As I’m packing for my much-needed vacation, I’m reminded of an issue I’m having with so many of the Android phones I’m testing on Ditching.
I’m a little scared to take my OnePlus 10T with me. This thought occurred to me while trying to fit into my Amazon Kindle Oasis and honestly it makes sense.
That’s because I can easily drop my Kindle into the side pocket of my backpack without worrying about it being charged or having to find a place for the charger at the last minute. I rely on my Kindle’s battery life, which makes the decision to take the tab with me easy and effortless.
However, I can’t say that about my phone, nor about most of the phones I’ve tested recently.
Like many people I know, I get battery anxiety. This is the concern that your gadget’s battery won’t last until the next time you can power it, and the concern often manifests itself in drastically changing your usage patterns to ensure it lasts a long time. This could mean not listening to music when you want to, or ignoring messages so you don’t have 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 access where you live or the vehicle you are driving. A dead battery can be catastrophic.
And if you’re on vacation in a foreign country, for example, with no geography knowledge beyond what your map app tells you and no understanding of language beyond translation apps, then battery anxiety is again a very real and justified concern. that you can get if your phone doesn’t last long.
And nowadays most phones are just do not lasts a long time.
The problem with modern phones
Cell phones are constantly coming up with worse and worse battery life.
To a certain extent, that’s clear: your old feature phone from the 1990s, with its small screen and limited functionality, will clearly last less than a modern phone. But there are changes that also do more damage than they’re worth.
New features that smartphones offer, such as 5G connectivity, high-refresh-rate screens, high-performance processors, and always-on displays, are all terrible for your battery life. They cause your phone to burn through more data, display more elements at once, consume more power to perform only basic tasks, and all of this has a knock-on effect on your battery life.
Some issues can be remedied by power saving modes, but these are often only a partial measure to reduce the amount of battery used for everyday functions.
And with the twin trends of increasing screen size but decreasing body size, phone companies are sacrificing big batteries in favor of more flashy specs and internals.
What makes this annoying is that many of these features do very, very little. I’ve rarely noticed that 5G offers noticeably faster speeds than 4G, and the only real effect of having a top-end chipset over a mid-range is that the phone gets hotter.
This is especially an issue with top end phones, as some budget phones have fewer features, meaning they last much longer between charges. The best last two days before you need to turn them on, but these devices are few and far between.
Kindle and Smartphone
For all its bells and whistles, the OnePlus 10T doesn’t have great battery life — it loses power surprisingly quickly when I’m using it. It’s not the only phone I’ve used with poor lasting power: the two phones I tested before, the Google Pixel 6a and Asus Zenfone 9, were the same (especially the Pixel).
That’s usually annoying, but like I said, I’m going on vacation. I’m supposed to rely on this device for 24 hours every day, but I already know it won’t last that long.
I’m afraid that even if I enable battery saver mode and moderate my behavior, I still won’t be able to rely on the phone in no time.
That’s the opposite of the Kindle – I don’t have to worry about that 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 the other is a smartphone. They shouldn’t be similar; they are different things.
But at the same time, they are both personal gadgets that we carry with us. And they’re both gadgets that I take with me on vacation, so of course I’m going to use them both.
When you consider how long something like a Kindle, or a running watch, or even a pair of headphones will last, it just doesn’t make sense that smartphone makers seem content with offering devices that don’t even last a day.
In fact, I miss feature phones or flip phones – they last for ages on a single charge, so you can easily rely on them. And sure, we’ve gotten loads of useful features like maps, cameras, and fast internet connectivity since they were popular, but so many of the new features are actually pretty useless in situations where you really need a reliable device.