3G Phone Battery Life

I use a lot of phones on a regular basis, probably more than the average user. Or perhaps even more than the non average user.

One thing I’m always looking at is battery life. While I don’t formally test battery length, my standard test is simple. Can the phone get me through my toughest day of use without dying or make it through two casual days of use. That’s a typical usage scenario for me. Often, the answer is no and that’s why I’ll often use many 3G devices with EDGE turned on and not 3G.

I think there’s two reasons for this. First 3G radios inherently use more power to a greater degree. Second, the added functionality of 3G leads to increases in usage models and the battery drains faster. Let’s face it, when you browse the web and it’s a good experience, you tend to do it more. Add in things such as streaming audio or video and driving the screen even more and you’re going to take a hit on overall battery life over the course of the day.

Eventually battery life will get better as both chipsets and software  improve to handle increased usage models. As for today, Most of the time I have found no problem getting through a day on the road but find I mostly have to recharge most devices at night. As for a really heavy voice and data day? There’s only a couple of devices I’ve found that can handle that load with 3G turned on. So, what’s your 3G experience?

3 responses to “3G Phone Battery Life

  1. I also have a Iphone 3g, and yes, the battery life is short, but with some optimizations, you can use it pretty long. mine stays up to 1 1/2 day…
    if you are using a mobile device intensively, check on what costs battery and what not.
    what gave me the most improvement was tuning off the automatic update of emails. now i check my new emails every half a hour. thats by far enough.

  2. I have an iPhone 3G, and yes, the battery life is less than I had hoped for, but I have found numerous ways to both save battery life or drain it (for when I need to drain it down after 30 charge cycles). Even though I live in an area without 3G, I work at and go to a university where there is a strong 3G signal. With the following settings, I can get 1.5 days of battery life:
    Screen Brightness: ~15% w/ Ambient Light Sensor ON
    WiFi: On, “Ask to Join Networks:” OFF
    Location Services: OFF
    Bluetooth: OFF
    Fetch New Data: Push
    Enable 3G: ON

    If you really want to extend you battery life as much as possible on the iPhone 3G, use the following settings:
    Screen Brightness: 0%, Ambient Light Sensor OFF
    WiFi: OFF
    Location Services: OFF
    Bluetooth: OFF
    Fetch New Data – Push: OFF, Fetch: Manually
    Auto-Lock: 1 Minute
    Using these settings, and enabling Airplane Mode when in an area with spotty or no service, should yield at least 3 days on a single charge.

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