The Hills Are Greener: Power to the People

The Hills Are Greener: Power to the People

Mar 22, 2011

It was something that didn’t quite strike me the first time I used my new phone – the idea of a removable battery. I guess it hit me when I realized that I had to, well, take out the battery to pop my SIM card in and out. Being an iPhone owner, I’ve been used to the idea of not having a battery that I can switch out easily, leaving me to deal with the common problems of a battery running out of juice.

Being someone who loves to get notifications of anything remotely relevant to me, I especially suffer from insufficient battery syndrome. Thus, the market of external battery chargers popped up. The problem with these external chargers is that they always add bulk to your phone. Either the built-in case designs make your phone thicker, or the ones that plug in make using your phone more uncomfortable. They’re nice to have in a pinch, but they’re not the most elegant solution.

Then the really genius idea hit me. If my phone has batteries I can switch out myself, why not just buy extra batteries, instead of using some kind of wacky external USB doohickey to power my phone in a pinch?

I looked up this possibility – and was shocked at what I found. I found a 3-pack of external batteries, with a wall charger for $12. I jumped on it. Now, being generic batteries that I purchased off of eBay, I didn’t exactly expect to get top-quality product but I was surprised to find that the batteries worked just as well as the official one that came with my phone.

Now, when I head out for any prolonged period of time, I simply stick an extra battery in my pocket (two if I’m really going to be out for a while), and if my phone starts to die after all the tweeting I do and alerts I get, I just turn it off, swap out the battery real quick, and I’m back to full power in a minute or two.

It’s so elegant, and worry-free and actually worked perfectly for me on a recent trip to downtown Chicago. After a day of tweeting and photo taking (because the world just had to see that I was drinking green beer), my phone was on its last leg, in part because I may run too many alert services and background apps. Before Android, I would just be phoneless until I got back to a charger. Instead, I swapped out the battery really quickly, and was back up to my usual antics, including showing a friend the train route I was taking using the app Glympse.

Does carrying backup batteries around because I use my phone too much make me a nerd? Yes, but I’ve come to terms with it. But iPhone owners – when your phone’s dying, I’m still using mine like it’s no problem. All hail the revolutionary concept of user-switchable batteries!

Carter Dotson
Carter Dotson, editor of Android Rundown, has been covering Android since late 2010, and the mobile industry as a whole since 2009. Originally from Texas, he has recently moved to Chicago. He loves both iOS and Android for what they are - we can all get along!
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