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No, you don't need a smartphone with a removable battery

Smartphones with a removable battery have become increasingly rare in recent years. This feature no longer seems to be a priority for many manufacturers since there are fewer and fewer of them in this field. This trend confirms my feeling that having a smartphone with a removable battery is not really that important anymore in 2017.

The debate on removable batteries in smartphones isn’t new. I often hear people talking about why this feature has been left out of many new smartphones. I understand why this issue crops up time and again, given that until recently, a removable battery was a trademark of Android smartphones and was one of the key features that differentiated it from Apple phones - it was an important selling point for manufacturers to convert iPhone users to the Android world. So why the drastic change in just a few years? Well, it’s simply because you no longer need a removable battery.

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Apple’s iPhone initiated this trend of a non-removable battery. © AndroidPIT

Battery technological advances

There are several reasons that explain this change of situation. One of the simplest reasons is the significant evolution of batteries in recent years. Smartphones are now able to offer more thanks to improved technology, as well as give users more options, especially with regards to charging. In particular, technological advances like fast charging and wireless charging have appeared and become the norm. External batteries have improved and widened the market, thus replacing the need for a smartphone with a removable battery as users can always have a battery at hand. As a result, the removable battery is no longer as sought-after as it was once was. 

If you want more battery power, go for an external battery

Moreover, if your smartphone battery tends to lose its capacity and battery life over time, users might prefer to switch smartphones than change the battery. Typically, a smartphone battery starts to run out of steam roughly 24 months after purchase, which is often the date your phone subscription is due a renewal anyway. This battery capacity loss is often a good excuse to buy a new smartphone. It’s definitely quite consumerist and not very ecological, but it is representative of the majority of users at the moment, there's no denying it.

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New purchasing criteria

Another major reason for such a change in situation is that the demand for removable batteries in smartphones has drastically reduced. Users now prefer to buy good-looking smartphones and get separate accessories according to their needs (camera, SD card, etc.). Therefore, to satisfy the new wishes of users, manufacturers have adapted and the result of this was the dismissal of a removable battery.

To make smartphones more stylish and attractive, as observed in recent years, it has often been necessary to cross off the removable battery. This gives manufacturers the ability to use more premium materials and offer more daring designs, something they couldn’t do with a removable battery. Manufacturers can organize their internal components as they wish. The absence of a removable battery also makes it easier for them to offer new features that are much appreciated by users, such as waterproofing.

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Thanks to the absence of a removable battery, the design of the Galaxy S8 was possible. © AndroidPIT

Apple initiated the trend with the iPhone, and Samsung and other companies had to resolve to it themselves after several years. It’s ultimately thanks to the abandonment of the removable battery in the Galaxy S6 that Samsung launched its new design policy, with the Galaxy S8 as the perfect result.

Finally, LG’s example also shows the lack of interest from users for removable batteries. One of only a few manufacturers who resisted surrendering with its latest flagship product, the LG G6. The LG G5, its 2016 flagship product, didn’t actually thrive as much as the South Korean brand had hoped. As it was announced to compete with the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, the modular design of the LG G5 (which offered the removable battery option) didn't seem to entice users, thus forcing LG to rethink its strategy and abandon the removable battery.

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Even LG gave in after the failure of the LG G5. © ANDROIDPIT

An option that’s no longer important

To summarize, the absence of a removable battery is no longer an issue. The loss of this feature has allowed us to benefit from other functions, which today offer a better experience that we’re no longer able to sacrifice in favor of a removable battery. And if you really miss it, you’ll find smartphones offering this feature on the market, but you’ll have to cross off choosing any top range smartphones.

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Do you have a smartphone with a removable battery? Which is it and why did you choose it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Readers' favorite comments

  • Skyler “evo4g63t” B 5 months ago

    Ridiculous article, current phones don't last a day under heavy usage. It had nothing to do with looks either the main purpose of the design is to try to get people to upgrade their phone when the battery dies.

    What we don't need is 30 minute waterproofing and phones encased in glass.

    My main reason for continued use of removable battery is extended battery, I can use my phone any way I want and still have juice at the end of the day.

