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Why replaceable batteries are overrated

The fact that a smartphone has a replaceable battery is not so important. However, this is not just what I think: this is the consensus that has come out of an AndroidPIT reader survey. The survey, conducted on the German AndroidPIT portal, showed that readers think microSD card support is actually more important. Let’s take a deeper look at the results.

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Readers have voted on what they think of removable batteries. / © ANDROIDPIT

The survey has raised questions about the relevance of removable batteries in general, whether in Europe, Asia or the United States. It asked readers to respond to questions about what they thought of different components and functions of Android smartphones and whether they were important or not. One question, for example, was whether Android phones could do without removable batteries.

So what were the results? A replaceable battery was very important for only 27 percent of the 2,300 respondents. For 20 percent, a replaceable battery was considered an important purchase criterion. The remaining 54 percent of voters stated that it was of lesser importance or simply unimportant. Reader comments also indicated that battery capacity was an important topic, whether regarding removable units or not.

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AndroidPIT readers recommend a power Bank instead of an interchangeable battery. / © ANDROIDPIT

microSD card slots are important

Unlike removable batteries, expanding smartphone memory through microSD cards was considered almost indispensable to survey voters. Overall, 74 percent of respondents stated that, for them, memory expansion was very important or important. For 19 percent, it was of lesser importance and for 8 percent, microSD support was unimportant.

"More memory never hurts when it’s available," wrote one reader in the comments. But a phone’s internal memory also had a bearing on the importance of microSD support. Another reader commented that: "a microSD card is important to me with up to 32 GB (of internal memory), but from 64 GB I do not care."

androidpit sd cards 7
microSD cards are very relevant for Android. / © ANDROIDPIT

A faster processor is significant

The idea that flagship smartphones will be powerful is a given. How powerful is not always so relevant. When buying a smartphone, processor speed is obviously an important criterion. In our survey, 87 percent of the more than 2,300 participants indicated that a faster processor was very important or important. Only 12 percent voted that it was of lesser importance.

One reader commented that speed was not critical: "What good is the fastest processor if it isn’t fully utilized in the smartphone?". Some readers want a phone that runs apps and works reliably, rather than to play complex 3D games or edit video.

The camera is crucial

Smartphone manufacturers are investing more in developing better cameras for their devices. For 40 percent of the more than 2,300 respondents, the camera was very important. For 41 percent, it was important and for only 18 percent of participants it was of lesser importance or unimportant.

"Camera, memory and CPU are purchasing criteria that determine my choice", one reader commented. Another wrote: "The camera must be very good as it has now replaced the compact camera."

androidpit huawei p9 plus dual camera
The Leica cameras of the Huawei P9 Plus. / © ANDROIDPIT

For other readers, the camera was not as important. This was because, for professional photography or accident documentation, a professional camera was considered better.

The reason behind our survey was that almost all the major smartphone manufacturers have included different hardware in their phones this year, so we wanted to find out which of them were more relevant than others.

Did we forget an important feature? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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Readers' favorite comments

  • Paul d Scott May 12, 2016

    Yeah but Bob..
    i thought I was being small minded and bitter and sarcastic....
    as for the survey well it's tragic..
    it seems we accept non removable battery's, personally I find that totally unacceptable.
    My current device could easily last 5yrs but I'd need a new battery.... then again my current device is only going to receive security/software updates for 2 yrs after which it will be "obsolete":(?!) this is unacceptable..... like our throwaway disposable attitude to modern tech,
    just as unacceptable as poverty and the reasons for poverty, of which I'm acutely aware of.

  • Stephen Dawson May 12, 2016

    Having a second battery allows me more time between A/C power. And the charger port on my S3 broke. Now I charge my batteries externally. Otherwise I would have had to buy a new phone before I wanted to.

  • Thomas S May 12, 2016

    Sure, if you buy a new phone every year, it might not be an interesting feature. But for those (like me) who change their phone ever 2-3 years, it's important, because at the end, the battery will have a crapy autonomy.
    I bought a new battery for my S3 before giving it to my brother and the autonomy was like the first day although the phone was 3 yo. Impossible to do with an non removable battery.

