There’s a reason Android phones are called smartphones: They are phones with smarts. Such intelligence comes at a price, however. These phones need more processing muscle, and, just like the human body, the more muscle you have, the more energy you’ll need.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 GT-I9300, for instance, needs a lot of power for its quad-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A9 CPU, its Mali-400MP GPU, and its bright and vibrant HD Super AMOLED touchscreen. For most people and provided it is used intelligently, the Galaxy S3’s 2,100-mAh Li-ion battery suffices for several hours of casual to moderate use in a day.
For heavy and hard-core users, however, that won’t be enough. But, then again, there are third-party Li-ion extended batteries that provide longer life. One maker of such extended Li-ion batteries is Mugen Power, which promises more power for the Galaxy S3 with Mugen Power 4,600 mAh extended battery HLI-I9300XL.
The HLI-I9300XL works for variants of the Samsung Galaxy S3, including the following models:
- Samsung Galaxy S3 GT-I9300
- Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE GT-I9305
- Samsung Galaxy S3 SGH-I747 (AT&T)
- Samsung Galaxy S3 SCH-I535 (Verizon)
- Samsung Galaxy S3 SPH-L710 (Sprint)
- Samsung Galaxy S3 SGH-T999 (T-Mobile)
- Samsung Galaxy S3 SCH-R530 (U.S. Cellular)
- Samsung Galaxy S3 SHW-M440S
Longer Battery Life
Capacity-wise the HLI-I9300XL has 2.19 times as much power (4,600 mAh) as the Galaxy S3’s standard battery, which comes with only 2,100 mAh. This simply means that if the default battery can provide up to 11.7 hours of talk time on 3G, the Mugen Power HLI-I9300XL can power the phone for up to about 25.6 hours of talk time on 3G. On that basis alone, you can argue that this extended battery is worth having, especially if you don’t want to recharge your phone at the end of each day.
We subjected both batteries to our informal battery test consisting of two hours of heavy use. Most battery-consuming services and features were turned on: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, and autosync. Screen brightness and screen timeout were also set to maximum. During the first hour, a 720p HD video was played back non-stop. The next hour was spent browsing graphics-intensive websites.
After a couple of hours of heavy use, the original 2,100-mAh battery had only 61% of power left, but Mugen Power’s HLI-I9300XL still had 82% of charge left. Our informal battery test demonstrates that Mugen Power’s extended battery for the Galaxy S3 lasts longer under very heavy use.
I tried observing the HLI-I9300XL’s performance under casual to moderate use, too. I was left with 15% of power after about 36 hours of moderate Web browsing, several minutes of phone calls, SMS messages, light watching of YouTube videos and local video files, occasional photo snapping and a few minutes of 1080p video capture, some light gaming, reading and writing emails, chatting on Google Talk, and other day-to-day smartphone tasks.
Some Reasonable Tradeoffs
Surely, everyone will appreciate the extra hours of power. But, there’s a catch and there’s a tradeoff — you’ll need to decide which is more precious to you: sleekness or longer battery life. Battery size increases with capacity.
In the case of the Mugen Power HLI-I9300XL, it’s actually 10 mm (0.4 in) thick — that’s about twice as thick as the original 5.0-mm (0.2-in) battery on the Galaxy S3.
Weight may also be an issue, too. The default battery weighs only about 45 grams (1.6 oz), which makes the Galaxy S3 exceptionally thin and light. The Mugen Power extended battery, however, weighs about 90 grams (3.2 oz) and is a bit bulky.
Custom Back Cover
The bigger size of the HLI-I9300XL makes the phone’s back bulge, necessitating the use of a custom back cover. Fortunately, the extended battery comes with its own back cover made of hard plastic with glossy finish and appears to be sturdy and well-crafted. Like the original Samsung back cover, Mugen Power’s custom back cover snaps snugly into place on the Galaxy S3.
However, despite my extreme care, I noticed that the custom back cover easily gets scratched. Mine already showed scratches after a week of use. But, for me, these are minor annoyances.
One thing I appreciate most about the custom back cover is its built-in metal-finish kickstand. It allows me to place the phone in landscape orientation on a flat surface — handy when watching videos. The downside, though, is that the kickstand supports only one angle. It would have been awesome if I could adjust the viewing angle.
Some of my colleagues have expressed concern about the way the Galaxy S3’s flash, back camera, and loudspeakers are buried a bit deeper into the custom back cover. Though, their worries were allayed after we found out that the depth doesn’t impact the flash, camera, or sound output at all.
Also, if you keep your phone on vibra mode most of the time, you might want to know that vibration feedback on the phone using the Mugen Power HLI-I9300XL may not be as strongly felt as when it is using the original battery. This may not be a dealbreaker for many, but I found it a bit annoying to not feel the phone vibrate in my pocket while walking around town.
Price and Availability
Overall, the Mugen Power 4600mAh Extended Battery HLI-I9300XL is a perfect battery replacement especially for people who:
- require phone power for longer periods without having to recharge,
- use their phones heavily, and
- don’t mind the extra bulk and weight.
Find out more about the Mugen Power 4600mAh Extended Battery HLI-I9300XL from its official product page. It is available in black, blue, red, and white back covers. Mugen Power has slashed the extended battery’s price from US$99.00 down to US$88.00. And, if you place your order before 2012 ends, you’ll get discounts starting with 5% if you order today, 4% if you order on December 28, and so on. On the last day of the year, the discount rate goes down to just 1%, so you might want to order right now. All you have to do is enter the word “COUNTDOWN” as discount code at checkout.
Anyone currently using this extended battery? Let us know about your experience with it.