  • Willy Malone 5 months ago

    Crap article. Seems the vote is clearly in favour of the majority wanting a return of replacement batteries. Who's trying to cod whom here....

  • Greg1100 5 months ago

    If phone makers would only read these comments and act on them, we could have the best phones ever.
    NO glass backs, removable batteries, - for me, no curved screens as I always put a reinforced glass screen cover on my phones. Expansion of memory, in fact most of what has been left behind, but worked.
    The Note 4 was the last proper smart phone.

  • Mastana Mahi 5 months ago

    Older phones gave me the ability to put an extended battery. Fast charging is good as long as you have a wall socket or external battery is good if you have a place to carry. Extended battery could easily double battery life. Hence the reason I am still using Note 4 which is running perfectly and runs for two days straight under heavy usage.

  • Greg1100 5 months ago

    If you work in an office, then there are many power sockets to use to charge your phone. There are many jobs where there is NO conveniently placed wall sockets. As said above, battery packs are bulkier an probably a bit heavier than a battery and inconvenient to have a lump of plastic jutting out from the bottom of you phone.
    The change to fixed phone batteries is a part consequence of so called journalists continually bleating on about " premium looks". I would never use a phone without a case, so the back would never be seen, so plastic is perfectly good enough--super light, strong and allows for battery removal. Far better than "premium looks" glass backs- super slippery and super smashable. Stupid, stupid. I also never let my phones get anywhere near water- electronics and water have never mixed. These new phones are NOT waterproof- only water resistant.
    Mark above is perfectly correct when he says that phones are planned obsolescence. I have 2 old Galaxy S3's- still working, both with Nougat 7.1.1 running on them. As long as I can get a battery for them, I will keep them running.

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  • Three reasons why manufacturers and carriers don't want you to have a removable battery:
    1. Planned phone obsolescence & forced upgrade into a new plan after only a couple of year battery life span.
    2. Limited data usage because of customer fear of running out battery life from using their phone too much.
    3. Up-sell extended warranty & repair costs for fixing dead battery phones.

    None of these are to the consumers benefits, only to the manufacturer's & carrier's benefit!!!


  • Wow, the author managed to be condescending and rife with error, all in one piece.

    Not to decry anyone for their personal choices, but this mentality is often found among people who don't mount a spare tire on their car or are magically caught off-guard when they are 90 miles away from the nearest gas station in the Mojave...looking for a charging station for their electric car.

    Look, we love spare battery function and water resistance. The Galaxy S5 had both and dominated the market for some time. With an LG G5 or V20, you can *still* have water resistance with the addition of a lifeproof case. There is no reason -other than what seems to be a trend of planned obsolescence- why we cannot have flagship phones with removable batteries.

    As for cases- I know some people love sleek looks. Heck, I like pretty things, too. But even if I had a waterproof phone, I'd still own a case. How many times have you glanced at a random person's phone to see a cracked screen?

    Whether you admit it or not, you depend on your phone- with navigation, information and the ability to accurately summon emergency services if needed. Essentially, your life depends on that piece of *very* expensive equipment functioning when and where you need it, not just when conditions are convenient. When your battery starts to die or is shot to the point of barely keeping a 7 hour charge, are you just gonna wing it?

    Let's think of another $500+ tool that could be used to assist you- a handgun. When you carry a handgun, do you carry it without a holster? Would you only keep a handful of rounds in your magazine? If/when your magazine fails (this is the weakest link in most firearms) or runs dry, do you just chuck it at a person and hope for the best? Absolutely not. You carry it in a holster (case) to protect it and yourself from damage, you carry a spare magazine.

    Personally, I am not a "hope for the best" kind of person. Everything mechanical will fail you to some degree at some point. I don't want to be the poor sap hugging a wall because my pretty little phone can't hold a charge 20 months after I buy it or the guy who is stranded on the side of the road because I didn't have a spare tire. How are phones -if they have truly become so important- any different?

    Semper Paratus,

    WolfSix


  • It is apparent that the writer is nothing more than a shill for the cell phone industry and makes no pretense about it.

