On Computers: Nurse your phone’s battery for much longer life
Some day, batteries will be miniature powerhouses that need no attention. Until then, coping with power management will remain the most challenging part of cellphones.
Battery times with a cell are so iffy, clerks laugh when you ask them how long they last. That’s because your cell is one little voracious eater of electrical energy. Everything it does takes more and more juice.
Manufacturers rate batteries by talk time, not accessory time. The result is they almost always overstate their time length before recharge.
When you add a continually-on app such as GPS, that five-hour rating can fall to perhaps two hours. It’s only getting worse. The latest apps follow you around with GPS and tell you when your friends are near. Now that’s a real battery killer.
Here are a ways to conserve battery power. None of them will cripple your phone’s main use, talking. They will help tame your cell’s unending power appetite:
LIGHTS: The backlight on your phone screen saves your eyes but is a battery monster. Check your manual for the way to shorten the time it remains on. Try two seconds. And turn down the screen brightness. All this can add minutes to battery life.
THUMPER: Many users keep their thumper on all the time. It pulsates to announce every call. All that kinetic energy comes at a battery cost. Turn it off and only use it in theaters, school or at work.
RINGTONES: I know, these are personality statements, at least the first time. They get monotonous, especially when clever, such as the toilet-flushing one and any tone made by Disney. And you guessed it, complex ringtones drain batteries. All phones come with a series of ringtones designed for minimal power usage. Use them. Also, do your office mates a favor and turn it down. That really saves energy.
MOBILITY: You can save 50 percent of battery life by switching from a 3G network to GSM. Global System Mobile may be offered as an option on your phone. It won’t be if your phone is locked to a certain network. Something like 75 percent of the cells worldwide are GSM capable. Check your manual.
WIFI: If you have it switched on, your phone will drain its battery by constantly searching for access connections. The same is true of GPS and infrared file sharing. Keep these turned off until you need them.
DUMBPHONES: The so-called smartphones come with animated backgrounds on your screen. This is another feature that is fun to brag about and useless in practice, except it slaughters battery power. The least power consuming is a plain old boring screen. LED uses less power with a black screen than a white one.
BATTERY TYPES: If you have a lithium ion, charge for five to six hours when your battery meter shows one bar left. Allowing the battery to fully discharge will shorten its life. Ni-Cd batteries should be fully charged the first time, about 16 hours. The first two to four times, allow it to discharge fully before recharging. This ensures an efficient battery.
Contact Jim Hillibish at email@example.com.