Making the best of your battery life

March 20, 2013

    android-battery-life 2

    We love our pocket powerhouses (easy, now), but the battery life can be dismal. Aside from buying a Motorola Droid Razr Maxx, which has a battery about the size of the device itself, what options are we left with? The increasing trend of non-removable batteries is troubling, as no new technology for battery life has come to light. Same batteries we’ve always had, but the technology it powers keeps getting more powerful. We’re screwed, right?

    Nope! There are plenty of things we can do to mitigate the drain on our devices. Some of them require little to no work on our part, while others are a stopgap for those inevitable times our batteries just plain run out. Whether it’s a change to your device from the ground up or a simple app from the Play Store, we’ll go over some good ways to make your battery last.

    Be smart

    We love having our phones on and working all day, but do we need that? Think about how and where you use your phone, or more importantly, where you don’t. If you’re in the office all day, does your phone need to be on? Perhaps a Google Talk message will do instead of a text message (you can even text from Google Voice on the desktop, if you like). If you can’t answer those calls anyway, there is no point in having a phone on, ready to receive them.

    Take a minute to consider how you accomplish things, and you may find there are better solutions to tethering yourself to your mobile phone all day. Most of what you want your phone for can probably be accomplished right from a browser like Chrome, with a few extensions or apps. Breaking out of our mold is often the first step towards a better way.

    There’s an app for that

    Sometimes, we just can’t turn our device off. Rather than accept hopelessness, we should search for solutions. Apps are usually the best way to reduce battery drain, and can be used on just about any device. We’ve found one that is simple, works great, and best of all… free!

    Deep Sleep

    The deep sleep battery saver app is probably the most robust of its kind. Essentially, it puts your device into hibernation when the screen is off. All connectivity is halted until you wake up the screen and unlock your phone (the way you always do, no tricky unlock feature here). There is a free version with a few presets, like slumber which puts your device to sleep as described above. Others, like “aggressive”, hibernate the device for a few hours, then turn the signal on for a few minutes to download messages.

    deep-sleep-battery-saver1

    In hibernation, the alarm clock and call functions work, so you’ll never oversleep or miss a call. I’ve been testing this on my Nexus 4, and am pleasantly surprised. Whereas I would normally struggle to get through a day on a single charge, I’ve now been able to get two days battery life routinely, with a max of almost four days.

    There are many other battery saver apps, but DS is easy to use, less fussy than many others, and does a solid job. The basic version has some great customization options, which let you better manage your battery by choosing the times of day (and days) you want the settings active. This is particularly advantageous for those of us who have a pretty set routine to life, and know when we can and can’t check our device. There is a pro version of the app which lets you customize the individual app settings to suit your needs, and better manage your battery.

    Rootin’

    If you’ve got your device rooted, or are interested in doing so, a custom ROM can help with battery life. Many custom ROMs will help with essential battery functions, because they tend to strip away all the unnecessary fussiness of stock ROMs and skins. By choosing a ROM that best suits your needs, and a theme that doesn’t suck juice with things like live wallpaper, you could end up saving a lot of battery life and getting a device makeover! Why do I feel like I just came up with a new idea for a reality show?

    If you’re interested, check out CyanogenMod or Paranoid Android. They’re two of the largest ROM developers, and have some excellent products. They also have a stellar support community, so if you need help, just ask. As always, be safe before you make any changes to your device and make sure you’re not violating any warranty or insurance language in your contracts.

    New Trent Chargers AA

    Battery!

    Sometimes, things just happen. We run out of juice… maybe we forgot to charge the device, or maybe we just used it a bit more than we thought we would. However it happens, not having our device when we need it sucks. If this sounds like something you may run into, or currently do, a backup battery pack may just be your best option.

    On test are two options from New Trent, the Easypak and the iCarrier. The Easypak is a 7,000mAh pack, while the iCarrier is a monster 12,000mAh pack. While all battery packs may seem the same, these two are very different from one another.

    New Trent AA

    Of the two, the Easypak is meant more as a portable solution. It’s a slim design with two ports, one for tablets (2.1A) and one for phones (1A). There are also two pre-existing cables, a USB meant for charging the Easypak (it was possible to use a wall plug from a Galaxy Nexus), and a micro USB meant for charging your device. Charging was fairly quick, and of course slowed down with more than one device charging at the same time. Charging a Nexus 4 & 7 simultaneously was a breeze, and was finished in about 2 hours. It also had enough juice left over to charge the Nexus 4 to about half two days later.

    A bit heftier than it’s cousin, the iCarrier is a daunting 12,000mAh battery pack. Unlike the Easypak, it charges via a DC cable and power source. It has two ports, with no pre-existing cables present. If you will be in need of charging a phone 5-6 times on the go, this is your best choice. It’s big, it’s powerful, and it performs.

    best-battery-widgets-android-phones-tablets-header-120702

    Conclusion

    We tend to want it all with our mobile devices. Our desire for a powerful, fast device that lasts all day and night is often at conflict with reality, but it doesn’t have to be. With the methods we discussed here today, you can make your battery last quite a bit longer, and not run out of power while away from a power source. We often think of our devices as toys, but they’re also lifelines. Not being able to make a call at a critical time is a scary thought, and a factor we should consider when thinking about managing our constant drain.