    "Typically, a smartphone battery starts to run out of steam roughly 24 months after purchase, which is often the date your phone subscription is due a renewal anyway."

    So, according to this guy, everyone SHOULD happily become the equivalent of Apple customers who, lemming-like, line up days in advance WHENEVER a new IPhone comes out to shell out $800-$1000 on a phone they DEFINITELY DO NOT NEED except for the fact that their batteries are non-removable.


  • Modern "Cell Phones" are really very powerful hand held computers that happen to make phone calls. No one would willingly buy a laptop or netbook without a removable battery that can be replaced when it goes bad (which all now use Ni-MH 18650 cells that eventually go bad) so why would you want a hand held computer that costs almost as much as a high end laptop that will be useless when the battery dies?! A lot of consumers use MVNOs like Boost, Ting, Tracphone, etc. and don't replace their phones every couple of years because they aren't tied to an overpriced contract that embeds the (inflated) cost of that shiny new phone in the exorbitant monthly fees.

    I have a Galaxy S5 and have "8" replacement batteries for it and have had to recycle another "6" that have worn out over time. I keep a spare battery in my billfold so I always have an instant backup. I will not be replacing my S5 with a phone that can't remove the battery easily. In fact if I ever have to replace this phone I will probably just get another S5 (albeit most likely refurbished) because it A.) does everything I want it to do B.) is very stable and performs very well C.) is water proof and impact resistant D.) is easy to make minor repairs such as replacing the camera lens, power port door, back cover, screen, etc. and E.) runs the newer versions of Android allowing me to stay current. I'd like a shiny new Galaxy S8, LG V30 or similar but I don't want to pay $800 for something that will be dead in 24 months and a new battery for my S5 is only 5 bucks (other parts are just as cheap).

    For most professionals, function and form win out over looks and style when it comes to computers, i.e. "Cell Phones". We use our cell phones. We don't wear them like a hat.


  • I have a s5 and a s3 as back up until samsung comes out with a new removable battery phone. Watch out samsung, lg might beat you to the punch.


  • nobody 2 months ago Link to comment

    If the article was written by a manufacturer it makes sense because they figured out how to force people to buy a new phone when the battery dies from allowing it to discharge too often. ALL Li battery have heat and discharge issues and when people let them run down they do not recharge to a full level even though they show 100%. Samsung figured it out with the Galaxy 7 and Apple figured it out from the beginning. Until people demand replacement battery phones and tell the manufacturers their bull on thinner phones is the reason it will not stop.


  • Try 2 months ago Link to comment

    Remember the Note 7 recall debacle? Samsung paid a pretty price for their decision on a permanent battery.

    Ever go on trips or camping for days without a charger? I bring 5 batteries, play music and take pictures/videos the whole time and still have batteries left.

    When your phone dies, how long do you charge before you can use it again? I'm at 100% immediately and throw the dead battery on a charger.

    Forgot to plug in your phone at night? Sucks for you. I'm still at 100%+.

    I think LG made a mistake abandoning this feature on the V30. So I'll upgrade my V10 to a V20 instead.


    • Correct! According to Wall Street, even before the Note 7 was recalled for a 2nd time and production was halted, analysts said the company stood to lose $10 billion in revenue and $2 billion to $3 billion in profit, but if the Note 7 has replacement battery, Samsung cost would be only around $500 millions.

      It's too bad that LG just follow the footsteps of others.


  • What a load of horshite this article is! just WHO are you trying to kid?
    I've had removable batteries in almost every smartphone I've owned. Why? because I am a heavy user of every aspect of my phones on a daily basis, the amount of numbies that come out and say that nobody gives a shit about removable batteries! Like...wtf... there's plenty of us here who DO! I have the V10 and am waiting for some $'s to come in before buying a V20. I currently have 4 batteries for my V10 and will likely get at least another two for a V20 if I get one.
    My search after the V20 will be for a phone that has the most easily replaceable battery once the original starts losing conditioning it will need replacing, and NO I refuse to upgrade my phone every 2 yrs! I care about the environment and think that this endless throw-away society end NOW!
    Carting around power bricks shits me, small removable batteries when you cant always get to a power point is the way to go and always has been. The survey at the end here tells the REAL STORY!


