Batteries are getting bigger and bigger, and for good reason too. We want bigger batteries. In fact, the bigger the better. Hence manufacturers have acceded to our desires. Where once upon a time, it was completely unthinkable, we are now seeing batteries of up to 6,000mAh on our phones. But is this all necessary? Do bigger batteries guarantee a longer battery life?
Read: Battery life explained
To continue, we need to understand and differentiate battery life from battery lifespan.
Battery life is how long a phone can survive on a single charge. It is measured in hours. Battery lifespan on the other hand, is how long a battery is expected to work before it is eventually replaced.
So back to the topic, do bigger batteries guarantee a longer battery life? The short answer is NO. The long answer is not even all that long. There are several factors that contribute to battery life and the battery’s capacity is only just one of them.
A simple analogy
Imagine you’re hosting a party and you are wondering about the amount of rice that should be enough for the guests. It is okay to assume that a 25kg bag of rice should be adequate, right? Well not really.
Before reaching such a conclusion, you have to consider the amount of guests that are invited. If you have a lot of guests then there’s a good chance that a 25kg bag of rice might not be enough.
The same can be said about batteries. Battery capacity is one thing, but to make an accurate assessment, you have to take into account the hardware that is going to run on that battery.
Factors that affect battery life
A phone’s hardware is always the first place to start when looking at factors that could affect battery life.
Our first port of call should be the display. Oh yes! This is the probably the most power hungry part of a phone. A high resolution display with a high refresh rate and touch sampling rate is a guaranteed battery drainer. Using an LCD panel instead of an AMOLED only serves to increase the battery drain.
The SoC used too is also another area of importance. Using an SoC with big 28nm transistors will greatly increase battery drain and heat up the device. This is why manufacturers are pushing for smaller and smaller manufacturing processes so as to boost efficiency, reduce heating and conserve battery.
Network reception in the area is also another issue. A weak or bad network reception will cause the modems on board the SoC to drain power whilst searching for network. The external temperature is also an issue as well. Your battery will perform poorly on very hot or on frozen days. Lithium batteries do not like extreme temperatures. Optimal operation temperature are between 0 degrees Celsius and 40 degrees Celsius.
Finally we have personal usage pattern. If you use heavy apps on your phone like games that tend to engage the big cores regularly, then do not expect a long battery life or SoT as compared to someone who only uses their device for call or social media for a few hours in a day.
Most adverts won’t tell you this, but sometimes, these companies put in big batteries in order to make up for a huge battery drainer they added to the specs. A good example is the Samsung Galaxy A02 with the MediaTek 6739 28nm processor.
So do big batteries mean a longer life? Nope. A big battery only tells you how much capacity the battery has. The hardware on board and how you choose to use your device is what determines its battery life.
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