing the web and playing different games for at least an hour.

    It may not be perfect for everyone, but the vast majority of consumers will be satisfied with the battery performance of the HTC One X.

  • oddball

    It’s great to maximizes power management. But to say that users don’t want more powerful batteries is a mistake of Motorola proportions. The biggest complaint I hear from people is their battery doesn’t last long enough. Motorola managed to fit a massive battery into an extremely thin phone so it can be done without hurting the aesthetic function of the phone. HTC needs to step up and fix things before they fall too far behind and can’t recover.

  • Matt

    Who cares if it lasts 60hrs….Not having a removable battery is a step backwards as is not having removable storage option.

    Go ahead and let HTC dictate whether or not storage and battery size is right for you just like Apple does..

    Enjoy your new HTC and hope that the battery never degrades on performace.

    • Mix

      I feel the same way about batteries!
      The wifes iPhone 4 cannot last an entire day on a single charge and it’s not even a year old yet…..

    • McLovin

      I totally agree about the battery and the storage.

      As for the battery, here goes my standard tirade:

      Non-user replaceable batteries are a “sin against mankind”. It’s irresponsible, bad for the planet, terrible engineering and bad for the consumers. It’s another legacy gifted to us from the almighty Steve Jobs. Thanks for the kool-aid Steve! Plenty are gladly drinking it up.

      In Europe there was a move to mandate all batteries needed to be user replaceable to abolish this terrible practice.

      It called the EU Battery Directive.

      …”It states that it must be easy for consumers to remove batteries from electronic products.”…

      • deercreekmichael


    • Gene

      I agree with you Matt and it’s about choices to me. I have an EVO 4G (still under contract) and I use 2 batteries this way I can exchange batteries without having to wait for my phone to charge. You cannot realistically believe that the built in battery in these new phones will maintain their overall quality over a long period of time and heavy usage? I know HTC has tested this and I have looked at the specs but in my experience batteries never last for the lifetime of the phone. That is just me though I have decided to avoid the built in battery until I get a better idea about durability.

  • VS

    The battery discussion seems similiar to wheither it’s better to buy or lease a car. It all depends on how long you plan on owning the device.

    Long term, it’s just more beneficial to have a removable battery to extend the life of the device. I recently gifted my old EVO 4G to my sister who’s still on Sprint’s network and all she had to pay for was a battery replacement (> $30) since the original just wasnt holding a max charge anymore.

    Short term, fixed battery is fine for most users since they will exchange the phone before they start to see battery degradation which is just a part of current technology.

    I plan on keeping my Amaze 4G for a while, so I just invested in 2 spare batteries & charger for $30. I like to have options and know the pain of low battery all to well when you miss that photo or video opportunity because of a dead phone =(.

  • CiDhed

    Maybe if they used AOSP instead of Sense they wouldn’t have to work so hard to get extra battery life.

    • Robert

      Ya, cause that totally worked on the gnex…

  • Nathan D.

    I usually don’t have or never did have a second battery so it doesn’t matter of the battery was removable or not but it would be nice though if my phone freezes up.

  • Doug

    The issue for me is that, as mentioned before, repeated discharging/charging cycles makes a battery pack deteriorate. That will be less of an issue for the 3300 mAh Razr Maxx than it will be for this phone. The phone is contracted for at least 20 months these days, but battery life will be half to two-thirds original capacity by then.

    If a phone has a non-removable battery pack, I want it to be more like the RazrMaxx. If it is going to be only 1800 mAh, I want it to be replaceable.

  • barkleyfan

    I was fully against fixed battery, until Maxx came along. I imagine HTC’s approach would be nice to combine with Motorola’s, but Moto did it right. They proved you can get capacity in a skin form factor. Meaning that they can lean the kernel our later. Batteries degrade over time, but in a year and a half, my device will be obsolete. My contract will be up, and Verizon will not refund my subsidized pricing. Therefore it will make sense to upgrade. There are options to replace this battery if I need to. But I have faith it will get me through my contract.

  • deercreekmichael

    Everyday at 4pm, I would rather have a slightly thicker but working phone than a thinner and lighter dead phone.

  • McLovin

    Yup, battery pulls! My daughter’s iPod, when it siezed up, I had to do a reset to factory. No way to pull the battery and save the nightmare of installing everything all over again.

  • LuckyHermit

    I’ve been using devices with non user replaceable batteries for a few years now. Not once have I ever been in the situation where I wished I could reset it by pulling the battery.

    With your phone you can 1: Pry your back cover off 2: pull battery out. 3: replace battery. 4: put cover back on. 5: Wait wait for phone to reboot.
    Using my Razr Maxx for example I can 1: Hold two buttons for five seconds. 2: wait for phone to reboot.

    I’d personally rather not have to pull my battery out to reset my phone.
    I haven’t ever actually had to do a virtual battery pull, since it works great, but I have tested it and it works.

  • LuckyHermit

    McLovin: do you know that holding the power and home button at the same time until it restarts is the same as a battery pull?