The mobile phone has become integral to the modern world, both for professional and personal use. It would be impossible to imagine a world without them now, not only due to their importance at providing us with the ability to communicate on the move, but due the range of other features they provide. While there are still some basic models available that offer only basic functions, newer iterations are essentially multi-purpose gadgets, providing access to email, the ability to surf the Internet, watch videos, play games, and do a host of other things. This has only been advanced by the growth of the app industry: now it is possible to customise any phones to deliver an enormous range of tools that were previously unavailable. These advancements in mobile phone technology, however, have necessitated huge improvements in battery technology to power them. Since many of these features and functions drain battery power quickly, batteries now need to be longer lasting and more powerful than ever before. Moreover, with phone designs getting sleeker, and with the world becoming more concerned about the environment, batteries also need to be smaller, lighter, and made from less toxic materials.
Types of Mobile Phone Technology
Mobile phones run on a variety of different batteries depending on the phones maker, its size, shape, and features. Essentially, there are 4 different types of battery available for mobile phones, each of which which will be employed in different types of phone. For those who use their phones regularly, it is crucial that the batteries are as long lasting as possible. This eliminates the need to recharge them so frequently, and makes it less likely that they will run out of charge when they are most needed. The 4 types of battery technology are as follows:
1. Lithium Ion
The technology employed in lithium ion batteries is advanced, and this allows for an incredibly high charge capacity relative to the size and weight of the battery. Due to this, however, these batteries are fairly expensive and will not be compatible with older mobile phones: generally, they are used to charge modern smart phones. In addition, these batteries are not subject to the 'memory effect', which simply means that the battery will not lose capacity if it isn't completely discharged when used. Most people do not let their batteries run completely dry before charging them, and when this happens many batteries will remember this shorter charge cycle. As a result, the capacity of the battery is reduced, which can be aggravating and frustration as a consumer. Thankfully, this isn't an issue with lithium ion batteries.
2. Lithium Polymer
Lithium polymer batteries are the most advanced batteries available on the market. The battery is cased in plastic, rather than metal, making it sleeker, lighter, smaller, and safer than other types of battery. As with lithium ion batteries, these do not suffer from memory effect, and do not diminish when the battery isn't completely drained between charges. In addition, they can contain up to 40 per cent more charge capacity then other batteries, namely NiMH batteries (listed below), of the same size.
3. Nickel Cadmium
These batteries suffer from the memory effect, unlike the two battery types listed above. This reduces the capacity of the battery, thus lowering its run time and even limiting its life span. In order to avoid this, the battery should be fully discharged before being charged up again. However, this can be inconvenient for most people, meaning these batteries inevitably break down over time. In addition to this, nickel cadmium batteries are made from toxic materials that are not environmentally friendly. Consequently, they need to be carefully disposed of when they run their course, something which has become an increasing problem. In general, this type of technology has become redundant for the above reasons, and phone manufacturers have stopped using it to make their batteries.
4. Nickel Metal Hydride
Nickel metal hydride batteries are the same size and shape as nickel cadmium batteries, but can contain twice as much energy, and can run for between 30 and 40 per cent longer. Moreover, they are not made using toxic materials and chemicals, making them more environmentally friendly and, while they can be affected by the memory effect, this is to a far lesser degree than with nickel cadmium batteries. As a result of this, they are one of the most widely used, and affordable, technologies for mobile phone batteries. However, voltage drops can happen after several hundred charges, causing the crystals inside to become more coarse. These drops in voltage, however, only occur when the phone is being used, not when it is on standby.
5. New Lithium Technology
The newest evolution in the world of mobile phone battery technology is set to take things forward by leaps and bounds. The new lithium microbattery is billed as being 1,000 times more powerful than its lithium predecessors, and may only take a single second to charge up in future. These advancements are still in an early phase of development, but will help battery technology catch up with the speed of evolution that mobile phones have gone through.
How to Buy Mobile Phone Batteries
The best way to buy a new or replacement mobile phone battery is by choosing a direct replacement from the manufacturer who made the phone. There are several options available:
OEM stands for original equipment manufacturer, and this essentially means that the battery will be made by the same manufacturer who made the original phone or battery. When buying a replacement battery, it is often sensible to buy them from a credible and reliable source. While the price might be slightly higher, the quality will be as well. In addition, these often come with warranties that will provide reimbursements or replacements for faulty products.
Non-OEM batteries are those that aren't made by the manufacturer. Instead, they are made by different companies and may, therefore, have been produced using lower quality materials. As such, these batteries may come with lower charge capacities and life spans, but will generally cost less as a result.
Grade A or Refurbished Batteries
When mobile phones are returned to the network, the batteries are taken out and replaced. These batteries can then be sold on as new and often at lower prices than 'brand new' batteries. In the majority of cases, these will be of a high quality, and will often never have been used, making them good options for those looking to save a bit of money. As mentioned before, different phones brands and types will use different batteries. As such, it is important to get in touch with the phone manufacturer to make sure that any battery is actually compatible with the phone it will be used with. When buying batteries, this should be listed in the description.
Mobile phones are integral to our lives, and they cannot operate without batteries. While some battery technologies, such as nickel cadmium, are becoming obsolete, others are thriving, providing us with smaller, lighter, safer, more powerful, and more environmentally friendly options. As phones get more advanced, so too do batteries, and while this may force prices up, it also helps to provide longer lasting and more efficient products. When choosing batteries, buy them new if possible, and try to opt for OEM batteries as well. These will have a guarantee of quality, will generally last longer, and will provide a higher charge capacity than batteries made by unofficial manufacturers.