Posts Tagged ‘Anker battery’

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Anker A-weigh: Battery woe to battery wow!

August 31, 2013

Vista busy cursor  It would not be a problem if the battery status indicator on my Samsung Galaxy Note (GT-N7000) were to be disabled. I no longer need it. After an overnight charge, the phone still has around 30-40% power at the end of the day, even after heavy-ish use, so I can be confident the phone will always get through the day without needing a battery top-up.

This is a great end to my search for acceptable battery life, which  started when my phone was upgraded to Jelly Bean (Android 4.1.2). Until the Jelly Bean roll-out the Note had nearly always made it through the day on an overnight charge. After the upgrade, I was having to put the phone on charge by late afternoon.

Worse than that, I believe Jelly Bean may have been implicated in frying the original Japanese-made battery (assembled in Korea) which came with the phone. It was not long after the upgrade that the battery more or less gave out completely and would barely hold charge for an hour. There is anecdotal evidence on the Internet that I am not alone in having that experience. I cannot immediately imagine how an OS upgrade could have that effect on a battery, but it does seem to be the case.

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I did have a spare battery, an official Samsung branded battery which I had bought some months earlier on Amazon. It sported the same part number and looked identical to the original except that it was made in China (and assembled in Korea). I had always wondered whether the spare was as good as the Japanese original; it never seemed to last as long. But I was only charging it up and keeping it with me as a spare in case the main battery ran out, so it was only getting occasional use. After the death of the original battery, the Chinese-made spare became the main battery, but by then battery life had been so badly mauled by Jelly Bean that it was hard to make sensible comparisons.

There was a breakthrough of sorts when I traced much of the post Jelly Bean battery drain to a couple of settings in Google Maps. At the time I thought I had solved my battery life problems, but it became evident after a few days that my phone was still not holding enough charge to last the day. It would look like it was holding up fine till around tea-time, then the battery charge would fall off a cliff leaving the phone dead by around 8 or 9pm. By then I felt certain that the Jelly Bean issue had been sorted with the fix to the Google Maps settings and that the poor battery life I was left with was squarely down to the disappointing capacity of the replacement battery.

All other things being equal, the capacity of a battery is proportional to its weight. And the Chinese battery is distinctly lighter than the now-defunct Japanese one.  It is disappointing that Samsung would produce inferior quality accessories. Maybe they changed suppliers for the battery innards at some point. Or maybe they have a policy of skimping on replacement batteries and suchlike to make a bit more money on them. After all, reviewers test battery life on newly released devices with original batteries, so there is no brand risk involved. Whichever way, I was stuck with an underperforming battery.

While investigating battery life issues on the Internet, I came across a post recommending Anker batteries. I had never heard of Anker but they seem to make replacement batteries for a range of popular phones. Some of their products are oversized extended life batteries which come with a new thicker back for the phone. The Note is quite large enough and I didn’t want it to become any bigger or heavier. However, Anker also make batteries which are the same size as the original, but with a modest increase in capacity. They offer such a replacement battery for the Galaxy Note which is rated at 2700mAh compared with 2500mAh for the Samsung branded equivalent, and the cost is not much more than the Samsung battery. So I bought one.

The advice on the ‘net was to put the battery through two complete charge/discharge cycles from the off to get the best performance out of it. The battery had arrived in the post while I was at work so I immediately installed it and left it to charge. It was fully charged (meaning the “fully charged please unplug” icon came up, not just 100% battery charge indication) by around 10pm.  I took  “two complete charge/discharge cycles” to mean uninterrupted charging followed by uninterrupted discharging, so I unplugged the phone and left it discharging overnight. I had business in London in the morning so it was a very early start and then the 6:43 from Stockport to Euston. I had the phone playing videos for nearly two hours solid on the train and the battery was holding up well. I started to worry that it might finally run out while I was on the train on the way home in the evening, so decided I needed to complete the discharge cycle during the day, allowing enough time to fully recharge the battery before setting off back North from my firm’s London offices. Well the battery refused to die. In the event I turned media volume right down, started up a long video with brightness up to maximum, and closed the cover so no-one could see a video was playing. Then I got on with my day’s work and meetings. I just about managed to kill the battery in time to get it recharged before close of play for the day.

It took over 26 hours for the second discharge cycle to run its course, this time with normal use. I have now been using the Anker battery for over a week and it has continued to perform at that level. I genuinely no longer look at the battery icon on the status bar and have disabled the percentage indication. I am completely confident that with any sensible use of the phone I can rely on the battery to get me through the day with a comfortable margin to spare.

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