Modern mobile phones have become more and more powerful over the years, but unfortunately, batteries haven't kept up the pace. Most people cannot go a single day without having to charge their phone, even if they only use it sparingly. Of course, this depends largely on the functions being used and the spec of the phone itself: modern smartphones drain their battery quickly when being used to browse the Internet, play games, take pictures, shoot and watch video, and so on. For this very reason, a variety of solutions have been developed to charge the phone, whether this is in the home, office, car, or on the move. In addition, having replacement batteries and external power packs is an excellent idea. However, it all starts with using the right battery within the phone.
About Phone Batteries
Phone batteries come in 4 main forms: Nickel Cadmium (NiCd), Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH), Lithium Ion (Li-Ion), and Lithium Polymer (Li-Poly).
NiCd batteries are more or less redundant these days, but may still be found in older mobile phones. These batteries used to be the most common, but have since been overtaken by more sustainable and powerful versions. The problem with NiCd batteries is that they are made out of toxic substances, and this makes them not so environmentally friendly. Not only this, but all other types of phone batteries provide at least an additional 40 per cent of charge capacity. On top of this, these batteries lose memory over time when recharged without being left to fully discharge first. This is known as the memory effect, where the battery remembers this shorter charge time and, consequently, its charge capacity goes down.
Nickel Metal Hydride
NiMH batteries replaced NiCd batteries as the standard in certain phones. There are several clear reasons for this - they have a 40 per cent higher charge capacity, and have the potential for more. They are not made of toxic chemicals and so are environmentally friendly, and are less prone to the memory effect. However, it is recommended that any phone user with a NiMH battery make sure that they allow the phone to fully discharge every 20 charges or so before recharging it - this will help to prevent memory loss.
Li-Ion batteries are the most commonly used batteries in modern mobile phones, and are used to power many smartphones. The lithium technology isn't prone to the memory effect at all, although these batteries will still begin to wear down after several hundred charges. They have a higher charge capacity than NiCd batteries - again by about 40 per cent - and are much smaller and sleeker than Nickel batteries.
Li-Poly batteries are the most advanced batteries, and they are often used in high end mobile phones. They offer similar benefits to Li-Ion batteries, but are even smaller, sleeker, and lighter. This is because they don't have a metal casing surrounding them, making them ideal for super sleek and modern phones. They are, however, the most expensive batteries on the market due to these reasons.
Choosing Compatible Batteries
Different phones take different batteries, so it is essential that anyone find the right batteries for their phone when looking for replacements or spares.
Check the Spec
The first thing to do is to check the spec of the phone, and of the battery. To do this, open up the phone and take a look at the battery if possible. It should have a serial number and other details about the battery on it. Alternatively, look at the manual that came with the phone - this will contain information about the battery. When shopping, make sure that the battery matches the spec before buying.
Buy OEM Batteries
The easiest way of making sure that a replacement battery will work with the phone is by buying it directly from the original manufacturer. OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) batteries are made by the same manufacturer who made the phone and will, therefore, be guaranteed to work with it. In addition, OEM batteries will generally come with warranties, giving the consumer protection against batteries that fail or arrive with defects. The only downside is that they are more expensive because they are officially made.
Buy Non-OEM Batteries
The alternative to buying official OEM batteries is to buy them from third party manufacturers. These will be mimicked to be the same as official batteries, but will vary in quality depending on the materials used and the quality controls in place. When looking for non-OEM batteries, it is important to research the company and the product carefully. Check the spec of the battery closely to determine whether it will work in the right phone. In addition, spend some time scrutinising reviews - this will flag up any issues that people have suffered from when using the battery.
Aside from buying a direct replacement or spare battery, it may be a good idea to get an external battery back as well. Of course, users whose phones have now ceased to perform properly will need a replacement: but those who simply need to be able to charge their batteries on the move may want to consider this portable option instead. An external power pack will need to be charged up from the mains, and will then by plugged into the phone to charge its battery anywhere. The amount of charge it provides will depend on its milliamp hour (mAh) power rating. For example, an external battery with a mAh rating of 4,000 will provide a 1,500 battery will roughly 2.5 full charges. Other external batteries will, however, only provide a smaller percentage charge depending on its power. In some cases, this will be advertised as being an extra 5 hours of 'talk time' or something similar. In general, smaller, more portable packs will have lower power capacities, but will be more convenient to travel with. When choosing an appropriate external battery, it is essential to make sure that it is compatible with the phone - in most cases, however, this won't be a problem as many externals power packs are universal.
Most batteries have a lifespan of about 2 years. In other words, after 2 years they will begin to break down and will fail to work effectively. Anyone still using the phone at this time will need to replace their battery when this happens. When searching for a new battery, it is crucial to ensure that it will actually work with the phone. Buying from official manufacturers makes this easy, but if looking for third party manufactured batteries, it will be necessary to spend some time doing sufficient research to ensure that the battery will be compatible with the phone before buying.