Posts Tagged smartphone

Smartphone Batteries Don’t Last Forever, So You Need To Maintain Yours Properly

Smartphone Batteries Don’t Last Forever, So You Need To Maintain Yours Properly

Lithium batteries generally power today’s smartphones and tablets. In your lifetime, you’ve probably owned a half-dozen or more smartphones. Every device features a battery with a specific rated capacity. Did you know the actual capacity can vary from battery to battery? Typically, the average smartphone owner doesn’t understand how their smartphone’s battery works or what care should be taken. There’s a lot to learn about these batteries, and you can take various steps to maximize a battery’s lifespan.

A Quick Bit Of History On Batteries In Smartphones

Early smartphones utilized nickel-cadmium batteries to keep devices running. Nickel-cadmium batteries suffered from a memory effect as well as other shortcomings. Awhile back, smartphone manufacturers started to use lithium-ion batteries instead. Lithium-ion batteries are smaller, more efficient, and they last quite some time before needing to be replaced. Arguments could be made for either type of battery, but lithium-based batteries long ago established themselves as the battery of choice for smartphones.

Manufacturers Build Smartphone’s With A Specific Lithium-Ion Battery Capacity

When a manufacturer builds a smartphone, the device features a lithium-ion battery with a rated capacity. This is the official rating for the battery in milliampere hours (mAh). As previously mentioned, this number is the official rating rather than the exact rating. Small differences in manufactured batteries means your smartphone’s battery capacity could come slightly above or slightly below that mark. You don’t have to worry about getting a battery that’s more than a few mAh off the official rating, though.

Manufacturers Also Like To Seal Batteries With No Option For Removal

In years past, smartphone makers created devices with removable batteries. You’d pop off the back cover of the phone, and you’d have immediate access to the battery. This was necessary to hard reset some devices, and the situation made it possible to replace a dying smartphone battery. Lithium-ion batteries don’t last forever, and they often don’t last more than a few years. As smartphones became thinner and lighter, manufacturers moved toward making batteries non-removable.

Most of today’s smartphones hide the battery behind proprietary screws and plenty of other obstacles. Some manufacturers might cite safety as a reason for embedding batteries with no option for removal. However, others will tell you that doing so prevents you from replacing a battery yourself. You’ll instead have to send the device to the manufacturer and pay a hefty fee for a replacement battery. Millions of consumers lament past days where accessing the battery took less than five seconds.

How To Properly Care For Your Smartphone’s Battery

Proper battery care and maintenance is surrounding by dozens of myths. You’ll find a lot of misinformation related to smartphone batteries for one reason or another. For instance, many people take battery maintenance tips for nickel-cadmium batteries and apply them to lithium-ion batteries. All of the same rules don’t apply to both types of batteries, though. Therefore, you’ll want to follow this guide on how to properly maintain your smartphone’s battery throughout the course of ownership.

The average lithium-ion battery holds up over 1,000 full charge and discharge cycles. Whether you charge your battery 1% or 100%, every charge counts toward a partial cycle. You’ll start to notice that battery life begins to suffer after 500 or so full cycles. A smartphone might only last an hour or two per charge by the time 1,000 cycles come and go. For heavy smartphone users, a battery might be done for after a year. Lighter users might get ample use out of the battery for three or more years instead.

What To Do WIth A Brand New Smartphone

When you get a new smartphone, you’ll want to charge the device to 100% before doing anything else. This particular tidbit is a recommendation rather than a mandatory action. Long-term harm from turning on the phone without charging it is highly unlikely, Still, it’s nice to start ownership of a new phone with a fully charged battery. You don’t have to charge the device for 12 to 24 hours, like some manufacturers recommend. That guideline pertains to nickel-cadmium batteries rather than lithium-ion.

What Are Your Charging Habits Like With Your Smartphone?

Charging habits have a lasting impact on the health of your phone’s battery. Some people believe you should keep devices charged to 100% as often as possible. On the other hand, some think you need to let the phone discharge to 0% on a regular basis. Both of these steps will leave you with a dead battery sooner rather than later. Lithium-ion batteries are healthy and happy while in a charged range from 20% to 80%. Of course, your battery won’t become unusable or die for good outside of this range.

Most of us like to plug in our smartphones while going to bed and then taking it off the charger in the morning. Unfortunately, this leads to dozens of “micro-charges” throughout the night, and your battery receives unnecessary wear and tear from so much charging. You’ll want to keep your phone charged between 20% and 80% to avoid putting too many unnecessary charging cycles on the device. Your phone doesn’t need to be fully charged every day, and better charging habits keep the battery healthy.

Temperature Can Kill A Battery In Multiple Ways

While using a smartphone, you should avoid extremely cold or extremely hot temperatures. A smartphone heats up during use, but it’s designed to withstand normal operating temperatures. Leaving your phone out in the sun, however, could heat up the battery and damage it. Extreme heat could cause the battery to swell up and catch fire, or even explode. Similarly, extreme cold puts unnecessary wear on the battery. Don’t expose your device to temperature extremes, or the battery could meet a premature end.

What Is The Future Of Smartphone Batteries?

