Battery life is the bane of the Smartphone user and for most getting 10 hours use out of their mobile phone is an achievement. There are a great deal of workarounds for this problem, most involving carrying a large external USB charger device as I have talked about before on this blog or a battery jacket of some sort. The big issue with those are that you have to attach them to your phone for some time during the day which makes it all a little unwieldy at times. During last summer I upgraded to a Samsung S2 mobile phone and for a great deal of last year, this phone had excellent battery life, getting 10 to 15 hours of usage each day. Then I returned to work in the UK for an extended period and I quickly noticed my battery life was significantly down, getting between 6 and 10 hours depending upon my usage. The penny dropped – my data usage was now going over 3G and not WiFi. My phone battery life was suffering from the vagaries of the signal reception causing additional battery drain and the fact that 3G is a higher drain anyway.
I started the search for an extended life battery and stopped first with Samsung themselves. What they had was a 1950mAh extended life battery which I could not describe as extended life as the standard battery is 1650mAh and this was for a MRP of £19.99! What a waste. I kept looking and found a 3rd party extended battery which provides 3500mAh on Amazon.com from Accessories Online. Now 3rd party batteries are a little troublesome due to a past record of safety and quality issues, but I crossed my fingers and ordered one for the grand price of £7.90 (price seems to vary a little) thinking if it did not work I only lose the money and possibly my fingers in the resulting fire
However that is not how it has turned out, the battery has turned out to be a fantastic addition to the phone and certainly pushes the Samsung S2’s real world usage up beyond 20 hours of normal everyday use away from WiFi networks. In fact some days I find that I am putting it on charge with 50% still on the phone as I go to bed. I can really recommend it with two provisos. The first one is a stupid one, it does take twice as long to charge it obviously. The second is that this battery is double the thickness and you can thus see the problem – how the hell does it fit in the phone. The simple answer is that it doesn’t, it fits into the phone space and you have to have a new back plate that doubles the maximum thickness of the phone. You also have to realise that it also adds a bit of weight to the phone.
However I am fine with the extra thickness as it only makes it as thick as an older style phone or an iPhone 3GS in a case. It fits very comfortably in the hand and I have never really had thin as a required feature for my phone. The problem is that no cases will now fit and if you use a desktop cradle that is also not usage (unless you can modify the fitting as I have done to make it work). The additional weight is also not something I care too much about but it does make the phone seem a lot more solid rather than heavy.
I have been using this now for four weeks and I have not suffered a problem with it, and it has really liberated me for my phone usage on an every day basis. In fact during the time I have been using this battery, Motorola US has released the Razer Maxx which does something very similar but with a more svelte fitting than this bolt on is. This is as a smartphone is supposed to be.