The battery life on my HTC Desire HD is really quite poor. It goes on charge every night and still I rarely get a full day out of it. Should it need charging this often? How can I make my phone battery last longer?
Carla Robinson, via email on 18 January, 2012
I have an HTC Desire myself, so I know you’re not alone in wishing the battery would last longer. It’s not a just an issue with HTC models - all smartphones are plagued by this problem.
Handheld technology is now so advanced that the batteries are struggling to keep up. But there are things you can do to prevent a mobile blackout. You can switch off some of the power-hungry features, or get in the habit of charging at work or in the car.
This guide looks at how to get the most from your smartphone’s battery.
The battery life you get from your phone depends more than anything on how you use it. Making calls, playing games and watching videos will drain your battery much faster than simply having it switched on in your pocket.
Carla, the battery in your HTC Desire HD should in theory last for more than 400 hours on stand-by. In terms of talk time, you would ideally be getting 9 hours. This will probably never be the case - for you or any other smartphone user - because the figure is based on the power used by calling alone.
In reality, there are numerous apps and processes that could be using your battery at any given time. To help you compare, below are the battery specs for some popular smartphones:
|Phone||Battery||Stand-by time||Talk time|
|Apple iPhone 4||Li-Po 1,420 mAh||Up to 300 hours||Up to 14 hours|
|BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900||Li-Ion 1,230 mAh||Up to 307 hours||Up to 6 h 30 min|
|HTC Desire HD||Li-Ion 1,230 mAh||Up to 490 hours||Up to 9 h 15 min|
|LG Optimus Black P970||Li-Ion 1,500 mAh||Up to 375 hours||Up to 6 hours|
|Motorola Droid RAZR||Li-Ion 1,780 mAh||Up to 304 hours||Up to 9 h 20 min|
|Nokia Lumia 900||Li-Ion 1,830 mAh||Up to 300 hours||Up to 7 hours|
|Samsung Galaxy S II||Li-Ion 1,650 mAh||Up to 710 hours||Up to 18 h 20 min|
|Sony Ericsson Xperia ray||Li-Ion 1,500 mAh||Up to 440 hours||Up to 7 hours|
The easiest way to make your battery last longer is to use it as little as possible. That may sound obvious, but there could be active features on your phone that, if switched off, would significantly extend its battery life.
When not in use, try switching off:
Your phone’s display is one of the largest drains on your battery life, so you might also want to lower the brightness of your screen and reduce the screen timeout time so your display quickly turns off when you stop using it.
To save even more energy, try using your mobile internet less and avoiding flash photography, which can quickly drain power. It’s also a good idea to close apps you’re not using, as “multitasking” will noticeably shorten your phone’s battery life.
Also, consider reducing how frequently your smartphone checks for email updates, and if you don’t need to receive or make calls try using your phone in “flight mode”. This will stop it searching for a signal and could help conserve energy.
Top Tip - The life of a lithium-ion (Li-Ion) battery is shortened every time it is fully discharged. Instead of letting your phone die completely, it’s better to plug in when possible to keep the power topped up. Perhaps you could charge it in the car, or at your computer via USB?
It makes good sense to charge your phone every night, Carla, especially if it’s dead by the end of each day anyway! But it’s worth remembering to plug in your charger whenever you get chance during the day too.
Unlike a standard nickel battery - like the ones in a TV remote - your phone battery’s life can be shortened every time it is fully run down.
It’s much better to keep topping up your energy levels than to fully discharge before connecting the wire. Charging on the go is another good habit to get into, using a USB cable at your desk or an adapter in your car.
As you can see from the table above, the battery life of smartphones varies a lot, even when the battery spec itself is the same. It’s impossible to say which mobile has “the best” battery as it really depends on what you use it for. It’s also worth noting that even the most powerful battery would still run down faster in a phone that’s packed with power-hungry features.
For example, the Sony Ericsson Xperia ray is physically quite tiny with a small display to match. This means it uses its power more slowly than a big-screen smartphone like the HTC Desire HD or the Motorola Droid RAZR. Of the many smartphones reviewed by Mobilechoices.co.uk, the Samsung Galaxy S II is one that performed well in battery tests.