Awesome battery life for a device like this (N900) - 42 hours and still showing 20%
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2009-12-12 , 07:31
Posts: 474 | Thanked: 283 times | Joined on Oct 2009 @ Oxford, UK
After all those threads with people experiencing poor battery life, I thought I'd share my experience which has been quite the opposite.
My N900 arrived on Monday. It is now Saturday morning, and I have only needed to charge it twice.
I was curious to know the battery life, after having read all the threads about it being too low for the unlucky, or reasonable to expect a day's use. So I decided to run it completely down from full charge.
Also, I decided to deliberately run it down to empty, and then charge it fully, a few times because that's advice I've read for older Nokia phones. (Some people said that you should never run the battery down as it cannot be charged in that state, but it is clearly not so. The manual says you might not be able to use it for a little while when charging it from empty, implying it will come up eventually.)
So when it first arrived, I played with it for a while and it lasted 7 hours on the factory charge (~50%).
Then I charged it with Nokia ~850mA charger with the adaptor in the box, not the charger that came with it. Charging time surprised me, taking about 3 hours.
I left it on charge overnight, and unplugged at 7:30 in the morning.
Much to pleasant surprise, that first charge lasted just over 36 hours.
In that time I spent about 0.75 hours talking, at least an hour playing the Bounce Evolution game (the fast track), a little web browsing, installed OpenSSH, read my mail using Mutt over 3G, installed the Location Test GUI after working out how to enable maemo-extras in order to see what's happening with GPS locks, used Ovi Maps to show me the route home for a full hour (I knew the route - I just wanted to test the app), and of course played with it generally to get a feel for it.
After the second charge, it's been 42 hours so far and the battery meter is showing approx 20% remaining.
So far, I'm pleased with the battery life, considering I was expecting to have to recharge it twice a day and carry a second phone for emergencies when travelling.
It looks like I can rely on this aspect of it as a phone after all. Great!
What am I doing that might make a difference? These come to mind:
1. Some say there is no value in "conditioning" the battery and they might be right. But fwiw, I discharged mine completely (until the phone was dead) then recharged fully, twice so far, and recharging was done with a slightly lower power ~850mA charger. I don't know if it's relevant at all, only it's what I did if anyone is comparing.
2. Turned off the vibrate-on-touch quite soon. I didn't particularly like it anyway; the sound feedback is quite enough. But I knew this might save battery too.
3. For much of each session, it hasn't been on Wi-Fi or 3G data. That is, I'm not running any data apps or widgets constantly such as IM connections. Those might make a lot of difference. In most of the places I work, Wi-Fi is not an option (cafes around here often have a broken one for some reason!). I haven't kept 3G packet data on constantly; I turned Settings -> Connections to "Always Ask".
4. For the 36 hour session the backlight was on normal, but early in the second one, I set it to minimal brightness because it was so bright my eyes hurt looking at it at night.
The mobile signal is *not* forced to 2G-only. It switches between 2G and 3G regularly according to location. (At one time, unfortunately it was stuck on 3G with no usable signal (couldn't send SMS), and needed a reboot to make it switch to 2G which was fine.)
However, a mobile *data* connection was not on all the time.
Not having 3G packet data on regularly removes some of the benefits of the device, so I'll probably find I change that when I decide to use the IM presence and/or VoIP presence and/or email fetching. It will probably drop the battery life considerably.
At least I now know that I can take the N900 on a trip and, provided I disable data connections except when I want to use them, and aren't actively using it all that much (a couple of hours calls and plenty of texts being fine), I can expect to get about 30+ hours without worry.
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