/ Technology

Do you get stressed out by battery-sapping smartphones?

Smartphone battery

Nine in 10 people would feel stressed if their phone’s battery ran out. And yet most smartphones can’t last a day without charge. Should the next smartphone marketing battle be about battery life?

Ready for your random stat of the day? Seven in 10 smartphone users would give up puddings for a month in exchange for a fully charged smartphone, according to a survey by Mophie. I presume they’re talking about Apple and Blackberry pudding (*boom, boom!*)

And running out of juice doesn’t just cause stress – six in 10 get frustrated and one in four even feel panicked.

Part of this panic comes from not being able to make or receive calls. But our reliance on smartphones has another downfall – nearly half of Brits can only remember three phone numbers. I think it might just be two for me – my own, and my mum’s.

My Google Nexus 4 won’t get through a day without needing a charge, so if I forget to plug him in at night, I’ll suffer a day of carefully limiting my phone usage to save the last dregs of juice.

House parties have a new tradition too – iPhone users share time with a charger to pump their phone back up to full strength. The only reason I pick out iPhone users is because no-one ever asks to use my mini-USB cable for my Android phone (woe is me!).

Protection from bad batteries

So what are we doing to protect ourselves from dead phones? Our Twitter follower Amraze carries portable chargers:

And Which? Convo regular Wavechange told us last week that he keeps two phones handy. One reason is to give him a better chance of good coverage by having them on different networks. And the other is to protect himself from a flat phone.

With so many of us being frustrated with bad battery life, it raises the question of when smartphone makers will start competing on it, rather than just on speed or pixels. Of course, some smartphones are better than others for longevity – as you can find out on our sister site Which? Tech Daily – but are they breaking any new ground?

Our Tech team has tested the ‘ultra’ and ‘extreme’ power saving modes on the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8 respectively. See how they perform.

Are you peeved by poor smartphone battery life? Has running out of juice ever messed up your day? Or did you feel slightly liberated?


I have an additional iPhone charger for Continental Europe, which is much smaller and less bulky than a UK iPhone charger. Therefore when I travel there, it is small enough to carry around with me in my pocket.

I also carry a small battery pack which holds enough power to charge three iPhone consecutively, as I never want to run out of power. I find that it is more often friends I’m with who need it more than me though. However, it is a pain to carry in the summer when I have fewer pockets.

All these problems might be solved by Israeli start-up StoreDot’s invention: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-26934932


NFH – The only problem I can see in having a high capacity battery in a smartphone or a case incorporating a battery is that it adds weight, which makes damage more likely if the phone is dropped.

Perhaps your solution of a separate battery pack is the ideal solution.

Katharine says:
12 May 2014

I have an iPhone 5S (recently upgraded from a 4S).

The 4S didn’t get through the day without a charge once it was about a year old. The 5S is better but still needs charging every night.

However I turn off ‘location services’ unless I really need it because – despite what Apple say – it EATS batteries. I also tidy up my apps often to stop them running in the background. (double click the home key then flick up any apps you’re not using).

I’d much rather have a slightly bigger phone that had a better battery….

I almost always have a charger with me, just in case.

chris lick says:
12 May 2014

I have a Samsung Note 3 with 2 additional batteries =3. I rarely plug the phone in. Interestingly I read LG may be following Samsung in offering replaceable batteries. Even if they come up with a battery that lasts 2 or 3 days, carrying a spare for peace of mind remains my goal. Oh and I have a 64 gig card in it too. 2000 songs and 250 videos!!


In an earlier Conversation, I wrote: ‘I don’t want to have anything to do with smartphones until they last at least a week between charges AND the battery can be exchanged (Apple please take note).’ At the time I had a PAYG Nokia 3510i that I charged each weekend and only used for an occasional phone call. Rather embarrassingly, I bought an iPhone three years later. 🙂

One of my first tasks was to explore how to extend battery life and most of this was straightforward. There is plenty of advice online, but I have yet to explore this. At present I am having to charge the phone daily, or every two days if I am making little use of it. My life revolves round a laptop and not a mobile phone and it is the laptop that gets charged two or three times a day.

I still cannot believe the arrogance of Apple for making laptops and phones without exchangeable batteries. Hopefully they will wake up to the needs of their customers. In the meantime I still have a PAYG Nokia handy in case I’m caught out with an iPhone with a flat battery.

ND says:
13 May 2014

It’s much less of a problem for non-iphone users (and yet another of the many reasons I avoid iphones) because you can simply carry a spare charged battery around with you and switch batteries over whenever needed. It’s hassle to charge to 2 batteries but means you never run out of charge and only have something really tiny extra to carry around with you. I also turn off wifi/gps/bluetooth/data unless required and that preserves my battery life dramatically.


I agree. This is one of the drawbacks of an iPhone and one I was unhappy about when I switched to an iPhone four years ago. I always used to carry a spare battery with previous phones, but I’m amazed at how few non-iPhone users don’t bother to do this and still complain about running out of power.


My HTC has a battery charger which charges both phone and spare battery at the same time. I have also bought a higher capacity battery which lasts just a bit longer. Bluetooth is what saps my phone the most, since it is connected, every time I use the car. I also have a car charger but don’t use that very often. I don’t use the phone for video or music and so can get away with a night charge and have an active phone during the day. Heavy internet use quickly depletes the battery. For me, the real keyboard is the star feature of my phone and I can live with its battery limitations. I have no doubt that when the long life battery becomes available, its manufacturer will make a handsome profit from it. I also believe that there’s a great deal of R&D quietly going on….electricity is notoriously difficult to store.