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Would you pick a thicker phone if it meant better battery life?

A new Yougov poll shows that most of us are happy to have a thicker phone in exchange for a longer battery life. But if that’s the way things are going, you can count me out.

Three quarters of people would prefer a thicker phone with longer battery life to a thinner one with shorter life. My question is, why?

It took me by surprise that only one in 10 said they’d prefer to sacrifice battery life for a thinner phone. Surely, we want to push technology forward, rather than go back to lugging bricks around?

I’ve never liked having things in my pockets, I just find it too uncomfortable. To get round the problem, I just try to make things as thin as possible. I put my cards in an Oyster card holder and have an iPhone 5 – the ideal size for a phone in my view. They both take up such little room, I hardly notice they’re there.

And that’s why I have to buck the above poll and say I’d prefer a slimmer phone with a shorter battery life than a thicker phone with a longer battery life.

Why do we need more battery power?

I’d say I’m an average phone user. I use it for all the usual tasks – social, emails and texts – and it easily gets me through the day. While I must admit I rarely use it to make calls, I’m not convinced my lack of calls is what’s stopping my battery from draining. Quite simply, there’s just not enough need to extend my phone’s battery life.

Plus, when looking at the survey in more detail, I think people still hold a high value to thinner phones. While a thicker phone with longer battery life won an overall majority, more than half still said they keep their phone in their pocket – why would you want a thick phone in your pocket?

To add another stat, four in 10 felt that the thinness of their phone was ‘somewhat important’ when deciding which phone to buy. That compares to only one in 10 who said it’s ‘not important at all’.

Of course, this all comes down to how much thicker the phone needs to be to significantly increase the battery life. Still, my view is the thinner the better.

Are you like me and would you prefer to push technology forward and call for thinner phones? Or would you prefer a thicker phone, just to be sure that it will get you through the day?

Would you opt for a thicker phone for more battery life?

Yes - my phone never makes it through the day (64%, 390 Votes)

No - I have more than enough battery (36%, 220 Votes)

Total Voters: 610

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A thicker phone with a longer battery life would be useful but what is a higher priority is to have an exchangeable battery. Apple might like to copy the idea from an old Nokia phone.

I think the answer is not larger capacity batteries, but batteries that can be charged quickly. An Israeli company has already developed a battery that can be charged as quickly as you can fill up a car with petrol. I have no doubt that Apple will buy exclusive rights to this technology.

Back to the question, if my iPhone could be 1mm thicker and give me 50% more battery capacity, then I would choose this.

My Nokia (Microsoft) Windows phone has a camera grip accessory. The grip actually houses an additional battery. I often leave it attached just for the extended battery life, not solely for camera convenience.

I’d definitely sacrifice some ‘thinness’ for longer battery life and easier handling/gripping.

10 x £50 notes are smaller and slimmer than an iPhone5 so I’d stick those in my pocket and use my Nokia C!. It cost £30, makes call, sends texts, takes pictures and connects to the internet – and is smaller and has a replaceable battery.

The risk of having a flat phone battery contributes to nomophobia, a term coined to describe the fear of being out of contact via a mobile phone.

Having a flat battery could also cause problems with airport security because you will not be able to demonstrate that your slim device is a working phone rather than a personal explosive device.

My eldest Son borrowed my old Espace to collect some large items he’d bought on ebay. Went in the evening (dark) and when nearly at the destination broke down. Rang us to say he’d called out the AA and they were on there way. No further communication until orange flashing lights arrived in the drive at 3.00 a.m. It transpired that he’d used his iPhone as a torch to see the problem (broken belt) and the phone then died. so I sympathise with nophonephobia – we had no idea where he was, if he needed help. Clearly everyone needs 2 phones.

My old Nokia and spare battery live in the car. Not only is it a back-up for when I go out without my phone but it’s handy to have a phone on a different network when in poor signal areas. Inexpensive LED torches are ideal to keep in the car, but replace the cheap supplied batteries with alkaline ones to avoid the risk of leakage.

Or to have a priortiy as to calls to do whilst charge remains : )

But not having a torch in the car?!!! malcom??!

My old Nokia phone would start bleeping to alert me to the need to charge or swap the battery. I have not yet found a way of making my iPhone 5S do this.

I had never heard of “nomophobia” before. I am definitely nomophobic!

I never let my iPhone’s battery go below 40% without a source of charging lined up. I carry a portable power supply, which holds enough power to charge three iPhones in a row, although I find that it is used more often by friends I am out with in the evening than by myself, because I usually go out with a 100% charge and don’t need it.

I always use local SIM cards whenever I travel so that I have a constant data connection. When I arrive in a new country and don’t already have a SIM card, I really dislike the period between the airport and the mobile provider’s shop when I have no mobile data.

No, he doesn’t need two phones, he needs to keep a torch in the car!

Adam Smith says:
10 March 2015

You can improve battery life in iOS 8 Forever using this.


Many don’t turn of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when they are not using them and then complain that their battery is flat.

If you analyse the power stats on an Android phone or tablet, Bluetooth has a negligible drain on the battery because if switches itself into a standby ‘listening’ mode when it’s not active and uses less power than the telephone in its standby ‘listening’ mode.

Similarly, the WiFi goes into standby ‘listening’ mode unless you are using something that needs a connection (you open your browser or the email client gets a wakeup).

