My cell phone is a very expensive paperweight.
October 23, 2012 6:57 PM   Subscribe

Should I get a new phone? And if yes... which one?

I'm at wits end with my stupid cellphone.

I have a Droid 4 and it used to be great. THEN, the operating system updated on all droids, and suddenly my phone is virtually useless. The battery life went down to maybe a tenth of what it was. I disabled almost everything, I had a factory reset done, I went to every verizon store I could find and called customer service at least a dozen times, and no one could help me. Finally, Verizon sent me a whole new Droid 4 and..... it's just as bad. I charge my phone to 100%, make maybe 30 minutes of phone calls, send 2 or 3 txts, and it's at 0%. I'm afraid to touch the thing. It literally drops 10% every time I touch it, even if it's just to check the time on the screen.

I finally got a higher up in customer service and they said if I'm truly fed up with the Droid 4, they can MAYBE replace it with a whole different model of phone. OR they could try to put in an "extended battery" or keep tinkering with what I have. But I'm afraid that the extended battery still won't be good enough and I can't imagine anything else they could possibly try on this thing, so I'm leaning towards getting a whole new something.

SO..... what cell phone out there (for verizon) gets the absolute best battery? Supposedly the Droid Razr gets 22 hours talk time which sounds great. But then, they claim the Droid 4 gets 12 hours talk time, which is... very not true. So I can't believe any of Verizon's press. Anyone have personal anecdotes?

Or should I just keep fighting to fix what I have? I really do love the slide out keyboard on the Droid 4. But I would sacrifice that to have a phone I can actually USE. Help!
posted by silverstatue to Shopping (12 answers total)
posted by slater at 7:26 PM on October 23, 2012

For maximum battery life I'd go for the Droid Razr Maxx (NB the "Maxx" is important!). I don't own one (but have been researching smartphones quite hard of late in preparation for a purchase). But battery life is one of its biggest selling points, and the reviews I've seen seem to indicate that it's not a lie.

This year's Razrs (including a "Maxx HD") were released last month. If you're playing things paranoid, last year's Maxx would (presumably) be a bit cheaper at this point, and has been on the market long enough that any significant flaws should have shown up in plenty of reviews by now.
posted by pont at 7:31 PM on October 23, 2012

Seconding the Droid Razr Maxx. If battery life is your absolute primary concern, the Maxx or the Maxx HD are your best options overall.
posted by hot soup at 7:47 PM on October 23, 2012

Downgrade to the Droid 3. Same phone only no 4G. I still stream video from the internets on the 3G network, it's plenty fast. It lasts me all day and then some, talking, texting, and playing games. I've had mine for about a year and a half now and I still love it.
posted by carsonb at 7:47 PM on October 23, 2012

The RAZR Maxx and RAZR Maxx HD have by far the largest battery in any smartphone today.
posted by wierdo at 8:22 PM on October 23, 2012

The new Droid RAZR MAXX HD gets phenomenal battery life. The batteries in the RAZR HD and RAZR M aren't bad, either.

Most recent smartphones are going to be way better than your Droid 4 for battery. Any recent 4G phone on Verizon will have the Snapdragon S4 processor, which provides much better battery life than the early 4G phones.

You should be able to get a day out of it no matter what you choose.
posted by signondiego at 8:39 PM on October 23, 2012

There MIGHT be something keeping your phone "awake." Go under settings/battery, and you should see some lines underneath the battery level graph that say signal/gps/awake. Is there a lot of awake activity even when your phone is not in use?

If so, there's some process or app that's staying active and preventing your phone from going into sleep mode. Try BetterBatteryStats and look under kernel wakelocks. Look for a process that's keeping the phone awake for a long period of time.

Anther thing to do is to ensure you've got your screen brightness low or on auto.

Oh, and kill/log out of Latitude.
posted by herrdoktor at 4:39 AM on October 24, 2012

Before getting a new phone, I'd consider going the route of rooting this one, and putting a different ROM and especially a better kernel on it. You'd be amazed at how much better your battery life can be with a superior kernel.
posted by Citrus at 6:10 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah, something on your carrier's default OS image is murdering your battery life. Root it, and slap Cyanogen on it.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:59 AM on October 24, 2012

If Verizon is offering you a new phone, you should go for it. The newest LTE phones have significantly improved CPUs & LTE modems from the first few models, which were released before the technology was truly mature, especially from a power consumption standpoint. It also sounds like they did a bad job verifying battery performance in the newest OS version, which is sad, because the newer versions of Android are quite nice. I say this as someone who worked on power optimization on early LTE Android phones.

The newer Qualcomm chips with a "Krait" CPU and a new LTE modem are much better. There's a reason why Apple didn't introduce an LTE iPhone until this year.

The new Motorola Razr phones all have the new Krait chipset. The Razr HD has a large battery (2,530 mAh). The Razr HD Maxx has an even larger battery and the same mature chipset. The Razr M has a smaller battery than the others at 2000 mAh, but it's still better than the Droid 4 at 1785 mAh, and it more importantly has the same new chipset.

The original Droid Razr & Droid Razr Maxx have older LTE chipsets. Avoid those, if you are offered them.
posted by akgerber at 8:17 AM on October 24, 2012

This is all so interesting. I appreciate the advice about rooting my phone but I fear that's a little beyond me! I will speak with my verizon rep about the droid razr hd maxx since that sounds like my best bet. And i will make sure its a new version with the Krait chipset.

Thanks everyone!
posted by silverstatue at 10:16 AM on October 24, 2012

In case anyone was wondering, I went with the Droid Razr Maxx and I love it! Infinitely better battery life. Thanks again for the advice.
posted by silverstatue at 9:00 PM on January 2, 2013

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