As we dive deeper into our Building the perfect Nexus phone series today, we’ll be taking a look at batteries. When comparing specs between phones, batteries are typically the last item to make the list, but that’s simply because there’s nothing sexy about electrochemical cells that convert chemical energy into usable electrical energy. But when it comes to order of importance, batteries should be at the top of the list for those who really care about smartphone specs.
As smartphone screens increased in size over the past few years, so have batteries. Unfortunately, higher capacity batteries haven’t really extended the life of our smartphone, because those larger displays consumer more power and new processors still have a long way to go to improve efficiency. There are a few handsets like the Droid MAXX, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the LG G2 with massive batteries that can last up to two full days, but these devices are still uncommon.
Increased capacity isn’t the only pain point when it comes to batteries. Over the past few years, the industry has started moving toward integrated batteries that can’t be swapped out. Built-in batteries allow manufacturers to rearrange the internal structure of their devices, reducing thickness and weight. While this change may appeal to those who want extremely slim phones, it can reduce the lifespan of a smartphone, because most rechargeable batteries lose a quarter to half of their charge capacity within two years. Consumers who own devices with removable batteries have the option to buy a replacement and make the swap themselves while those who own devices with built-in batteries either have to send the phone into the manufacturer for an expensive battery replacement or live with a phone that charges less and less with each passing month.
Swappable batteries also give power users the ability to carry a secondary battery, which can be swapped out on the go. There is certainly a benefit here, but I’m personally a fan of external battery packs that can be used to charge multiple devices on a single charge.
As with Wednesday’s post, we have two questions we’d like you to weigh in on today:
What’s your take on the current battery trends being adopted by the different manufacturers?