May 06 AT 4:06 PM Anthony Domanico 43 Comments

Droid Charge plagued by same battery issues that haunted the Thunderbolt?

While reviewing the HTC Thunderbolt a month or so ago, I expressed my fears that the battery life issue that plagued the Thunderbolt was not device-specific, but signified a deeper problem with Verizon’s shiny new 4G LTE network.

Though impossible to prove a trend from the performance of a single device, I’ve had my hands on the recently delayed Samsung Droid Charge for about a week now and have experienced a similar level of battery drain on Samsung’s first entrant into the Droid series.

On average, between the two devices I have averaged about 6-7 hours of what I’d call moderate-heavy usage. To be 100% transparent, here’s what I consider to be moderate-heavy usage:

  • Tweetdeck — Refreshed every 5-10 minutes (remember, I’m an addict)
  • Gmail — fairly frequently responding to either personal or Android and Me emails
  • Email — fairly frequently checking and responding to work email
  • Various games — infrequently I’ll play a game for a few minutes while taking a break from work
  • Google Talk — fairly frequently
  • Occasional use of Documents to Go to view/edit files while in/heading to a meeting

Though my usage may not represent the typical Android user, I think it’s close enough to drive the point home. If a mobile smartphone can’t make it through the typical day without needing to be connected to a charger at some point, the manufacturer needs to go back to the drawing board and come up with a device that can handle it.

Now, I’m still holding out hope that the battery life enhancements we’ve seen in the personal computer market will find their way to the mobile smartphone market. Perhaps we’re even closer than we think. It will be interesting to see how battery life holds up when the first of the dual-core LTE devices drops on Verizon in coming months.

For now, we’ll just have to wait.  But I’m curious to hear from you. As I stated above, my usage does not fully represent the average Android user. Do you have a Thunderbolt and think my battery life complaints are unfounded; that you’re getting much better battery life than I’ve led you to believe? Conversely, are you getting even worse battery life than my 6-7 hour average? Sound off in the comments below and let us know!

Anthony loves all things technology, from hardware to apps and games. You can connect with him via Google+ or Twitter by clicking one of the fancy doo-dads above.

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  • http://Website Josh V

    Someone else (BGR? Gizmodo? I forget now) said they had better battery life from the Charge than the Thunderbolt, and were easily able to make it through a full day with moderate usage. Maybe you got a lemon?

  • http://Website Stu Pitt

    That’s why t-mobile’s 4G network is better, the hspa+ network will wirelessly charge your phone when it’s pulling heavy bandwidth.

    • http://Website Josh

      You’re and idiot.

      • http://Website Stu Pitt

        No shizz Sherlock, even dumber of you to acknowledge such a dumb post.

    • tmobilesux

      who the hell told u that dipshit?

  • Galen20K

    the battery life on my MT4G is phenominal! Right this moment my phone has been off the Charger for almost 13 hours and it still has about 60% battery AND I am constantly using my phone for web, Media, Facebook, and Twitter feeds. I think thats mighty impressive, I really really hope that my Sensation and Galaxy S2 also have such great battery. *crosses fingers**

  • http://Website tuan

    Nothing new here faster internet results in faster battery drain.
    My g2 gets maybe 10 hours with my 4g on and yesterday i did an all nighter browsing fast book texting browsing occasionally with wifi on and got about 16 hours with a little juice to spare.

  • http://Website Bob G

    Yup. 4gLTE = battery killer. Especially with the small pointless batteries HTC puts in their phones. Samsung has a bigger battery but still sad to see LTE kill batteries.

    Maybe Motorola was right in trying to correct this problem and delay the Bionic

  • http://Website Derek

    BGR said that they had no trouble getting through an entire day. I do agree with you though, why even put out a cell phone that cannot make it through at least 8 hours of heavy usage.

  • http://Website Android Sensei

    This guy does a great chart of all the phones. A little old but even has the iPhone, Blackberry and other Droid phones to compare. Read this: Switching to Verizon or upgrading, which phone should you choose

  • WickedToby741

    Its likely the same thing thats causing the Bionic to get refreshed. That Tegra 2 processor and power hungry LTE radio don’t exactly make for a long lasting combo.

  • http://Website Mark

    Typical android phones (=junk)!
    I am so happy with my non-draining iPhone 4!!!

    You better get a real phone, morons.

    • http://Website youranidiot

      sure I’ll get an iPathetic, maybe some Justin Beaver CDs to go with it.

      • http://Website Mark

        Typical android phones (=junk)!
        I am so happy with my non-draining iPhone 4!!!

        You better get a real phone, morons…..

    • http://Website Oh yeah!

      iphone 4 post made of win

  • http://Website Andrew

    I’m confused by this post. Droid-Life reported getting 2 days and some hours on their Droid Charge, and Engadget reported a day and half.

