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Bigger Batteries Rules: Why Manufacturers Are Finally Listening To Consumers


If I had to choose between a phone that had a Snapdragon 821 processor but had a 2,500mAh battery and a phone that had a Snapdragon 430 processor that had a 3,500mAh battery, I’d go with the SD430 one every time. I’m not alone – most people nowadays want a phone that lasts them the whole day, and if that means choosing between a slightly less powerful phone (with a better battery) over a phone that posts record benchmarks but has a small battery, the phone with the big battery wins almost every time.

And manufacturers are listening to consumers, finally. Gionee was one of the first manufacturers to bank on the massive battery craze with their Marathon M5, and back then a phone that had more than 3000mAh inside of it was more of a exception than a rule. But that has steadily been changing.

Phones released in Q4 2014 to Q1 2015 had an average battery capacity of 2573mAh, with the highest having around 3200mAh. In the same period of 2015-2016, that has gone up to 3033mAh, with a high of 4165mAh. This year the average has never been higher, and phones released from the same period (Q4 2016 to Q1 2017) having the higest average battery capacity, at 3,543mAh.

You can see our list in its entirety in this spreadsheet. 

From our experience reviewing phones these past few months, we’ve rarely used a phone that couldn’t get at the end of the working day with moderate use. With the advancements in chip manufacturing which see die sizes becoming smaller and smaller (smaller die size for processors usually mean better power efficiency overall) coupled with better battery management in Marshmallow and Nougat via Doze, battery life is finally catching up to clockspeed in terms of performance.

And phones with bigger batteries are starting to filter in to the mid-range and high-end segment too – ASUS’ newly announced Zenfone 3 Zoom packs advanced dual-cameras along with a massive 5000mAh battery. Clearly the industry is skewing towards putting bigger batteries into mid-range and even high-end phones – Huawei’s Mate 9 packs a 4000mAh battery inside of it, and LG’s upcoming G6 smartphone is promising a big battery as one of its highlight features.

As the battle for specs and marketshare continues, brands and companies are starting to understand that phones with speedy processors don’t mean squat if their batteries can’t keep up. Battery size and overall endurance is fast becoming one of the biggest concerns of consumers today. And really it should be – a phone packed with a brand new Snapdragon 835 processor isn’t worth diddly squat if dies on you at the middle of the day.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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5 Comments

  1. Actually they’re just Milking the tech dry, going for “Bigger Battery and Better Specs” is a terrible business plan for the cooperates.

  2. That’s one reason why I’m keeping my Lenovo A5000. I’m using it moderately and its 4000mAh battery lasts on the average of 2 and a half days.

    As a consumer, I’ll go for smartphones with 2800mAh or more battery capacity.

  3. I agree, what’s the point of having a phone that has the fastest processor and full hd screen if the battery is so so?

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