As I’m packing for my well-deserved vacation, I remember an issue I’m having with so many Android phones I’m testing for TechRadar.
I’m a bit worried about having to take my OnePlus 10T with me. This thought came to me while trying to integrate my Amazon Kindle Oasis and frankly, it makes sense.
That’s because I can easily drop my Kindle into my backpack’s side pocket without worrying about it being charged or having to find a last-minute location for the charger. I trust my Kindle’s battery life, which makes the decision to bring the Tab easy and effortless.
That’s not something I can say about my phone, or most phones I’ve tested recently.
Like many people I know, I suffer from battery anxiety. It’s the fear that your gadget’s battery won’t last until the next time you can power it, and the concern often manifests itself in drastically changing your usage habits to make sure it lasts. . This can mean not listening to music when you want or ignoring messages so you don’t have to turn on the screen.
However, battery anxiety isn’t just a byproduct of tech-obsessed teenagers. Our lives revolve around our phones; we use them instead of credit cards for payments, instead of maps for navigation and sometimes instead of keys to get to where you live or the vehicle you drive. Battery drain can be catastrophic.
And if you’re, say, in a foreign country on vacation, with no knowledge of geography beyond what your map app tells you and no understanding of the language beyond translation apps, then the Battery anxiety is again a very real and justifiable worry that you might get if your phone doesn’t last long.
And, these days, most phones don’t last long.
The problem with modern phones
Cell phones are constantly coming out with increasingly poor battery life.
To some extent, it’s obvious: your old feature phone from the 2000s, with its small screen and limited functionality, will clearly last less than a modern phone. But there are changes that also do more damage than they are worth.
The new features smartphones have, such as 5G connectivity, high refresh rate displays, high-end processors, and always-on displays, are all terrible for your battery life. They allow your phone to burn more data, display more items at once, use more power just to perform basic tasks, and all of this has a ripple effect on the duration of your life. your battery life.
Some of the issues can be alleviated by power saving modes, but this is often only a partial measure to reduce the amount of battery used for day-to-day functions.
And with the dual trend of screens increasing in size but body size decreasing, phone companies are sacrificing big batteries in favor of flashier specs and internals.
What makes this infuriating is that many of these features do very, very little. I’ve rarely found 5G to offer noticeably faster speeds than 4G, and the only real effect of having a high-end chipset on a mid-range one is that the phone gets hotter.
This is mainly an issue with high-end phones, as some budget phones have fewer features, so they last much longer between charges. The best ones last two days of use before you need to power them up, but these devices are few and far between.
Kindles and Smartphones
Due to all its bells and whistles, the OnePlus 10T doesn’t have great battery life – it loses power surprisingly quickly when I’m using it. It’s not the only phone I’ve used with poor battery life: the two phones I’ve reviewed before, the Google Pixel 6a and the Asus Zenfone 9, were the same (especially the Pixel).
It’s boring most of the time, but like I said, I’m going on vacation. I’m supposed to rely on this device 24 hours a day, but I already know it won’t last that long.
I’m afraid that even if I enable battery saving mode and moderate my behavior, I still won’t be able to rely on the phone in a flash.
It’s the complete opposite of the Kindle – I don’t need to worry about it at all. I can put it in a bag and forget about it.
Now I know what you’re thinking: one is an e-reader, and the other is a smartphone. They shouldn’t be comparable; they are different things.
But at the same time, they are two personal gadgets that we carry with us. And those are two gadgets that I bring on vacation, so naturally I’ll use both.
When you consider how long something like a Kindle lasts, or a running watch, or even headphones, it just doesn’t make sense that smartphone makers seem content to give us devices that don’t even last a day.
In fact, I miss feature phones or flip phones – they would last ages on a single charge, so you can easily rely on them. And sure, we’ve gained a lot of useful features like maps, cameras, and fast internet since they became popular, but many of the new features are actually pretty useless in situations where you actually need a device. reliable.