Scientists across the globe continue to develop new battery technologies. None of them have proven viable for the consumer market (smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.) yet. At this point, developments in lithium-ion batteries have reached somewhat of a climax. Scientists can only stuff so much energy into each battery, and nobody wants to walk around with a brick of a smartphone in their pocket. Promising batteries involving graphene and other materials may materialize in the next decade.

Until that happens, we’re stuck with the tried and true lithium-ion battery. You should take the time to properly care for and maintain your smartphone’s battery. Chances are you can’t replace the battery by popping out the old one and putting in a new one. Plenty of consumers simply replace their smartphone as the battery starts to hold less and less of a charge. With that in mind, proper care can prolong the life of a given lithium-ion battery by a noticeable amount of time.

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Saving Money When Buying a Smartphone: How to Decide What’s Important

Saving Money When Buying a Smartphone: How to Decide What’s Important

Smartphones come at a staggering array of price points, and individuals on nearly any budget can find an adequate phone. While paying for a premium model will almost always result in a great experience, those looking to spend a bit less will need to find out what features of their phones are most important. Here are a few of the features that drive up the price of phones and some tips for deciding which features are most important to you.

Storage Space

One of the primary differences between price points on a particular model is the amount of storage space the phone has, so determine how much you’ll need. The lowest-price phones often come with only 8 GB of memory, and much of this memory will be used by the operating system itself, often only leaving a few GB of space left. While this is sufficient for a minority of phone users, most people will want at least 16 GB. For those who want space for many apps, especially games, upgrading to 32 GB might be a wise decision. Storing songs and video files on your phone will also demand more space, although many people rely on streaming services instead of internal storage. Check if the phone you’re interested in can hold an external SD card if you’re interested in carrying your music collection with you instead of streaming.

Screen Resolution

Smartphone resolutions have increased dramatically over the years, and some smartphones have resolutions higher than those used to project films in theaters. However, even the lowest-cost phones have resolutions that are perfectly adequate, and 720p resolution provides a crisp and clear image when streaming videos. Devices with a higher resolution typically provide a slightly more crisp look for text, making them better suited for web browsing and other reading. Still, the difference can be fairly minimal, so try out a lower-resolution device and determine if it’s sufficient for your needs. Lower-resolution devices have another advantage: better battery life.

Battery Capacity

More battery life is always better, but cutting-edge batteries are often expensive. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to estimate the battery life of a potential phone, but reviews and specifications can provide some guidance. While being able to use your phone all day is a nice perk, those who work at a desk typically have access to a charger, so recharging is simple. Furthermore, those who don’t use their phones for heavy gaming or other activities might find a smaller battery to be more than adequate for making it through an entire day or even longer. If you’re concerned about using your phone in places where outlets aren’t available, consider picking up a phone with a replaceable battery so you can carry an extra with you when needed.

Build Material

One of the primary differences between premium phones and other devices is the materials they’re built from. Although there are some exceptions, premium devices typically use materials other than plastic. However, plastic has a number of advantages over metal devices, as it won’t dent. Plastic won’t shatter like glass can. Although they may lack a premium feel, using a phone made of plastic can be a great way to save money. Furthermore, many people place their phones in cases, and premium materials do little to enhance the phone experience if they’re placed behind a case. However, it’s still worth looking at overall build quality, as some phones are built to a higher quality regardless of what material they’re made of.

Screen Size

In the past, phones with larger screens almost always cost more than their smaller counterparts. While this isn’t always the case today, smaller phones still generally cost less. Small screens have advantages as well: They can be easier to carry and hold while you’re talking. It’s always worth trying out phones when you have the opportunity, so note the size of screens when you’re exploring various phones. If a larger screen would enhance the experience, budget a bit more to purchase a larger device. If you prefer the easy-to-grip design of small phones, they can be a great way to cut back on costs.

Gaming Performance

All phones sold today have sophisticated GPUs in place that can provide rich 3D gaming performing. Some premium devices, however, place a larger emphasis on gaming performance than less expensive devices. If you’re only interested in casual games, or have no interest in gaming at all, feel free to ignore these capabilities, as your phone will have the graphical capabilities needed to stream video handle web browsing adequately. If you want to push mobile gaming to its limits, on the other hand, consider investing in a phones with a more capable GPU.

Camera Resolution and Features

Smartphone screens have advanced tremendously over the years, and premium phones can take excellent photographs. For those not terribly interested in photo quality, however, it might be worth placing less of an emphasis on the camera’s resolution. Furthermore, many current smartphones use multiple lenses for the main camera, but the benefits can be minor. Smartphone cameras provide amazing quality for their small size, but even the most expensive cameras can’t match the quality of a standalone camera. If you take photography as a hobby seriously, consider saving money on your smartphone and instead invest in a camera.

Even the least expensive smartphone is capable of handling phone calls, web browsing, video streaming, and navigation well. Considering how often we use our smartphones, however, it’s worth spending a bit extra to make the experience a better one. Fortunately, those willing to look at phones outside of a single manufacturer have plenty of great options to choose from at nearly all price points. If you’re on the market for a new phone, make of list of the features that are most important to use. Start doing your research early, as your ideal phone might be one that hasn’t yet been released but that’s coming on the market soon. A bit of research can go a long way toward helping you make a purchase you’ll enjoy until it’s time for your next upgrade.

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