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Opinion 4 min read 92 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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....


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  • 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.

  • I hate when companies tell me what I need. I won't buy a smart phone without a removable battery or SD card slot. I do a lot of work out in areas with no electricity and no signal. I take my G5 with me and 3 or 4 spare batteries and it's perfect. I can't access google photos to upload my pictures so that's why I need a SD card slot. Everything is becoming so cookie cutter. If I wanted an iPhone I would go get one, but I have a brain and actually like personalized things so I went with Android.

  • utter nonsense! I just bought a G5 when my LG V10 died. Why? because it was the only phone I could find with a replaceable battery! I travel. I take photos. I carry MULTIPLE extra batteries so I can swap out on the fly and keep going - while my friends are looking for an outlet, or going back to the hotel to charge their phones, I can keep touring. don't freaking try to tell me I don't need that ability. what i don't need is a thinner (and therefore easier to drop) phone that I'm going to put in a protective case anyway. or a phone I can walk around pouring champagne on (such idiocy). I DO need a swappable battery, a headphone jack and the I/R blaster (yes, I use it). all functions makers are removing while charging more. and that's utter bullshit IMNSHO

    • Preach it brother! Only reason I still use my LG V20 is swapable batteries. I travel every few months and I will not start hunting for an outlet in an airport because by phone died all of a sudden. I usually carry one spare just in case I need more than 12 hours and if I travel I always have 3 batteries for those long overseas flights.

      Sure I could carry one of those battery chargers, but they are bulky and very inconvenient.

      The only reason companies are dropping the ability to swap your batteries is planned obsolescence. After 2 years those phones with clued in internals are as good as trash. Very sad they also cost 900$+

      So yes, this article is idiotic. There is a real need for phones you can swap your batteries. Until you have a phone with a battery that lasts a week and will not decay over 2 years I am not swapping to any new phone... frankly it would be a downgrade!

      Can't understand why there isn't a super premium phone with swapable batteries, I would pay 1000+ for the option if it also came with an sd card!

    • I've since swapped the G5 for an LG Stylo 3 Plus.... the battery is less of a pain to swap out, I like the stylus.... too bad the camera isn't as good.

  • ****** all phone manufacturers...don't expect you will gain smart customer using this cheap trick of yours..do you think planned obsolence will bring any benefit to you huh?? What a bullshi*...perhaps you can only do that when everything you believe in is just fucking money...******

  • I was hoping that this article would reveal some magic technology I've been missing but managed to cite not even one reason why I don't need a rechargeable battery.

    I'll give you a good reason. I was using the battery-hungry Google Maps on my phone in Rome, miles away from my hotel, when the battery died. Thanks to having a Note4, I carry a spare charged battery, popped it in and was on my way to the restaurant. I would have been dead in the water without it.

    And, wrong, a lot of us DON'T have two-year "free phone replacement" contracts. I own my phone and with new smartphones costing as much as a decent laptop computer there's no way I can afford to ditch my phone every 24 months just because the battery won't take a charge anymore. Again, thanks to my seven year-old Note4, I just buy a new battery for like $9 every year.

    I intend to nurse this Note4 until it dies of old age. And I have another spare I bought on eBay when that happens. What's next? Cars you have to replace when it needs an oil change?

  • This article is COMPLETE BS. We know the reason why: planned obsolescence. Batteries are always the first thing to go and we KNOW the phone companies expect this to lead to increased sales.

  • I have a Galaxy S5. I've had it about 5 years. I've changed the battery 5 times because the reception at work has been terrible. I've gotten into the habit of turning off data when I'm not actively using it. Just 2 months ago, the reception got better. I don't know if Verizon did that or work bought a base station. If I get 3 years off the battery I just put in, I will consider buying a phone with a glued in battery. I may require a battery warranty to go there.

  • I own a 2014 Samsung Galaxy Note 4, with a removable battery and extra micro-sd card slot. If it keeps lasting, I'm good to roll with this for years to come. A non-removable battery means clearly that the phone is not worth having, that it has planned obsolescence baked right into it. And having to manually reset a phone that has locked up when you can't remove the battery? Nightmare. There is no good argument for non-removable batteries...as this boneheaded article abundantly, unintentionally proved.

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