    • http://Website sailor

      D-Life is in Portland, OR no LTE 4G yet in that market except for the airport.

      • http://Website DG

        Thought this may be a factor. Tried and returned an LG Revolution to move to Droid Charge based on Engadget’s review of Revolution/Charge/Thunderbolt. Seems the move is now just for superficial reasons (Revolution had Bing as default search *vomit*). At least, I’m not the only one.

        Thanks Stacey for the the “turn off 4G” tip. At my house I have *LOUSY* reception and use Wi-Fi. Need to figure out how to turn off 4G and just use 3G.


  • http://Website Raptor

    No matter which phone it is besides iPhones, specifically if this is those Samsung’s ultralight ultraslims — search for something like 3000+ mAh extended battery. 30 grams heavier, 5mm wider back bump. But major is that with extended battery (for men hand at least) — The Problem Is Solved. You will finally get a FREEDOM to breath

    (* say me thank you. LOL)

  • http://Website Richard Yarrell

    People can say whatever they want and continue to be in DENIAL on verizon. LTE is why batteries are draining more quicker each carrier has their verison of 4g and trust me they are all NOT THE SAME. Everyone on verizon is fixated on this SPEED BUSINESS then when they look around they can’t fiqure out why their battery doesn’t last. There is NO WAY APPLE will ever allow any of their future iphones on that LTE NETWORK THAT’S FOR SURE.. Verizon customers can KEEP THIER SPEEDY NETWORK I am happy extremely where I am. All android devices suffer battery problems we are use to that in general but not at the rate of what exist on verizon.

    • http://Website Snowbdr89

      Dick nobody really cares about your opinion an your pathetic network they call sprint, ill take vzws 3g over that crap wimax anyday!!! now go do your chores so your mommy dont get mad n ground you from the upcoming star trek convention, p.s. Dick your mom says your rents late

  • http://Website Snowbdr89

    Hmm thats odd I get 18 + hours on my tbolt

    • Doubtful

      I highly doubt that! Complete BS! I had a Tbolt of 2 months and went through 3 replacements. Either your not in a 4G area or your trying to convince yourself that you made a good purchase. (not a bad phone, just very poor battery life)

  • http://Website rename it

    Droid Uncharge

  • http://Website Tony

    Just means its time for battery technology to catch up with the rest of mobile tech, since we’re still using old battery technology on new age devices. Of course LTE is going to drain battery, your phone is using two radios simultaneously, in addition to GPS, bluetooth, and the display.

    We need better batteries, theres nothing wrong with our current networks or devices, the technology for the batteries is just behind the times.

    • http://Website NotRelevent

      Either better batteries, or combination LTE/EVDO radios, or both.

  • Tom

    I had a droid incredible. I loved the phone but had to charge it through out the day. I was torn between the Thunder Bolt and the Samsung Charge. I went to the verizon store and played with both. I had heard the horror stories with the battery issues of the Thunder Bolt. I had heard that the Charge was easier on the battery. The Charge only made it about 7 hours without a charge, which is not full day to me if you start at 730am. I used the phone moderately to heavy for example:
    used to visit websites;
    download an app or two;
    check corporate email;
    numerous emails; and
    connected via bluetooth all the time.

    The main reason I picked the Charge is that it had better call quality than the Thunderbolt. The Thunderbolt did not sound bad and in fact had good phone call quality. The Charge was just a little bit better.

    I think the lesson here is that no matter what phone you pick you are going to have to use a charger during the day or buy a spare battery, unless you want to use the phone like a cell phone and not a smart phone. I don’t want to turn off the features that I just paid $300 to get.

    • http://none Ben

      I have a thunderbolt and indeed the battery life is very poor. I got an average of the most 5 to 6 hours battery life with little ot light use before it hits 50%. (email check/reply, 5 to 10 minutes of web and 3 or 4 short phone calls).

      On a busy morning, I would have to chagre the phone after 4 hours because the battery only show 10% power left. Therefore to overcome and safe guard the availability of my phone for the services intended, I always carry an external battery/charger (like the New Trent or other similar) so I can plug the phone in.

      Yes I am quite disappointed with the current battery capacity.

