Since I’m packing for my much needed vacation, I remember having trouble with a lot of Android phones I test TechRadar.
That’s because I can easily fit my Kindle into the side pocket of my backpack without worrying about charging it or having to find a last-minute place for the charger. I trust my Kindle’s battery life, which makes the decision to tab easy and effortless.
This is not something I can say about my phone, nor about most phones I’ve tested lately.
I, like many people I know, am concerned about the battery. This is the worry that your gadget’s battery won’t last until the next time you can turn it on, and the worry often comes down to drastically adjusting your usage patterns to make sure it lasts. This can include not listening to music when you want to, or ignoring messages so you don’t need to turn on the screen.
However, battery anxiety isn’t just a byproduct of tech-obsessed teens. Our lives revolve around our phones. We use them instead of credit cards for payments, instead of maps for navigation, and sometimes instead of keys to where you live or the car you’re driving. Running out of the battery could be disastrous.
And if you’re, say, in a foreign country on vacation, with no knowledge of geography other than what the map app tells you and no understanding of language other than translation apps, worrying about the battery again is a real and justified concern for you that you might get if your phone doesn’t last for long .
At present, most phones only no last for a long time.
The problem of modern phones
Cell phones are constantly running with worse and worse battery life.
This is somewhat obvious: your old entry-level phone, with its small screen and limited functionality, will obviously do less than a modern phone. But there are changes that also do more harm than they’re worth.
New features that smartphones boast about like 5G connectivity, high refresh rate screens, high-end processors, and always-on screens are all shocking factors for battery life. They make your phone burn through more data, display more items at once, and use more power just to do basic tasks, all of which have a huge impact on battery life.
Some issues can be mitigated with power saving modes, but they are often partly a measure of reducing the amount of battery used in everyday functions.
And with the twin trends of increasing screen sizes and decreasing body sizes, phone companies are sacrificing large batteries in favor of more specs and flashier interiors.
What makes this annoying is that many of these features do very, very little. I’ve rarely found 5G to provide significantly faster speeds than 4G, and the only real effect of having a high-end chipset over a mid-range one is that the phone gets hotter.
This is primarily an issue with high-end phones, as some budget phones have fewer features, so they last longer between charges. The best devices last a couple of days of use before you need to power them up, but these are few and far between.
Kindle and smartphone
For all its bells and whistles, the OnePlus 10T doesn’t have a great battery life — it loses power surprisingly quickly when using it. It’s not the only phone I’ve used with long-lasting power: the two I reviewed before, namely Google Pixel 6a And the Asus Zenfone 9it was the same (especially the Pixel).
This is annoying most of the time, but like I said, I’m going on vacation. I’m supposed to rely on this machine for 24 hours every day, but I already know it won’t last long.
I’m concerned that even if I turn on battery saving mode, and modify my behavior, I still won’t be able to rely on the phone in question.
This is the complete opposite of Kindle – you don’t have to worry about this thing at all. I can drop it in a bag and forget about it.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: one is an e-reader and one is a smartphone. They shouldn’t be comparable, they’re different things.
But at the same time, they are both personal tools that we carry with us. Both are tools I bring on my vacation, so naturally I use both.
When you consider how long something like a Kindle, a watch, or even headphones last, it doesn’t make sense that smartphone makers seem content with providing us with devices that don’t even last a day.
In fact, it makes me miss feature phones or foldable phones – they only lasted on a single charge, so you can easily count on them. Sure, we gained a lot of useful features like maps, cameras, and a fast internet connection since they were popular, but many of the new features are actually useless in situations where you really need a reliable device.