Archive for October, 2012


Mixed Reviews For iPhone 5 Battery Life

New iPhone 5 users have complained about a wide range of hardware and software issues with the iPhone 5, one of which has been the battery. But is the battery life of the new iPhone as terrible as some users claim it to be?

There’s no doubt that the rechargeable battery on a smartphone is one of the most underrated components. While no one would deny that, of the new features on the iPhone 5, the battery ranks low in terms of excitement compared to the new form factor, display, 4G, and iOS 6, the bottom line is that without solid battery life, the mobile computing experience is greatly diminished — even on an iPhone.

Early reports from iPhone 5 users suggest that the battery life is a problem, just as it was for the iPhone 4S last year, which we reported on about a year ago. According to PC Advisor, “Some iPhone users and bloggers are reporting that older iPhones updated to iOS 6 are draining their batteries much faster than before, and sometime heating up during or after recharging. Based on posts at Apple’s online support boards and other online forums, it’s difficult to know what the cause or causes are, and how widespread the problem is. The boards are replete with complex experiments by users trying a wide range of fixes to the battery life problem.”

The sense among users is that the rechargeable battery itself was clearly not upgraded enough to support the new A6 processor, larger screen, and 4G LTE connectivity. We reported on the marginally upgraded battery pack back in August, and how the mAh was only marginally upgraded. That was a rumor at the time, but it turned out to be true.

At the iPhone 5 announcement on September 12th, however, Apple CEO Tim Cook boasted of the new rechargeable battery technology on the iPhone 5, claiming that the new battery adds 2 hours worth of life to the phone, compared to the iPhone 4S. Also, independent tests are beginning to reveal that the iPhone 5’s battery actually performs quite well:

To get a worst-case estimate, I set the Pandora app to play Web radio nonstop, then disable the phone screen’s auto-lock option to keep the display lit. For a best-case data point, I’ll leave the phone on a desk with the screen off, mobile broadband active and Bluetooth and WiFi powered up but not linked to anything; 24 hours later, I’ll check its battery status. I don’t look at talk time, because we increasingly use smartphones for things other than calling. By those metrics, the iPhone 5 is terrific — but not by a huge margin. In the Web-radio test, it lasted 7 hours and 44 minutes; in the second, its onscreen battery gauge read 85% after 24 hours idling away. Each figure beats any Android phone I’ve tested on an LTE signal, although some 3G models have done better.

So, which is true? Is the iPhone 5’s battery a success or a failure? Some believe that the answer lies in what users do with their iPhone, and how many apps they leave running all the time. This explanation fits in more with Apple’s explanation of battery issues — that it is more of a software issue than a hardware issue. And Apple has a degree of plausible deniability here: would Cupertino invest so much into their research and design for the iPhone 5, only to purposely equip it with a bad battery? Wouldn’t that seem foolish?

Perhaps not. The fact is that the types of users who post in tech forums and write blog articles about the iPhone 5 battery life tend not to be “average users.” Instead, they tend to be avid tech enthusiasts, who most likely push their mobile devices a lot harder than average users do. For as much as the geeks of the world lie to believe that they fuel the tech market, it is the average user who is buying the iPhone 5 in droves — and quite frankly, their bit of texting and web surfing may not have warranted a bigger, bolder, more expensive battery for the iPhone 5.

In future releases of iOS 6, expect to see Apple address battery life at the software level. But they will certainly never admit that there is any kind of hardware design flaw.

Thanks for reading our article! Are you looking to purchase rechargeable batteries? Electronics Warehouse has a wide selection of the finest rechargeable batteries in Australia! .

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