Phones do so much, what with the web surfing, phone calls, picture taking, GPS navigation, and so much more, but with all of this going on, how do you keep the battery of a smartphone lasting as long as possible?
When we review smartphones here at GadgetGuy, we have a specific process that tries to emulate real-world phone usage as best as possible: we throw our SIM cards in, use the phone over the course of a battery’s life, and keep some of the wireless connections on the way we would normally use the phone.
But most people don’t need to have wireless connections on all the time, and so we turn some of them off. And not everyone needs their phone to constantly check their mail servers for the latest and greatest email coming in at all hours of the day or on a weekend, nor do they need their phone to keep a link to a global positioning satellite at all times.
For instance, we don’t keep Bluetooth on through our testing because most people use wired headphones, and we don’t keep our GPS setting running all the time because more often than not, people are using dedicated GPS navigators for their cars, and not their smartphones.
Interestingly, it’s often the most unused features that are left on that will drain a battery, so here are four things you should switch off if you want better battery life for that smartphone of yours.
Wireless technologies are getting a lot better on mobiles, but not every Bluetooth chip or driver stack is created equal, and this can spell trouble for devices.
Currently, the Bluetooth 4.0 standard has some pretty good things going for it, such as Bluetooth LE, which means “Bluetooth Low Energy,” even though you find it more commonly named “Bluetooth Smart” in gadgets.
This is, as the original name practically says, a more energy efficient version of Bluetooth, generally connecting only when the device actually needs it, rather than keeping a persistent connection to the wireless device the entire time.
Not many devices are using Bluetooth Smart yet, but we’ll likely see more this year.
Still, that’s not a reason to switch Bluetooth off… but this is: you probably don’t use Bluetooth.
Keeping a connection on when it’s doing nothing is generally unnecessary, and unless you regularly link up Bluetooth earphones, a wireless car system, or are connecting to a smartband or watch, you can just switch this off until you actually need it.
Satellite connectivity is one of the great drains for mobile phones, and ever since manufacturers started adding this feature, the GPS has been a silent killer of battery life.
We don’t test phones with GPS on because while people have a clue where they’re going most of the time and therefore don’t need one for regular walking about, consumers who do need one will generally have a dedicated GPS in their vehicle to use.