Battery life of newish smartphones/phablets?
August 13, 2018 1:02 PM   Subscribe

My 2013 iPhone 5s is finally sputtering to its demise. I'd like to get a new phone that can use GPS (Google Maps) and stream podcasts and music all day long without running out of juice. What to get?

I'd like to stick with Apple if I can, and I'm looking at the 7 Plus and 8 Plus (the latter mostly for the fast and wireless charging options). But should I consider dumping Apple and going for, say, a Samsung Galaxy S9?

The context is that I'm about to go on a very long road trip (4,500 kms) and I'll be using Google Maps and streaming audio heavily. Will an iPhone 8 Plus konk out after 8 hours of such use?
posted by Beardman to Technology (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
iPhone SE has the guts of a 6 in the form factor of a 5.

Also, road trip = lighter plug adapter, extra battery pack, or solar cells?
posted by at at 1:16 PM on August 13, 2018

Will an iPhone 8 Plus konk out after 8 hours of such use?

Yes, but so will any modern smartphone - running GPS & screen & the cpu for map updates is fairly demanding.

Buy 1) a car charger for your iPhone and 2) a small external battery and use that to top up your phone if you start running low due to heavy use on a given day & you'll be fine.
posted by pharm at 1:25 PM on August 13, 2018 [5 favorites]

Also, this will more than double your battery life, and protects the phone as well.
posted by elf27 at 1:29 PM on August 13, 2018

If you can hold out a bit longer, Apple usually announces new iPhones late August/early September. Even if you don't buy a 2018 model, prices on 2017 models will drop.
posted by nathan_teske at 1:52 PM on August 13, 2018 [6 favorites]

Go for iPhone 8 but Plus version!

I use it, and I use it constantly for both work and pleasure. Playing music, taking photos, social media apps, Google Maps - all turned on - and I'm quite happy with how long my battery life is. I charge it each time when I go to bed in the evening.
posted by Liliana at 2:39 PM on August 13, 2018

If you're on a road trip, you might look at getting a USB charger that plugs into the accessory socket of your car. I haven't yet seen a phone that will provide more than maybe half a day (if that) on battery when running GPS with the screen on.
posted by Aleyn at 4:13 PM on August 13, 2018

nathan_teske is right. Now is the worst possible time to buy an iPhone. See what is announced in September and then make a choice.

That said, I have an iPhone 8 Plus and I have been pleased with the battery life. The nice thing about a bigger phone is that it can house a larger battery. The bad thing is that the larger screen draws more power.
posted by 4ster at 6:27 PM on August 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Unfortunately, my drive is in a week, so I don't have time to wait for the announcement and subsequent price drops.
posted by Beardman at 6:19 AM on August 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

I highly recommend the Anker Powercore battery pack on Amazon. It's a little annoying, but it can power your phone for about 6 days with one charge, even using everything you say.

If you want something a bit more convenient, this one by jackery has the plugs built in (but not the plug for charging it, unfortunately), but it will last your phone about 2 days without needing to recharge.

Other than that, yes, a car charger will work. I'm pretty loyal to the anker brands of them - they usually work with iphones.

I use all three for trips!
posted by bbqturtle at 6:36 AM on August 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

First, let me say I'm an iPhone user. But Lenovo smartphones have monster batteries built right in. If you're thinking of switching from Apple on battery life grounds, Lenovo phones offer the most meaningful gains that I know of. Lenovo priortise battery life like no one else (An iPhone X has 2,716 mAh battery capacity, a Lenovo P2 5,100 mAh.)

But then you might find the step change you're looking for by switching to a Plus model iPhone or X – it's still a significant bump over an "ordinary" iPhone 8 (1,821 mAh). Why fork out 4 figures on a phone with a battery when you can by an external battery spending only 2 figures. E.g. 10,000 mAh battery (so 4 to 5 full phone charges when fully charged for like $20. That's the first one I Googled – bbqturtle's recommendation has twice the capacity and may very possibly be much better quality. But you get the picture).

Battery cases are a slightly different proposition – less capacity but arguably greater convenience. Though they permanently bulk up your phone, whereas as an external battery's only a burden so long as you actually plug in. And you can always run the cable from a pocket or bag.

If you're making a decision on battery life, know the mAh of the options you're looking at. Annoyingly, Apple don't list mAh on their own specshseets, but the info is out there if you go looking.

But honestly, I'm not sure why battery life is a concern. If this is for a road trip, you can surely just plug in to your car whenever you need to?
posted by nthdegx at 9:36 AM on August 14, 2018

« Older Should I foster cats with a FHV-1 carrier resident...   |   Divorce Jurisdiction: Where to file? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.