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Larger Smartphone Batteries: The New Marketing Mantra?

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My woes of smartphone batteries are old and my rants on the topic nothing new. Where once the phones used to last for days, now, I do not think mine last for a day. It is either in my hand or on charging. I also have USB cables all around- in the house, office and car.

Don’t get me wrong, the size of batteries are increasing every day. However, with the increasing size and resolution of the screen and the speed of processor, even these batteries are groaning under anything more than average use.

Smartphone Battery-001

Almost everyone feels my pain and anyone who has another device that is not a ‘smart device’ feels this even more. For example, I have a Nokia nothing (it has no feature except call and message) and I can safely lose its charger and still wait for days before buying a new one. It has been weeks since I used it and I will only be mildly surprised if it still has some juice left.

The phones manufacturers have refrained from increasing the size of the battery because of two prominent reasons-

  1. It increases the bulk and weight of the phone.
  2. It increases the price of the phone with similar features.

Somehow, the phone manufacturers have convinced themselves that people prefer thin phones over phones that last longer. As for second, that might be a genuine concern. Be it any country, people can easily rationalize that they would rather pay less for similar feature than have a phone with larger battery.

In all, there have been not more than 10 phones in the market till now with better than decent batteries (and this might be true for the whole world). Motorola Razr Maxx was one phone that was appreciated a lot for this.

In India, till a few weeks back, there was only one phone in my knowledge that had such a battery- Lenovo P780 (4000 mAh). My mother has the phone and I can vouch that the phone does last a lot longer than other phones. The phone has 5” HD screen, 1 GB RAM, 8MP shooter and quadcore processor. As you can guess, it is not a cheap phone and is in the Rs. 15-20K range.

Now this segment is changing with Micromax and Gionee bringing these large batteries to our favorite segment- The Rs. 10K range.

Micromax has launched Canvas Power A96, priced at Rs. 9900 while Gionee has launched a slew of phones with M2 being the power giant at Rs. 10999.

Below are the specifications of the two:

Features Gionee M2 Micromax Canvas Power Lenovo P780
Display 5″ FWVGA 5″ FWVGA 5″ HD
Processor 1.3 GHz Quad Core 1.3 GHz Quad Core 1.2 GHz Quadcore
RAM 1 GB 512 MB 1 GB RAM
Storage 4 GB expandable 4 GB expandable 8 GB expandable
Android 4.2 JB 4.2 JB 4.2 JB
Camera 8MP/2MP 5MP/VGA 8MP/VGA
Battery 4200 mAh 4000 mAh 4000 mAh
Price Rs. 10999 Rs. 9900 Rs. 17000

I was tempted to add Lenovo P780 to the mix as well just for comparison. Except for the screen and internal storage, nothing seems to separate Gionee M2 and P780. Of course, a screen of (854×480) and (1280×780) are very different from each other but still Gionee has done a good job of pricing the phone.

With Micromax however, the RAM is something that holds it down. While a camera difference of 5 MP or 8 MP can be overlooked, a 1 GB RAM will make Gionee M2 a better experience overall. At just a price difference of Rs. 1000 M2 should be an obvious choice over Canvas Power.

Both phones claim over 450 hours of standby time and around 24 hours of talk-time and with such batteries, they might just deliver. At least Lenovo experience suggests that.

I guess Micromax can reduce the price a little and make the competition more interesting. However, I would prefer if they increased the RAM instead.

Will you buy a phone with large battery?

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