  • I have owned an LG V10 for a little over a year. I recently noticed that my phone was no longer able to maintain a charge for a full day. I ordered a new standard battery and I also found an extended battery. I spent right around a $100 for both.

    To me, replacing a phone when the battery fades is like buying a new car when the tires wear out. I will buy a phone with a replaceable battery as long they continue to exist even if that means I forego the latest iPhone or Samsung device.

    And to put on my tin foil hat, with modern phone advances, there is little need to replace your phone every year or even two. My phone is fast enough and fast the features and functions that will probably have a useful lifespan of 3-4 years. If I was stupid enough to buy a phone with a built in battery, I would already be thinking about replacing it. Now, who would that benefit? Built-in batteries are such an obvious method of forced obsolescence that I can hardly believe it is legal. Imagine if your screen wore out? Or your CPU wore out? Would you just cough up another $600-800 dollars? And is it any coincidence that battery life for these phones is not covered under the manufacturer's warranty?


  • Diz 5 months ago Link to comment

    WTF ?? are you for real? The reason I have resisted upgrading to a newer Note from my sterling Note 4 is PRECISELY because there isn't a removable battery on newer models. I like SD card slot and 3.5mm headphone socket too. I use them all, all the time. Don't iPhone me with stuff I'm told I need like the designers of Excel 1.0.

    As others have mentioned before me, I don't care about glass/bamboo/carbon fiber/titanium backs I cover mine up with a slimline rubber case for better grip, grip, yeah grip so the damn thing doesn't slide off onto the floor at 10 degree tilt. Or out of my pocket like a wet bar of soap

    Thank God the 'guru' that wrote this piece doesn't design phones..... I hope.


  • I too prefer a removable battery, and mettal back plate instead of glass. I like a case on my phone anyway, will never see the back of the phone, only to change the battery when its old.


  • JustBob 5 months ago Link to comment

    I find it ironic when people say a removable battery isn't needed, but then have a battery pack, or have a battery saver app running, or say they have fast charging instead. You don't need any of that if you have a second battery. You can use all of your phone features and never worry about your battery running low. Personally, I can't understand not wanting a removable battery.


    • Exactly, right? When major phone manufacturers stopped making phones with replaceable batteries, it made me so angry. A smart phone is the weapon of choice for the modern road warrior, no soldier in their right mind would carry only a single magazine in their battle rifle, and why should we settle for phones without replaceable batteries?


  • BruinGuy 5 months ago Link to comment

    I was a big believer in removable batteries. I always carried a spare battery in my pocket for that reason. I was hesitant to get a Note 5 because it didn't have a replaceable battery. But I got one. I've never thought about it since. And my pocket is lighter for it. My S8+ is so good with the battery I can't remember when it has ever dipped below 25%. All those years of worry for nothing.


  • z b 5 months ago Link to comment

    Yes, I do need a smartphone with removable battery.
    If my phone end up at a seabed, i'm not gonna scuba dive to get it. But if someone do got it, it is better that it's not working and not fixable, for the security reasons.
    Removable battery is becoming forbidden technology like free energy.
    So it is all about the money. A lot for the few supplied by the rest.


  • i dont think it is necessary to have removable battery. but what will happen if your phone inbuilt battery got damaged.


    • I had this happen recently to my LG Stylo 2 after 8 months of heavy use and wear and tear the battery quit holding a charge very long.

      Popped the back open and my battery was cracked the water damage mark was positive and it looked like I was screwed until I looked on ebay for an oem replacement battery it was $10 all together my phone works now. Just waiting for my upgrade because when I went into Verizon to try and upgrade they wanted $160 right on the spot I had an account credit of $200 I was told that that would not be usable toward another phone I was dumbfounded so since I had the 2 year contract I was stuck moral of the story always go with removable 🔋


  • Pretty silly article. MOST people would rather replace that $30 battery in a couple years than that $600 phone they can get another year or two out of.

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