Five Mistakes Buyers Make When Purchasing Mobile Phone Batteries

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Five Mistakes Buyers Make When Purchasing Mobile Phone Batteries

One of the most common problems users of mobile phones encounter is the degeneration or malfunction of the phone's battery. Subject to continuous use and damage from environmental factors, the performance of most batteries falls over time. A wide range of replacement batteries are currently available on the market, presenting a confusing choice to potential buyers. Itemised below are five key factors to be aware of when selecting a new phone battery. Taking these into consideration will minimise the risk of purchasing an inappropriate battery.

Selecting the Wrong Battery Make and Model for the Mobile Phone

In the same way as mobile phones are manufactured by several different companies in a range of models, batteries enjoy a similar diversity. When buying a replacement battery for a mobile phone, it is important that information on the name of the phone's manufacturer and the model type is available. The name of the manufacturer is normally displayed on the front of the phone and also in large print on the existing battery. The model of the phone is also usually found on the front of the phone or will be specified in the literature which accompanied the phone when purchased. Check that the replacement battery is listed as being compatible with the make and model of phone it is intended for. In addition to batteries which are manufactured by the same company that has produced the mobile phone, generic batteries are also available. These have a different brand to the mobile phone for which they are required, but are made to be compatible with it. The following table indicates the main factors to take into consideration when deciding between a manufacturer-specific and a generic phone battery.

Price

Generic batteries are usually cheaper than a branded battery, although wise purchasing can minimise this differential.

Longevity

Some manufacturers of branded batteries claim that their products enjoy greater longevity and performance than their competitors. For the consumer, it can be difficult to obtain evidence of the degree of difference in battery life between brands. Once price variations are taken into account, the best value-for-money option is debatable.

Guarantee

All purchases should be fit for purpose, and there is recourse in law for consumers should a product fail to perform as intended. Some manufacturers do offer additional guarantees for the performance of their batteries. It is worth researching the level of protection afforded. In addition, if the mobile phone has additional warranty or insurance besides that laid down in law, the continued validity of the policy needs to be checked before a replacement battery is purchased. Some policies will be invalidated if a replacement battery is of generic brand or not obtained through an approved supplier.

Whether a branded or generic battery is purchased, selecting the correct battery for the phone is crucial.

Purchasing an Inferior Type of Battery

There are currently four different types of battery which are available for use in mobile phones. It is important that when a replacement battery is selected, it is of a similar or superior type. Battery providers will normally indicate the type of battery available as part of the purchasing information. The table below summarises the main batteries on the market, with the most high-performing listed first.

Lithium Polymer Battery (Li-Poly)

These batteries are extremely compact and have a life even longer than the lithium ion batteries.

Lithium Ion Battery (Li-Ion)

A popular battery for many phones, they do not hold their charge for as long as the li-poly items but are normally adequate for regular use. Unlike the NiMH batteries, Li-ion batteries do not appear to suffer from memory effect.

Nickel Metal Hydride Battery (NiMH)

NiMH batteries hold a charge for a significantly shorter period than their lithium counterparts. In addition, NiMH batteries are prone to memory effect (sometimes known as lazy battery effect). This means that through time the battery holds ever decreasing amounts of charge, meaning its life between charges gradually decreases.

Nickel Cadmium Batteries (NiCd)

These are normally the batteries with the poorest performance. Frequent charging is required and memory effect has to be minimised by allowing the battery to run down fully before charging it again. Although potentially suitable for a back-up phone or short term usage, NiCd batteries are often unable to effectively power the newer models of mobile phone.

To discover which type of battery is currently in the mobile phone in order to inform purchase of a replacement, remove the back cover and read the description on the battery. The information regarding the battery voltage and type is normally printed on the battery; for example 3.7V Li-ion battery.

Buying a Second-Hand Phone Battery

Although a reconditioned or used phone battery is normally more reasonably priced than a new product, poor condition and rapid deterioration are a considerable risk. Almost inevitably, a used battery will demonstrate inferior performance. As indicated in the previous section, nickel based batteries are prone to memory effect, so a used article will probably hold its charge for a noticeably shorter period than a new item. There is no way of knowing how a used battery has been handled or stored. Exposure to damp or warm conditions can accelerate the natural degeneration of any battery which takes place over time. Even a battery which has only had light use will slowly corrupt as time passes. This is known as the calendar life of a battery and is another reason why a new battery is a sensible choice.

Failure to Buy from a Reputable Source

A poorly constructed battery can cause malfunction of a mobile phone or even result in it overheating and exploding. For these reasons, it is imperative that replacement items are obtained from a reputable supplier. The table below indicates the key attributes of a trustworthy supplier.

Well-known marketplace

Reputable suppliers usually have a long track history of successful retail. Such sites are often well-known and have been in existence for many years.

Plenty of feedback

There will be plenty of reviews of a reputable supplier from which to gather information. As well as reviews on the site, reputable newspapers and consumer forums will also have relevant feedback.

Supplier Guarantee

Take time to read the supplier's policy on supplying authentic items. Check what steps are taken to ensure that only genuine products are on offer.

Secure Payment Facilities

A good retailer will have encrypted payment methods and offer alternatives such as credit card payment and / or PayPal.

Offer Products at a reasonable price.

If a product is offered for an amount which is significantly less than its asking price on comparable websites, it is worth doing further research to establish that the heavily discounted item is genuine.

Failure to Check Guarantee and Warranty Conditions

In addition to a standard 12 month warranty, many manufacturers also offer extended warranty on their electronic products. Before purchasing a new battery, it is important to check what the conditions of continued warranty are. If a battery fails, purchasing a replacement from a non-approved source can render warranty on the electronic appliance invalid, causing problems should a fault later develop. This is particularly valid point if consideration is being given to using generic batteries as replacements rather than brand-specific items.

Finding Mobile Phone Batteries on eBay

eBay is an excellent source of replacement batteries for many makes and models of phones. To locate the battery required, select the All Categories tab then select the link Electronics. Next, choose Mobile & Home Phones followed by Mobile Phone Accessories and finally Batteries. If the type of battery required is already known, it is possible to search by manufacturer name or model of the phone for which the battery is needed. The search term Mobile Phone Batteries yields a comprehensive range of results. Alternatively, search by battery type, for example Li-ion Phone Battery.

Conclusion

The condition of the battery in a mobile phone is a critical determinant of its speed, effectiveness, and reliability. Replacing a worn-out battery with the appropriate model and type is a crucial part of optimising phone performance. By selecting a reputable provider and opting for a new battery, there is the best chance of ensuring the phone continues to work in a satisfactory manner for a considerable period of time.

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