  • http://Website Dennis

    My Samsung Droid Charge began having battery drain issue after installing Textfree app from Pinger. I often discover that my phone’s battery level is down to 10% with less then a day of light use. So I began uninstalling apps (latest to earliest install) until I discovered Textfree as being the culprit. Now I can go a full day with moderate usage. (Note: I have ‘Automatic brightness’ setting enabled for the display)

  • http://Website Stacey

    I just got the Droid Charge two weeks ago and was told the battery life should hold up similar to my old Droid (which was the original version). No such luck! My battery dies by the mid day point and I have to plug the phone in to either my work computer or car charger at some point during the day to recharge. I am totally disappointed in this but somehow glad to know it could be related to the 4G LTE usage. I am in Orange County, CA and have decided to turn my 4G off to see if I can get better battery life on the 3G and only turn on the 4G when I need it. Bummed to have to do that but I am not a huge phone user throughout the day. I typically check e-mail a couple times, play a game or two for 10 minutes maybe, make a few phone calls (usually in the car while the phone is connected to the charger) and then browse Facebook or the internet a few times throughout the day. I feel like I’m a light to moderate user and this battery life is truly disappointing!

    • http://Website DG

      Thanks for the tip. Didn’t know I could turn off 4G and stick with 3G.


  • http://Website Ralph

    Samsung Droid Charge battery life is signicant issue, forcing placement of power cords in home, office, car, etc.. Am now beginning to also experience significant freezing of device under wide variety of uses and functionalities. Had to pull battery from phone to end phone call last night, when icons were totally unresponsive.

    Short battery life is with no where near the degree of activity described by author during any one day.

    • Ali

      I can’t get more then 5 hours out of the battery and am not a heavy user. I have chargers everywhere. I’m really dissapointed in this aspect of the phone. I also have freezes almost daily where I need to pull the battery.

  • Steve Holzinger

    It’s the Apps … was having big battery life issues and am a light user of my Droid Charge. Overnight with Data Pack turned off I’d burn through 25% of my battery life. I turned off every app I didn’t need running now under same circumstances I use 3 – 4% of battery life overnight. And, I do only turn on 4g when I’m surfing.

  • Steve Stimson

    The battery life is pathetic. Absolutely HORRIBLE. My droid charge has been mostly off the charger since 9am this morning (6 1/2 hours ago). At that time it showed a 100% charge. I put it on for about 20 minutes an hour ago. About 15 minutes ago, I put it on again because it was down to 19% charged. I received 3 phone calls on it today, none were more than 5 minutes. I was on facebook for about 5 minutes (looked at 3 posts) and deleted about a dozen emails. I didn’t even read the emails, just deleted them based on the subject.

    It spends all night on the charger, connected to the charger driving 45 minutes each way to work PLUS I have to take it off and plug it in at work for at least an hour or 2 every day. If I set it down with a 100% charge and don’t touch it, it will be dead in less than 8 hours.

  • jon

    Juice defender has my EVO 3D going about 2 days on a single charge with moderate use on 4G. Without it, I get about 6-8 hours.

  • Recondition!

    I hate to say it, but charging your battery multiple times a day when it hasn’t fully drained is a no-no. If you go to XDA and search for “battery conditioning ” you will find a how-to on improving battery life. It’s a simple process of fully charging, turning off, charging till full again. You repeat this process a few times and it allows for better communication between your device and battery. I have a Charge and saw a vast improvement after doing this. Try it!

  • Zach

    This worked for me, hope it helps.

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  • Carl

    Got my CHARGE in June and had no problems until December when my battery indicated “empty” when I turned it on in the morning after having charged it up completely the evening before and turning the phone off. Verizon replaced the battery under warranty and the problem went away for a few weeks and then began again. They then replaced the phone and within a few days the same symptoms appeared … phone fully charged and turned off and then about 8 or so hours later turned on and have indication of low battery. Am now working with Verizon to figure out what the heck is happening!

    • Kim

      I’m having the same problem, however purchased my CHARGE in Feburary and now in March, approx 1 month later am having a similar type of problem. However in the morning my phone won’t turn on at all. Even with the phone off my battery drains completely overnight. I will shut my phone off with 1/2-3/4 of a battery left and in the morning go to turn the phone on and it is completely drained. I don’t know what’s happening. I always run my battery down before recharging so it’s not that and I also don’t keep the phone on while it’s charging. I’ll be making a trip to Verizon to get this sorted out. Very frustrating.

  • Vicky

    I have a Charge and it only stays charged for 4-5 hours, in STANDBY mode! I can unplug it from my charger and have it sit in my purse for the morning have a dead battery at noon. This phone has become a landline. I went to Verizon yesterday and complained again (they’ve replaced the phone twice, so this is my 3rd Samsung Charge). This time they said my battery cell had broken (how can they tell that by looking at it?) I had 2 batteries both purchased the day I bought the phone in July 2011. Both were dated May 2011 so they argued that they were out of warranty. Long story short, I got one battery out of them and the *new* battery performed no differently today than my ‘old broken’ one. The manager said that it is Verizon’s 4GLTE that is draining the batteries. Only the phones that have come out in the last 15 days address this. So…now I wait until March when I have my upgrade to get a better phone. Should have stayed with my Blackberry!