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Opinion 4 min read 104 comments

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.

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.

Would you like to see the return of removable batteries?
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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!

Readers' favorite comments

  • Skyler “evo4g63t” B Jun 20, 2017

    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.

  • Diz Jun 23, 2017

    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.

  • Greg1100 Jun 20, 2017

    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.

  • Willy Malone Jun 20, 2017

    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....

  • Mastana Mahi Jun 20, 2017

    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.


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  • Paying a grand for a phone and being expected to get a new one in two years when the battery stops holding a charge - what planet are these people living on ??!! I have a Note 4 with 16 MP Camera and more Pixels-Per-Inch than a Note 9 with its 12 MP Camera - OK, two of them. My battery stopped holding a charge after 2-1/2 years, so I replaced it for around $35 and the phone is still going strong on year 4 and counting. So instead of being out another grand after 2 years of ownership, I'm out $35. Oh wait - my rubber case split year or so ago, so I think I had to shell out another $30 or so. And the phone is waterproof enough for me - never stopped by rain yet, the screen protector has a hairline crack not easily visible, and my rubber case is awesome - I have dropped the phone dozens of times. The phone companies have figured out P. T. Barnum's adage about a sucker being born every minute, so yes, why wouldn't they make batteries non-replaceable?

  • You have got to be kidding me! Who paid for this article? Just look at the response numbers inside this very article. I personally paid for an LG-V20 out of my own pocket when I had to upgrade my phone a while back. Up until then I had not even heard of LG phones. I found the model from research just because I refuse to buy a phone without a replaceable battery. Fortunately for me it had just been released. I have replaced the battery twice already. That is really important to me, and I think to everyone since smartphones are pushing the 750.00 to 1000.00 dollar mark these days. My latest battery purchase was just a few weeks ago. The battery cost me 11.00 dollars on Amazon. That's twice I would have had to shell out 750.00 or more for a new phone. So with a personal savings of 1500 to 2000 dollars over the last few years, I call B.S. on this article. I have resigned myself that I will be exiting the flagship phone owner rolls in the near future. As soon as I can no longer procure a new or used smartphone with a replaceable battery, I intend to convert to my Tablet for the fun stuff, and drop back to just phone and text for my phone if necessary. I am a generator/Solar power tech by trade, so keeping abreast of battery technology is at the core of my world. the one statement I agree with in this article is that the chemistry of batteries does break down at the latest in about 48 months. I however feel if we are paying around a thousand dollars for our phones the devices should be good for more than 48 months. Or even less if we sadly accidentally damage our battery by overly discharging like I did to my last two. Sorry Pierre because I love your other work. I especially liked your latest article on "Getting Started with the Google Pixel 3. But on this subject, we will just need to agree to disagree. To me personally it just looked like payola.

  • Boar 1 month ago Link to comment

    The main reason manufactory stop making phones with removable battery is to force you to buy a new phone every two years. If one manufactory does it, the others will make sure your phone does not sell well with bashing articles like this one.

  • Add me to the list of those who made the mistake of buying a phone without a removable battery. The phone would freeze and become unresponsive and the only thing that could be done was wait for the phone to completely run down and recharge it. After that happened a few times I was planning what new phone to buy and making sure it has a removable battery. I currently have the LG V20 and a replacement battery for when it needs it. Hopefully it will last until this sealed case madness goes away.

  • astar 1 month ago Link to comment

    What kind of moron writes this kind of article? Donald Duck Dump Trump climate change denial fool? Coming from what claims to be a reputable Android website? It is fools like these bloggers-posing-as-writers propagating such idiocy that the Earth is going to shite with electronic waste pileups and disposable US$1000 phones that you have to throw away every year.

    My LG G3 is going strong only because it is on its 3rd battery already. It takes me only 5 seconds to change a battery, something which I can pre-order online as soon as I notice battery life/capacity degradation - way before it fails. Why do I need to buy a new phone when I have rooted it and it performs faster with a newer OS version than when brand new? It is way more powerful today then when I first unboxed it.

    On the other hand, retarded moron writers, such as this Pierre Vitré, has to travel to a service center to surrender his phone while some minimum wage technician-stranger looks at his naked selfie photo collection for upload to some ransomware site... While paying a king's ransom for a battery replacement for a $5 component part. And having to fall back on his homing pigeons while waiting for "servicing" completion. Or worse, who is so dumb f*ck stupid he throws it away and goes out to buy a new phone.

    This idiot writer does not even understand that sealed non-removable batteries are a greedy cash grab exercise.

    I registered as a member just so I can slam this retarded writer and/or this click bait website. Wouldn't bat an eyelid if I never come back to this idiot site anymore. Boy I sure hope somebody archives this (Way Back Machine yeah!) so that Pierre Vitré can be remembered & quoted for his idiocy.

