Many aspects of our phones have seen significant upgrades over the past decade. Our displays have improved in quality, processing power has increased exponentially, and our cameras can take 4K video.
However, one aspect of mobile products that has yet to see those innovations is battery life. As our phones get more advanced, they also demand more of their power source, and modern smartphones can only last a fraction of as long as old-school flip phones.
You may wonder how to stop battery drain and prolong your battery health and lifespan. Should you use a special charger or adapter for the best battery performance? Do particular battery charge cycles impact your cell phone battery capacity? How often should you do a full charge for new phones with new batteries to maximize your battery power and life expectancy?
Luckily, these are questions with answers. You can do many things to get the most out of your smartphone battery.
How Do Phone Batteries Work?
A battery is a device that stores chemical energy and transfers electrons from the negative end, the anode, to the positive end, a cathode. Electricity can run along a circuit from there until the battery runs out of charge.
Smartphones use lithium-ion batteries, meaning that lithium ions travel along the circuit due to the material used. There are other battery types, but Li-ion batteries tend to work best for smartphones and similar gadgets.
The mechanics behind making a battery work are very complex. The ability for energy to be transferred through the phone relies on the materials used to make the battery, and technology is not a place where that can be modified.
A battery’s energy density is only as good as the size of the battery itself, so the only way to drastically improve battery life is to make the batteries bigger or reduce the power needed for the phone’s processes to function.
In the flip phone era, the operations performed were mainly calling, texting, and light internet browsing. Now, our phones are miniature computers that play games, take high-quality videos, and house multiple intensive applications.
This means that while flip phones could last a week on a smaller battery, smartphones today have to be much larger. Your average premium smartphone, with all the bells and whistles associated with that, will rarely last longer than a day on its battery due to its complex software.
How Do Different Phone Batteries Compare?
Companies have tried many approaches to making their battery systems attractive to consumers. Some claim that they have doubled or tripled charging speeds, while others talk about the number of hours you can stream video between charges.
As far as modern smartphones go, specs tend not to vary much. Right now, battery sizes cap out around 5,000 mAh for the elite smartphones, while other products will lag.
Here are some battery offerings from the three biggest smartphone producers in the country.
Apple is one of the most popular smartphone manufacturers in the United States, and they usually have a modest line of phones that come out per generation. The current generation is the iPhone 14 line, which has made some small but noticeable upgrades to its battery life.
According to Apple’s site, the iPhone 14 can last about 20 hours between charges while on video playback, with a battery size of over 3,200 mAh. This is par for the course as far as smartphones go, but it is not especially impressive.
This is a significant increase, especially with a device as advanced and hardware/software intensive as a Pro Max iPhone. This is close to 30% more efficient overall regarding battery management.
Besides these generational products, Apple also has the iPhone SE series, built as a budget option for people who do not want to pay for an iPhone.
Given that it is more of a budget offering, the battery is only slightly over 2,000 mAh, so the iPhone battery life is significantly reduced.
Samsung has a much more complex lineup than Apple, with many different Android phones. One of its premium phones is the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.
As one of the most advanced Android devices that Samsung makes, this model houses a battery with a full 5,000 mAh size. This is as good as any smartphone out there, and it is worth noting that Apple does not have a 5,000 mAh phone.
The most expensive Samsung phone is the Galaxy Z Fold 4, which comes at $1,799. This model has a 4,400 mAh battery despite being a larger phone than the S22 Ultra, but it has a respectable battery life for its size (if not for the price).
On the cheapest end of the spectrum, you have the Samsung Galaxy A12, which costs under $200. It is fully marketed as a budget phone, much more so than the iPhone SE, and as such, it lacks many of the features that its more expensive siblings have.
However, this actually benefits the battery life. With much simpler operations within the phone, the battery gets a lot more time between charges. It has a 5,000 mAh battery to boot, meaning they put a lot of the budget into ensuring it could last a long time.
Most phones do not last a day without needing a charge, but you can get through a couple with the Galaxy A12, making it one of the most impressive phones in that category.
Google has the smallest lineup of phones, only having its Pixel and Pixel Pro phones on its docket. The two newest models, the 7 and 7 Pro, both have impressive batteries. The base Pixel 7 has a 4,355 mAh battery, while the 7 Pro has a maxed-out 5,000 mAh battery.
For $300 cheaper, the Google Pixel 7 is nothing to scoff at. Both will get you an above-average battery experience, with the Pixel 7 Pro having a slight edge over the cheaper model.
Google does not have the highs and lows of the other companies, but it is excellent competition regarding battery life. Either one would serve you well if battery life is your primary concern.
There are all kinds of cell phone manufacturers out there, and many have fantastic battery lives.
For example, Motorola has the Moto G Stylus under $200 and does not attempt to compete with the more prominent cell companies. It is bulky and does not have all the bells and whistles that some might expect from other phones.
However, it excels when it comes to battery life. It has a 5,000 mAh battery that can get you two to three days' worth of usage out of your phone before you need to charge it.
Since many of these smaller companies cannot match the bigger ones regarding technical scale, making price and battery life priorities have been solid strategies for them.
How Can I Make My Phone Last Longer?
There are a variety of ways that you can improve your phone battery regardless of which phone you have.
For starters, the display is a significant energy sink on many phones. Utilizing the option to turn down the screen brightness and entirely shut down the display when the phone is not in use is one way to avoid losing battery when you aren’t using the phone.
You can also put the phone in airplane mode when you are not using any network features. Your phone is constantly connecting to different cellular and WiFi networks, so shutting that down means it is doing significantly less work while in your pocket.
Energy Saver Mode
Most phones also have an energy saver mode. These are usually meant to keep your battery going longer when running low, but nothing stops you from using it when you have plenty of charges.
The biggest thing you can do is avoid overly intensive processes. If you watch videos all day, you will need to charge often.
If you only need to check your emails and scroll through photos, you are going to get more time between charges. When deciding on a phone for yourself, understanding what kind of strain you intend to put on your battery will be integral to making a final decision.
Battery life evolves more slowly than other modern smartphones, but some devices still stand above others. Apple and Google have some impressive phones regarding battery life, while Samsung has the most comprehensive array of options.
Batteries are limited in terms of how much they can improve with existing technology, but there are multiple ways to keep them lasting longer. You can use less intensive apps, keep it in airplane mode or low battery mode, and keep the brightness as low as possible.
Navi has industry insights that they can use to help get you access to the best deals so you only pay for the phone you need. Use Navi today to find the right phone with the best battery life for you.