If you’re shopping for a new phone and want to upgrade your current model, there’ll probably be loads of things you’ll factor into the decision. Does the handset have an impressive camera? Is the display and screen size to your liking? Is the tariff affordable?
However, one of the most important aspects many customers are looking at nowadays, is the battery life. How long will the mobile phone last when being used throughout the day? After all, our working day seems to be getting longer and longer. Plus, if you’re commuting to work by train, there’s the chance you’ll use your smartphone as an entertainment hub – to play games, listen to music, browse social media and even watch films.
The last thing you need is the battery running flat when you need your phone the most – so it pays to know which handsets are going to see you over the line. Of course, this problem can be alleviated by carrying around a charger – but the chances are you won’t get the luxury of topping up the juice when travelling.
As such, when looking at potential phones to invest in, battery life should figure in your thoughts. You’ll particularly need to consider the capacity of the battery, which is stated in mAh (milliampere hour). The higher this rating, the better the battery life will be.
Despite this though, you should also be aware of how much battery is being drained at any one time. There are plenty of great ways to reduce battery usage and help the smartphone stay powered up for longer.
Switch off the vibrations
Of course, you can’t always have your phone on loud – if you’re at work or in the cinema, for example. However, when possible it’s best to switch your phone off the vibration setting and instead, have the ringtone ready to notify you of incoming calls, texts and emails.
Why? Because your smartphone will use more battery by powering vibrations than it will ringtones. The science behind this is pretty obvious too when you think about it carefully – a ringtone is only using the speakers, whereas vibrations are shaking the whole phone. Therefore, turn off vibrations and see how much the battery life improves.
Turn down the screen brightness
The brightness on your phone has a surprisingly major effect on the battery life of your handset. Of course, it may be obvious that dimming your screen will have an impact, but the power consumption is somewhat staggering.
Just think how often you check your phone or it lights up to alert you of a message or email. Every time this happens your phone’s battery life will take a hit. The solution – change the settings and dim your screen brightness.
It’s not just your phone’s battery that’ll be affected either – Your eyes also won’t be taking the same level of strain as with a brighter light.
Reduce your phone’s timeout
How often will you leave your phone inactive, but it’ll be lit up for a few minutes afterwards? This is likely to happen quite a bit and to resolve the problem you’ll need to shorten the screen timeout period.
If you have the habit of not locking your phone straight away, reducing the timeout will certainly be handy. You’ll minimise the power wasted and ensure your phone lasts longer every single day.
Switch the smartphone off
If you’re at work and won’t be using your phone for a few hours at a time, why leave it on at all? Instead, switch the phone off and conserve your battery life for long periods. This is a better option to leaving your phone ‘asleep’.
You could even consider this approach at night, rather than leaving the phone plugged in. This practice of letting the phone charge constantly overnight will severely damage battery life and eat up its capacity. Plus, you won’t have to worry about missing your alarm, as it’ll still work when the phone’s switched off.
Consider appropriate charging
We discussed this briefly in the previous point, but charging your battery properly is vital to prolonging its life expectancy. There are two types of battery used for smartphones – Lithium-ion (Li-Ion), and Nickel-based batteries: namely Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) and Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd).
The NiCd batteries will lose a little of their battery life each time they’re charged. You may think this isn’t particularly efficient, but unfortunately it’s the case. Overall, they can be recharged more often than nickel batteries though. For the nickel-based smartphone battery, you should only charge when the battery is more or less running empty. If you’re charging your phone when it’s still on at least 50% you’ll be damaging its life.
Close down your apps
Every time you use an app, how often will you close it down fully? Just coming off and switching to another app won’t work either – you need to manually close it down, or it’ll still be running in the background. As such, your battery life is eaten into and this reduces the time you have left.
There are some great apps you can use to ensure all programs are shutdown, especially on Android. For iPhones you can check what’s still running by double tapping the home button and swiping the open apps upwards.
Stop GPS killing your battery
Not only does your phone’s GPS have a massive effect on 3G usage, but it also eats up your battery life.
If your phone is tracking your location, you’re using GPS. GPS sends out signals to satellites to pinpoint where in the world you’re located and as you’d likely expect, this is a killer on battery.
Many apps use GPS tracking too – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Maps and more.
Which is the best battery life for smartphones?
There is a huge gulf between the best and worst performing smartphones when it comes to battery life, but it would appear Samsung come out best – taking three of the top five positions. This is capped off by their Galaxy S7 – which is estimated to last over 17 hours when actively used. The best iOS handset was the iPhone 6S – 14 hours and 58 mins. If you were curious, the Lumia 950 XL was the better performing Windows phone.
Samsung Galaxy S7
The S7 offers only a slight upgrade on the impressive S6, but it ensures of the same high quality – making it perfect for 2016. As you would expect, there are some extra features included with the Samsung Galaxy S7 and all these combined ensure the S7 is likely to be one of the best-selling handsets of the year.
Samsung has come on leaps and bounds in the mobile world – seriously closing the gap on Apple. The S7 does the job of looking better than the iPhone 6S, with a superior camera and great usability. Plus, with the best battery life on the market, why choose another handset?
Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo
The Neo isn’t as well-known as Samsung’s other mobile productions, but there’s no reason why this should be the case. It’s a vastly improved handset compared to the previous incarnations and has brought in a range of superb features too, adding an extra sparkle.
The Samsung Neo also offers a sturdy chassis and excellent display – whilst as you’ll see from the table below, battery life is near the top of the pile. The Neo’s waterproof too, which is a fine spec to have in 2016. Meanwhile, the battery can be replaced and the storage space expanded.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Third place in the best battery life for smartphones list, is another Samsung model – This time the popular Galaxy S6 Edge. The Edge was one of the best performing handsets in 2015 and even though there has been an upgrade for the S7, if you’re looking for something a little cheaper, the S6 Edge is perfect.
Benefits of the Galaxy S6 Edge include excellent performance, top quality design and one of the best cameras on the market. Then of course you have the addition of a long lasting battery.
Motorola Moto X Force
The Motorola X Force… Never heard of it? That’s hardly surprising, given the mobile world is now dominated by Apple, Samsung, Nokia, LG and others. Motorola once had a good thing going, but they’ve been overtaken in recent years.
However, if you’re after something a bit different, how about the X Force? One of its major benefits is the almost unbreakable screen, which won’t smash or crack on impact. This wear and tear should be very appealing to customers prone to accidents. Then there’s the solid battery life, coming in at fourth as recent research highlights.
iPhone 6s Plus
Apple is the major player in the mobile industry and their launch events are something else, with millions tuning in from around the world to find out what’s to be unveiled by the tech giants.
The iPhone has changed somewhat over the years and this edition is its best model yet. Aesthetic appeal, excellent display and usability, fantastic camera and as this research shows, a good battery life too.
See the following table for a list of the best performing smartphone batteries. As you’ll see, the top performing iPhone appears 5th, whilst the best Windows smartphone is way down in 14th.
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