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Shortened Battery Life May Surprise New Smartphone Users

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Submitted by Cheryl Woulfe from CMIT Solutions of Central Rhode Island on Wednesday, March 16, 2011

We received an email from a client yesterday who recently purchased his first smartphone. Although pleased with the many great features of his new device, its short battery life compared to that of his previous phones was of concern and he asked our opinion on purchasing an extended battery. Buying an extended life battery is always an option, but before adding another expense to an already expensive device, we offered the following explanation and advice:

Charge it! Unlike your old phone, you should get in the habit of charging your smartphone nightly. Taking photos, surfing the web and checking email requires a lot of battery power, which is why you notice the new phone using more battery than your previous ones. If you were using it as a phone only and did not use the internet or have email set up, you probably could go days without charging.

Here are a few steps you can take to improve your battery life:

  • Check the backlighting on your phone. The brightest setting takes the most energy. You can experiment with changing the brightness and set it to the lowest level at which you have no trouble seeing the screen.
  • Turn off Geolocation/GPS tracking. You can always turn this setting back on if you need to use your phone as a GPS or when using an application that requires geolocation awareness. When you are at home or sitting in your office, having the location services turned on will needlessly drain your battery.
  • Turn off the Bluetooth connection if you are not using it.
  • Be sure to close an application when you are finished with it to prevent it from running inadvertently in the background.  Smartphones allow you to have multiple applications running at the same time. This is a handy feature, but if you forget you’ve left something running in the background, you may find yourself with a low battery depending on the application.

So, give these tips a try and take a few days to see how your battery life responds. You could always go ahead and buy that battery, but it is probably not necessary. If you plan on travelling and know you will be away from a power source for long periods of time, the extended battery would probably be a good investment, but the typical smartphone user does not need it.

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