I recently purchased an extended battery for my Galaxy Nexus, I thought I would detail my experience.
First, my phone is the Galaxy Nexus GT-i9250, this is the GSM version similar to the one you could purchase at one point on the Google Play Store (now replaced by the chronically out of stock Nexus 4).
Stock Battery Experience:
The GSM Galaxy Nexus (GT-i9250) battery is 1750 mAh. For comparison, the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 both have batteries somewhere in the 1400 mAh range.
Typically I am able to get through a day of medium use and have approximately 20% of battery left. This is with my phone getting a little bit of charge when I’m driving to and from work (approx a 25-30 min commute) via the car dock. Medium use here means auto brightness, 10-20 minutes of calls in a day, heavy texting, heavy browsing (browser as well as social media apps) and GPS, Wifi on at all times. I’m synced to Google for a variety of services (Latitude, Talk, Gmail, Drive, Browser, Calendar, Contacts, Photos, Reader, Google+, Tasks, and Wallet), I’m also synced to Facebook, Twitter, Skype (but not logged in), and Dropbox. I don’t do much gaming, if I do it’s maybe every other day.
Add to all this that I’m in a hospital where, though I have wifi wherever I am the phone has to constantly hop and reconnect to different nodes as I run around all day, and of course it doesn’t get a signal deep in the hospital which triggers a constant search for signal which also impacts battery life. Occasionally when I’m on call I’ll put the phone into Airplane mode but then turn wifi on, and have my wife message me through Talk or Messenger (Google+).
A few other time as part of my residency training I will be further out in the distant suburbs, I’ll be in a building that has terrible cellular signal and again the battery will drain quite fast in these situations.
I’m fairly sure that on an iPhone I could finish the day a bit better with maybe 40% battery, but my phone wouldn’t be able to pull from as many services and I could not do the things I do (download attachments, re-attach and send files). In short, I’m willing to sacrifice the relatively worse battery performance for the advantages of using Android.
My sister’s Nokia Lumia 920 has rather impressive battery life, getting her through 2 to 2.5 full days of light to medium use (email, twitter, facebook); but again the OS is not as sophisticated as I would like it to be.
The nice thing about most Android phones is that the battery is user replaceable. (Unfortunately the Nexus 4 eschews this trend, much to my dismay). I will briefly list some advantages and disadvantages to this. If the battery’s life has decreased with thousands of charge/discharge cycles, replace the battery. Or carry an extra battery for long trips, or get an extended battery (which increases weight/bulk of phone). The disadvantage of user replaceable is that generally speaking the phone isn’t as strong (the chassis has to be designed with a removable piece) and the battery design is less flexible.
My Extended Battery
Although I had mostly read about Seidio batteries, I recently picked up the Onite Extended Battery for my particular Galaxy Nexus for about $16.98. This battery is 3500 mAh, which is just double the capacity of the stock battery.
It seems at the time of this post the price has gone up by about $3. This included the extended battery and a new battery door to accomodate the battery. Most importantly, this battery also supported NFC. I’ve been using Google Wallet a lot more in Chicago (Walgreens especially), and this was important to me.
How’s It Working?
Well. Extremely well. I’ve got screenshots below using one of my favorite apps, Battery Widget? Reborn! Pro. In short, with similar use I have been able to go to two days of use comfortably. Very comfortably. To illustrate this point, I’ve taken to primarily downloading torrents on my phone.
Also NFC is working, I’ve already tested it at Walgreens and with other NFC devices (primarily Android phones) where tap to send works.
There are a few disadvantages:
- Obviously the phone is heavier. The weight does not bother me in the least, I can live with it if it means I have superb battery life. Although be warned, this is just that more weight that could increase chances of your screen breaking if the phone were to fall sans case.
- It’s bulkier. The bulk does not bother me either, but I can see that being an issue for some. I actually like the bulkiness because now when I hold the phone with two hands to type out a long email my fingers have more to grab onto.
- Another is specific to this brand of battery, Onite. Although the battery is working extremely well, the new battery cover door is a little on the cheap side and after one installation/removal no longer sits absolutely flush with the device (though you have to look close to be able to tell). This doesn’t bother me much, I use the phone with a TPU case (designed for the extended battery by Trexcell).
- Another disadvantage is the phone will no longer fit in my Galaxy Nexus phone dock. However when I’m in my native city I rarely use the dock, so it’s not that big of a deal. Recently I drove to Michigan and I simply popped in the stock battery and stuck the phone in the dock, no sweat.
I can live with those disadvantages. I’m extremely happy with this extended battery and I highly recommend it to any Galaxy Nexus GSM user who is looking for something similar.
Please feel free to comment with any questions.
Screenshots of the phone with 50% and 30%, with the app’s estimated time left with battery.