Sunday Debate: Is Current Battery Life Enough?
Join us in a fun Sunday Debate on Battery Life. Come with your opinions and feel free to read some of our thoughts, then pick your side or play devil’s advocate to get your voice heard and engage in friendly discussion. You can read our food-for-thought or jump straight into the fray below!
Android battery sizes have been slowly and steadily increasing — whereas 3,000mAh used to be a very respectable size and what we all expected out of phablets, we now want this to be the standard — or even minimum. Upcoming phablets, for example, now face immediate scrutiny when we learn they don’t break past 3,000mAh by a significant margin. This makes sense – battery technology has not significantly improved, where as hardware gets more demanding, and there is only so much optimization (including software solutions) can do.
Now that we are at the age of 1440p screens, the debate over battery life is as intense as ever. This is also something of buzz given that many 2015 devices have disappointed critics and consumers alike in this regard. In fact, many of the newer flagships feature worse stamina than their predecessors. While we could argue that 2014 didn’t see dramatic increases in battery life either (excluding devices from stamina-focused OEMs like Sony), it is clear that Lollipop, certain processors and higher resolution screens brought back a new small wave of battery anxiety in educated consumers. And every year we get promises in the form of research papers and huge announcements, but we have yet to see substantial jumps forward.
But despite our consistent disappointments when seeing new potential purchases leave bad impressions regarding battery life, many of us are still keen on upgrading and considering phones anyway. While the industry is seemingly moving away from removable batteries, improvements in charging methods and speeds try to even things out. Keeping in mind that this isn’t about whether we want more (which we all do) but if it lasts enough, we want to ask: are current battery life times sufficient for your use-case? What would a reasonable and ideal standard/improvement be (SOT/standby)? Why would you argue that we need longer time between charges? Is battery life a priority to you? What do you think of the industry’s current attempts at mitigating battery life issues? Do you often face battery anxiety?
It is generally enough
While it is not rare for people to use their smartphones for 3 to 4 hours a day nowadays, this happens to be a number at which flagships typically aim at. Moreover, it could be argued that most users aren’t frequently away from chargers for too long, meaning one can easily start a day with a full charge. New solutions such as wireless charging pads allow for passive smartphone charging without hassles for those that can put one in an office desk or nightstand. Quick chargers can quickly load up one’s battery for those in a hurry, and battery banks can make any phone charge up no matter one’s location. If you are one of the lucky owners of phones with removable batteries, then getting a full replenishment is easy and effortless and can severely mitigate battery anxiety.
While battery life varies with different usage patterns, one can intelligently use the aforementioned features plus extra software ones to make sure they get to the end of the day on their use-case. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t want better battery life — far from it. But there are extra ways to make getting to the end of the day “enough”. While cumbersome, the option is there, and only a small minority need to exploit all of these to get to the end of the day. We also know that a majority of users including those of XDA charge their phones overnight, meaning that in most cases, if the phone lasts a full day, that is usually what’s enough.
It is generally not enough
Keeping in mind that since this issue revolves around one’s use-case, answers will vary. Many people can get through the day just fine, but at some point we are all bound to find ourselves in a sticky situation. Losing one’s ability to use a smartphone is becoming more of an issue for those that increasingly depend on these devices for not just communication, but also work and payments. With Android Pay and Samsung Pay hitting the mainstream soon, many people will switch to these electronic wallet systems and, in turn, rely on their phones for even more tasks. As extreme as it might sound, a smartphone can be vital in dangerous situations as well for various reasons. Leaving out technical complications, the very fact that you are conscious about your limitations might prevent you from utilizing or otherwise enjoying your phone. Certain use-cases can be extremely detrimental to battery life as well.
For most people, it is rare or infrequent to go a full day without access to a charger. But the fact that we have many upgrades to receive, and that smartphones are increasingly becoming the central hub of connected devices – from watches to home appliances – means that we are becoming more and more dependent on smartphones that require more and more juice for the extra tasks. Because of all the added functionality and “responsibilities” phones get each year as new services allow for new utilities, it is logical to desire better battery life instead of settling for the current standard. And with users using so many different services now, sometimes the current standard isn’t enough. With battery improvements, if and when you need it, you’ll have it.
On one hand, many typically charge their phone overnight, ensuring that a day’s worth of battery life is enough — and when it isn’t many tools can help extend the longevity.On the other hand, we increasingly rely on our phones for various (and new) tasks on top of typical activity, and many hardware upgrades and software applications can benefit from better battery life (if only to mitigate their additional drain). There is some subjectivity at play, which is why we want to hear fleshed out opinions on the topic. Remember, this is mostly about whether it’s enough… we could all use more! So we ask:
- Is current battery life “enough” for you? Why/why not?
- Are you frequently inconvenienced by today’s typical smartphone longevity?
- What SOT and standby is/would be enough for you?
- What do you think of current and upcoming battery improvements/solutions?