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Battery Life - The Final Frontier?

Tue 06 Jul 2010

Battery Life - The Final Frontier?

Our thirst for features is sometimes a little overwhelming. In the last ten years the humble mobile phone has developed from a simple phone with a black and white display (remember them?) to a small personal computer, camera, camcorder and sat nav device, all with superb colour high resolution displays!

While these features are very handy indeed they all come with a major drawback - reduced battery life.

Of all the features added to the recently introduced iPhone 4 the most welcome for many customers was the potential for longer time between charges. Apple clearly recognised this need and have up rated the new iPhone capacity accordingly .But, as tests by the tech website Tech Republic suggest the increased life may only play a significant role when the phone is in standby. When you're making calls or browsing the web (especially on 3G) there isn't much of an improvement over the old models.

So, is there anything we can do as users to get better life out of our humble phone battery? Yes. Firstly you can choose to disable any functions that you are not using. Power hungry circuitry like Bluetooth constantly searches for devices to sync with anytime it's switched on. If you don't have any devices or plan to be away from them for a while (holiday anyone?) then switching Bluetooth off can add hours to your battery life.

Many phones now alert you to switch off "Data Roaming" when you first land in a foreign country. This saves you money as data roaming abroad can by very expensive indeed. But it also saves battery life. The 3G transceiver in your phone is another of those pesky devices which is constantly on and looking for similar devices, thus sapping your precious battery.

Take time to "cycle" your phones battery. Good advice for any better hungry device (including laptops) is to run them on battery until more or less flat as often as possible. Then a full charge will put the battery back in the mood to play for as long as it can.

Here's one last thing to consider. If you use a docking station for your mobile phone or mobile music player then try and fine one that lets you play music without putting the device on constant charge and thus harming the battery. Arcam's irDock for example.