egzthunder1 · Mar 31, 2011 at 09:00 pm

What You Need to Know About Extended Batteries

It has been many years since the release of pda devices with removable batteries. Older PDAs would hold charge for a while for a wide variety of reasons, but the biggest one was that the devices were not equipped with any kind of radio (thinking back to my old HP Jornada 520). As times evolved, so did these devices which started getting more capabilities (wifi, bluetooth, phone, FM, GPS, etc). However, the batteries were always kept the same or at least they did not grow at the same rate as the device’s power requirements did. Take for instance the HTC EVO, which is the device I currently have as my daily driver. When I first bought it, if the battery lasted for longer than 15 hours, it was a miracle. The device basically had to sit idle and be used solely for phone calls (and heaven forbid that your GPS was on). Shortly after, I decided to root it and installed a custom rom and kernel, which made this battery last for a full day with usage. Everything was fine and I was ok with its performance, but lately the battery has been draining a bit faster than before, which makes sense as batteries lose charge capacity over time.

So, that threw me in the market to purchase a new battery. A quick Google search for EVO +battery returned several results regarding stock batteries and others, which claimed to have far more capacity for the same amount or even less money that a regular battery bought from Sprint or even HTC. I was faced with many options to choose from and after reading a bit about customer feedback and doing a bit of research, I learned that not everything you see floating out there is good. I am no stranger to extended batteries, but I figured that a small guide for those who are not familiar with them may help when the time came in order to make an educated decision.

Pros

  • Normally, much better than stock batteries as they tend to last much longer;
  • Equally as expensive and in many cases, cheaper;
  • Tons of possible companies to purchase from;
  • They normally include a back cover to accommodate the added bulk;
  • If you know enough, you could very well make one yourself!

Cons

  • Most of them add extra weight and thickness to your device;
  • They take longer to recharge fully, which may force you to buy a “rapid charger”;
  • Because of the added bulk, if you have a hard case, you will likely not be able to use it;
  • Many devices may have issues charging the battery fully as they are configured to not charge the battery past a certain point;
  • Pre-treatment or conditioning: You will likely have to make the battery go through several charge/discharge cycles before the battery starts behaving as it should.

So, the cons are not too bad. However, there are things that you need to be aware of:

  • What you buy (say 3500 mAh as an example) is likely not the actual capacity of the battery. Trusted brands tend to be about 20% lower. You can easily check this with a multimeter;
  • Beware of the smaller extended batteries. If you see a battery that offers twice the charge and is the same size as yours, beware as this is likely not true;
  • The Internet has a sea of possibilities. Plus, batteries are very cheap to manufacture. Do your research before you dump $60 + on an extended battery, you could save yourself quite a bit of money.
  • Several manufacturers of these batteries are of Chinese origin, which means that unless you are somewhere in Asia, the shipment will take a considerable amount of time;
  • Some manufacturers don’t adhere to strict quality control procedures, so there is the likelihood that your battery may leak/explode if you don’t treat it properly;
  • Read the feedback! Most online resellers will have likely done quite a few transactions (eBay, Amazon, etc) and as such, customers will have something to say if the batteries were good or bad;

Well, I think that about sums it up. Hopefully, some of these pointers will help you in your decision before buying an extended battery. Now, my question to you: if you have purchased some of these before, what was your overall experience? Please leave a comment. Thanks for reading.

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