  • Im sticking to my old Note 4 (and avoided Note 5, 8, and 9) for the removable battery and IR blaster. Problem with fixed battery is the TROUBLE of having to go to experts and leave your phone to someone else's hands when your battery finally dies (which most likely would come at a most unexpected time).

  • I just chose a replacement for my old phone based first and foremost on the removable battery. I am buying a Moto E4. Removable battery and battery life were my number 1 and number 2 criteria, so don't tell me it isn't important.

    You have only said why the manufacturers don't offer removable batteries--to make more money! The consumers still want them. Who wants to be suddenly without a phone? And who wants to spend $700-$900 for one every two years? I refuse to.

  • I'm sick of being lied to. Curved screens and no bezel to increase likelihood of screen breaking. Glass back for same reason- with lies about antennas and wireless charging- like glass is the only material that would work. No headphone jacks so I have to buy their Bluetooth gadget & can't plug it into my work truck. Can't change a battery - nonsense about waterproofing- like the guts behind the battery bay can't be waterproofed. I delayed buying new for as long as possible, because they kept removing features I wanted. So much BS it's unbelievable. They should just say: we want it to break often so you buy another.

  • Manufacturer propaganda for built in obsolescence.

  • wtf dumb reasons in favor of non removable batteries.. these manufacturers hv become greedy why dont you cuto to chase and give this as the real reason of this..they want you spend more $$$ buying new phone than $ battery

  • the fuck i dont. GTFO!

  • This article is such hogwash. The problem with these sites and "tech bloggers" are that they are paid shills by the tech companies to promote their products and their stupid trends. Very few if any of these bloggers know about how business truly works and how resources and manufacturing processes are used to make these phones. There are finite resources and rare earth elements that go into electronics. Finite means....there is limited quantity of resources available. Promoting the moronic and downright unethical trend of making phones without removable batteries is enabling the destruction of our planet. In the future.... electronics...including smartphones will be forced to become completely modular and user repairable once these money hungry manufacturers have exhausted resources. The ignorant writer of this article doesn't realize that you don't need to make batteries non removable to obtain a premium design or waterproofing. Smartphone manufacturers use those 2 marketing slogans as a way to get away with planned obsolescence. Not to mention the huge amounts of electonics waste polluting our planet. Most people don't recycle their smartphone or electronics when they fail....they merely toss it in the dumpster. Removable batteries will eventually make a comeback as governments are already cracking down on planned obsolescence.

  • This smells like a paid shill article. Have you even LOOKED at your 2 polls in this article? 80%+ of the readers disagree with you.

  • I hate conspiracy theory and all paranoid crap but I swear I've lost count on how many times I've come across these sorts of articles from all major tech bloggers trying to normalize this insane trend of non-removable battery androids. It seems these so called experts are either not as technologically literate as they want to appear or are being deliberately disengenuous by blatantly omitting the greatest advantages of removable batteries that once made android phones such attractive alternatives to iPhones. I'm not going to list them as you probably are smart enough to figure them out if you possess good critical thinking skills and some common sense but I gotta say these tech blogger gotta come out and just be honest to their readers about their massive bias and pandering to tech giant sponsors

  • This article's really bad. Did Samsung pay you to write this? Why would you want a limited function like a battery? .. its just doesn't make sense.

  • The BS meter is off the chart in this article! Phone freezes up. Battery dies. Battery gets low. Trivial to fix with a removable battery. Pop the phone open and swap in a new battery. A monumental pain in the ass to remedy with a non-removable battery. The real agenda behind phones with non-removable batteries is cheaper manufacturing costs. Screw the customer royally to decrease costs and make more money.

  • I agree with those that think this article is nonsense. I've NEVER had a smartphone battery that lasted all day, or a smartphone battery that wasn't shot after about 18 months. Why would I want a new phone every 2 years when newer phones typically offer such marginal improvements over their predecessors? I'm currently using a 2 year old LG G5 (WITH a removable battery), and I have no need of the marginal improvements offered by the G6, G7 or any of the other current handsets. I'll just replace the battery when it no longer retains enough charge for my use. Phone manufacturers are cynically looking for new ways to force customers to replace their phones more frequently - not just with sealed-in batteries but with glass backs that are guaranteed to smash within months of purchasing a phone. Anyone up for a mass consumer movement to get manufacturers to give customers what they want - replaceable batteries, resilient (i.e. non-glass) backs and 3.5mm headphone sockets?

  • Before: my battery is end of life, buy a new one put it in and good to go,

    Now: My battery is end of life, send phone into a service centre, spend a couple weeks without it, have to pay a labour charge on top of the cost of the battery, and risk getting my device back with all the data lost to factory reset. Yea absolutely much better option

  • Using the LG G5 as an "example" of people not wanting removable batteries is malarkey -- we want removable batteries, what we do NOT want is batteries that are a pain in the ass to remove... popping that thing in and out of those prongs, and juggling the bottom of the phone while you do it is grossly unwieldy .. as if they designed it to fail.

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