Your Smartphone’s Battery Sucks

smartphonesSmartphones have become a necessary part of today’s businesses. If only for being able to reach you anywhere anytime. It could be about delivery issues or customer management or employee problems. The ‘smart’ in the smartphone is also becoming a must have.  This is the first post in a series on Your Phone Your Business in how to maintain and optimize the user of your phone in your business.

The first problem to address is the maddening issue you encounter, low battery. It is a fact of life that if you have a smartphone it is a greedy power hungry appliance. With a little planning and a modest investment you can find you will be able to have power at your finger tips at all times. Let’s get started.

First of all invest in usb charging cables (i’m hoping your smartphone uses the standard micro usb cables – exception is iphone so replace this with the iphone cables). These are cheap and shipping costs is the biggest burden so purchase a lot at the same time and you will be in good shape. I have done research on these cables and it turns are there is a lot of variance and quality out there. I recommend checking out Monoprice cables. Their prices are good and the charge testing has shown them to be within spec. Now think about your life, where you work, where you sleep, where you sit at home. Generally the shorter the cable the faster the charge but don’t underestimate a good 10 ft cable where you are frequently using your phone. When you are at work sprinkle the cables around liberally. Lastly, don’t forget your car. If you are in it more than 20-30 mins a day that’s some good charging time. In my work place I have 4 cables and my home has 7 (my wife and kids use them so I have 2 in some spots). I also have travel and car cables so total is about 12-15. They vary in length from 12 ft to 3 ft(manufacturers cable). On average these cost about $2 per cable.

Don’t forget the charger. This is even more critical than the cable. Tests have shown that really cheap knockoff chargers are often worthless or worse, dangerous. The best ones are the manufacturers charger but there are a few other acceptable 3rd party chargers like Belkin and KMS. If you want to see detailed test results check this link. That said in my home I have surge protectors in all areas that I sit and the surge protectors themselves have USB chargers built in. When looking make sure you pay attention to the reviews. They work acceptably for me but I know it is not the fastest charge. When I need a charge in a hurry I know where the best places are, like knowing the best fishing spots on a lake.

So now you should have wide access and with a modest investment of about $30-$50 you have charging cables everywhere. Aside from your car though when you are away from your usual haunts you won’t be able to access a charge. Now you could throw a charger and cable in your bag and I recommend this anyway but you may not want to drag around a bag with you. In this case I highly recommend an external battery. For me it often gets put in my pocket with my key and reading glasses (glasses in a tube). These batteries are often able to provide you one or two full charges dramatically extending the ability of your phones charge.  I use an Anker battery because it provides me a nice balance between performance, cost and size.

You can tell how much it will extend the capacity of your device by looking at the electronic capacity. I use 3200 mAh. My phone has a 2100mAh built in so you can see I get a more than a full charge. These just plug into the phone like the usb cable and your phone charges and you can use while charging although a little more awkwardly. I find I use this battery about 1- 2 times per week when I get into a longer than expected session for work and I don’t want to bother looking for an outlet. Convenience is the key.

I want to put in a blurb for battery conditioning. I keep my battery charged around 80%. That is often the best charge level to keep to keep your battery in peak condition. Don’t let your phone go down extremely low very often and don’t keep it charged to 100% all the time. It gets into the chemical properties of the battery and you can research this if you like.

The last thing I’ll point out is personal control and management of your apps. These recommendations are highly individual and depends upon what you like and what you feel is important to you. To really optimize these the more you learn the better usage you will have. But using the 80-20 rule If you pick the top 3-5 it will likely give you the most benefit. Jump over to the howtogeek link to see the full list. iOS has it’s own management recommendations on howtogeek as well.

  • Turn off Bluetooth
  • Connect to your Home WiFi
  • Turn off Location Services (I keep it on so think about if you need it)
  • Disable Push Notifications (you really don’t need it that immediately)
  • Uninstall Apps (you probably don’t need 3/4 of the apps on your phone)

That last one takes some understanding and research and later I’ll write a post on what to look for on today’s phone and how to get rid of ‘crapware’. Those apps that you can’t seem to uninstall that the carrier put on the phone for you.



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