It is the screen that uses the most power followed by the OS. WiFi and BT are insignificant in comparison.

I have not studied this but it’s commonly recommended to switch Wi-Fi and Bluetooth off when not in use, which is why I mentioned it. What does drain my phone battery is tethering, but that shuts off promptly to save power.

I’d say battery life is still one of the biggest issues hampering modern day phones. Features have advanced rapidly the last few years but battery life has shown little to no improvement.

I’ve read a lot lately that phones have killed the mp3 player – not so. I still carry an iPod classic for my commute; if I was to use my phone for music (as well as browsing the web, social media etc) then it’d be in the red before I got off the train. Likewise if I didn’t charge my phone during the day at work then it’d have no chance of making it home and render it entirely useless.

You just can’t afford to be out and about and suddenly lose the ability to make calls and texts because you’ve been using up your phones power on the variety of other features they’re now capable of.

Slightly contradicting myself, I do prefer a thinner phone, but batteries really do need to improve if phones are to go on to become an all-round music/camera/video and internet replacement (which is clearly the intention). More power needed!

Phone batteries have improved greatly and you have pointed out the reasons why many of us are running them down so fast.

Perhaps it’s time to regain our lives if our batteries don’t last a full day.

I do agree with where you’re coming from there – there’s nothing more frustrating than a living room or a pub composed entirely of people surgically attached to their phones.

But having said that, in terms of a commute or travelling I’m more open minded, it’s only natural to want to be entertained in some situations – I’ve always found this image to be particularly poignant:


If phones are to achieve everything they set out to do these days (be the hub of your entertainment and, of course, a phone) then extended battery life is paramount.

That’s a brilliant photo George. If battery life is a problem, is a tablet the solution?

I thought tablets have a similar battery life to mobile phones…although, I guess it depends on how often one uses their device throughout the day…

When our tech experts tested the battery life of tablets, some ranged from around two hours to over ten hours on different models. I find that if you turn the screen brightness down and switch off the wi-fi/bluetooth, my mobile phone lasts longer. 🙂

Unless you use your phone and tablet at the same time, that should give ample battery life. I have always been impressed by the battery life on my iPad 2.

Likewise my Samsung Tab S has a good life. I only charge it every three days or so (obviously depending on how much I use it). This week I have been watching Cheltenham races, keeping it on throughout Channel 4 coverage, using Chrome, one window on Racing Post and the other on PaddyPower). I also use it consistently to check my emails, use Facebook and check on TV programs, read The Times and BBC News. I’m more than happy with the battery in the TAB S.

My Nokia Windows Phone is acceptable, certainly not good. It needs a daily charge.

Great photo submitted by George. No need to put up with “I’m on the train . . .” -type ear-bashing in those days just the rustling of the broadsheets. Picture from mid-to-late fifties I guess, New York City commuter train, some of them reading the New York World-Telegram which closed in 1966, only one woman visible.

The poll offers two options:

Yes – my phone never makes it through the day
No – I have more than enough battery

My phone always makes it through the day, but I would like a larger battery because I often forget to charge it.

Are you sure it’s not a higher capacity memory you need rather than a thicker phone?

Very good John. Unfortunately my wetwear is not upgradable and as far as I can remember has been gradually losing capacity.

I guess I will have to wait for an OS update that allows my phone to bleep when it needs charging, or for someone to produce an app that does the job.

I’ve had a Nexus 5 for about a year now. At first I had no problem connecting it to my Windows 7 PC to transfer pictures. Then along came a lollipop upgrade, and suddenly the PC no longer recognised the Nexus. This was fixed in the next upgrade. Later Google upgraded to Marshmallow, and I upgraded the PC to Windows 10. That’s when the problems really began. By default, when you connect to a USB port, it’s for charge only. There is no longer anywhere in the settings where you can change this. They have helpfully moved the option to a notification you get when you swipe down with the Nexus connected. Why didn’t I think of looking there – obvious really isn’t it? You can change it to file transfer, photo transfer or MIDI. Except that it doesn’t work with Windows 10, which shows it as an “unrecognised device”. Presumably they haven’t got round to providing a Windows 10 driver yet. So now I have to transfer the pictures to my laptop (Vista; this still recognises the Nexus), then transfer them across to the PC. Grrr! Oh and battery life? Sometimes it will go for days without needing a recharge. Then suddenly it will go from 50% to dead in the space of a couple of hours.

Billy says:
1 January 2016

I used to enjoy using life 360 ( friends and family locator ) on my Samsung 10.1 tablet. After the last upgrade life 360 was deleted and now when I try to reinstall it I get a message saying that my device is not compatible with this application. When I called Samsung I was told that life 360 was never meant to operate on their tablet. The fact that it operated on a few machines like mine was an error and now they have fixed it so that it doesn’t ! – Thank you Samsung

Linda Fox says:
2 September 2017

I would prefer a thicker iPhone. Just this week I called my provider 02 to request new battery. They made is so difficult wanting me to upgrade and change my contract. My contract runs out in around 6 weeks so I will wait. The customer service techie said that iPhone average lifetime re charge is bench marked at 1000 rechargers approximately. When I thought about it afterwards I think my phone has had less 500 recharges. I also run down my iPhone about every two weeks which was recommended by a radio 2 program earlier this year. I also prefer iPhone 5 I only changed mine to 6 when I had the battery problem, I got a free upgrade phone but would have to pay for battery and service.