    Battery life is partly measured in how many times you charge the device, so extending your battery life also prolongs the life of your device a bit. Buying a new device every year or two is fun, but the diminished capacity of your battery shouldn’t be a factor in a new purchase. We like these options, but if you have another you’d like to add, please do so in the comments section below.

     

    Comments

    • Marco Mendoza

      I found a trick that really helps with battery life without getting no apps. I go to settings>more >mobile networks>use 2g networks. With minimal use it goes from 100 percent to 94 in 8 hours

    • http://www.facebook.com/phyllis.gabbert.1 Phyllis Gabbert

      don’t have google play—is there anything as good as this on ‘slide me’ ????

      • Nacos

        If you have an Android phone, you DO have Google Play.

    • Nacos

      No disrespect but some of your advices are a clear indicative that you’re either still stuck to your iPhone or have recently left the “glamorous” Apple world: 1. Powering off a phone should simply be left out – not even at night. The way to be smart in the Android world is by using its advantages and huge potential: use Tasker or any other alternatives to create powerful profiles. They can do marvels without compromises. 2. “There is an app for that” – this one is really wrong. In fact a badly written app can be a power hog and the more you keep installing, the greater the chances to bump into those kind. 3. As much as I like Paranoid Android, it’s definitelly NOT one to replace the stock ROM for if you’re looking for better battery live. Do some research! 4. Battery packs? Why? Lobby for the reintroduction of removable batteries OR buy a Samsung phone, then buy a second battery. By far the most economical, efficient and ergonomic solution. 4. More ways to save power in an Android phone: Don’t use LTE if you don’t download, Freeze/uninstall all unnecessary apps using either Titanium Backup or ROM Toolbox (need root), Use apps like BetterBattery Stats to find rogue apps and uninstall them, Use firewalls to restrict internet access to apps that don’t normally need access – yet they use it, Optimize your envvironment – the least amount of screens & widgets, Watch your backlight – especially in newer, high resolution screens, the auto brightness tends to over do it. If you don’t need it use manual adjustments (again, be Android smart, use Tasker to do it for you), Turn WiFi off when you are away for extended periods of time (use Tasker to do it for you).

      Now this is how to be Android smart, not just iPhone smart.

      • Meringue

        I have a Task Killer, System Monitor, and Anti-virus on my Galaxy Note 2, and I use them every day. Highly recommended for improving battery life and lag.

        • MasterMuffin

          Task killer… If you really must do something, just clear RAM by pressing home button for a second and then going to task manager. And how does an anti-virus remove lag or make battery life better… Or system monitor?…

        • Arsenal™

          as if there are any lags on the Note 2
          I HIGHLY Recommend that STOP USING A TASK KILLER……

      • Twisted247

        #7- WiFi on with a connection will sip less battery juice then your mobile network. Thats a fact Jack

        • Nacos

          I said when you’re away – which means away from your home WiFi, also implying that when you’re away AND use mobile connection you should turn OFF the (unused) WiFi service. Of course WiFi takes less power than mobile connection, but who’s arguing with that?

      • MasterMuffin

        #1 Or just put the phone in airplane mode/use the deepsleep battery saver
        #2 probably a joke ment to make fun of Apple and his point was still good
        #3 true
        #4 why not? All Android devices aren’t Samsung
        The rest are so true and every Android user should know them!

        • Nacos

          #4 – one of the reasons I keep buying Samsung is because they are the only one STILL offering removable batteries and support for micro SD cards. I’ve posted too many times the reasons behind supporting SD card, so I won’t insist (definitely NOT for installing more games) but to me also the advantages behind having the ability to easily remove the battery is huge:
          1. The only away to completely power off your phone.
          2. An OEM battery will ALWAYS hold exactly as much as the original, in fact doubling your time ON.
          3. Cost effective (I always paid around $50 for an original, OEM battery + external charger) – Samsung Galaxy S, S2, S3 and now Note 2
          4. I just introduced the point: an external charger would allow you to use your phone while the spare battery is independently charging.
          5. No bulky appearance, no compromises – the same original phone, twice the battery life.
          6. I don’t keep my phone longer than 18-20 months but if you do Although not really the case but if you feel that your batterry is dead (end of cycle)

          • Yoel Feuermann

            why $50? i got my spare battery + charger on ebay for $8 combined.
            the battery I got on ebay is so much like the original, that I would have to mark it with a sticker next time to tell the difference.

            • Nacos

              …it’s ONLY about WHAT and WHEN, my friend.

    • seyss

      android battery is terrible. devices have bigger battery than iphone’s and still last less

      • Nacos

        Read my post entirely, follow half of those advises…and you’ll be amazed.

        • Greg

          So your advice is… turn your smartphone into a dumb phone with a giant screen and you will save battery.

          • Nacos

            If that’s what you think about those advises, I’m sorry but you don’t need a smart phone.

      • SeraZR™

        LuLz it has waaaay more capabilities than iCrap!

        well what do ya expect anyways>?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=696761688 Justin Rebar

      A full day and a half out of my Nexus 4. Im not a power user, but I stream all my music on the phone.

    • Erock

      Google “not so known battery tips” i posted some tips in a forum with better ideas

    • Jason Gregory

      If your gonna or already have root, its not so much the custom ROM but the custom Kernel. AK latest on my GNex and I get a day and a half easy.

    • DoctorWho

      I have 9000 mah external Battery for my s3. I can use it non stop for 3 days

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