  • Craig Lewis May 12, 2016

    The reason for having a replaceable battery is so you DON'T have to buy a new phone when the battery craps out! That's just foolish and wasteful! I like my Galaxy S4 and don't NEED to replace it as I can get a new battery for it. Nonreplaceable batteries simply tie the lifetime of your phone to the battery.

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  • Warren JB May 12, 2016 Link to comment

    I opened this article to find out, as the title says, why replaceable batteries are overrated. I don't think we really got an answer to that.

    I'm also tickled by the fact that one of the related article links, right at the top, is 'why you should choose a replaceable battery'. Do you think that if I clicked on it, it'd say "Hey, replaceable batteries are a thing. Some people in Germany think they're important"?

  • Thomas S May 12, 2016 Link to comment

    Sure, if you buy a new phone every year, it might not be an interesting feature. But for those (like me) who change their phone ever 2-3 years, it's important, because at the end, the battery will have a crapy autonomy.
    I bought a new battery for my S3 before giving it to my brother and the autonomy was like the first day although the phone was 3 yo. Impossible to do with an non removable battery.

  • Mark G. May 12, 2016 Link to comment

    I started with the my old faithful Galaxy S3 and now the excellent Galaxy S5, I've never had to replace the battery, my old faithful S3 is showing his age but it's more to do with the PCM than the battery.

    Personally I don't think I would need to replace the battery, I would return it under warranty as soon as any problems arose.

    Though I see why having a replacement battery for some is a good thing, that's why manufacturers produce different models with different hardware options, to slate and moan that every phone should have a replacement battery is silly.

    I agree with the other points, SD card is a must, even though I'm a big user of cloud storage and yes most Smartphones come With OTG so I can back up to USB or SD but having the extra storage in the device is a must since I have over 20GB of music and 10GB of videos then there are my documents etc, I can't afford a 128GB device so SD card is the best option.

    Peace ✌

    • Mark
      • Mod
      May 12, 2016 Link to comment

      If you have not changed the batteries in those two devices especially the S3 you should. You will be surprised at the difference in operation. As the battery degrades it looses not only MAH but voltage too. Which does effect the operation of the phone.

  • Having a second battery allows me more time between A/C power. And the charger port on my S3 broke. Now I charge my batteries externally. Otherwise I would have had to buy a new phone before I wanted to.

  • The reason for having a replaceable battery is so you DON'T have to buy a new phone when the battery craps out! That's just foolish and wasteful! I like my Galaxy S4 and don't NEED to replace it as I can get a new battery for it. Nonreplaceable batteries simply tie the lifetime of your phone to the battery.

  • Alex P. May 12, 2016 Link to comment

    you didn't mention which of the territories this survey is conducted and there are crores of people existing not just 2300 users who agreed something we should be generalising this topic rather than taking some 2300 people into consideration.

  • Alex P. May 12, 2016 Link to comment

    I think yes we need power banks because we can't find charging ports all the times and I also think removable battery is also needed because we don't know that the battery may get bulged and burnt and spoiled due to over heat and high electricity or circuit issues so we need a portable battery that can be replaced other wise we had to lose the entire phone every time this happens!

  • we always talk abt battery capacity or replaceable battery....why nobody talk abt innovation in batteries.....why we cant think abt a battery which is more powerful n can work for days........as phones are at best level similiarly we should talk abt innovation in batteries

    • Mark
      • Mod
      May 12, 2016 Link to comment

      They should do an article on that. I know there are a lot of new thing coming in the next few years. Changing the lithium for magnesium and new martials that will stop the degrading of the battery when it is charged.

    • Alex P. May 12, 2016 Link to comment

      I do agree with what you had said but no matter what it all depends on the Mah or the power capacity of the battery and changes should be done internally to the phone to make sure that the phone is been optimised for the battery capacity to make sure it lasts longer

  • welcome to the future... a 2yr life span, why bother with updates past 2yrs, or a decent battery life, we all have lots of disposable income to match lots of disposable technology...
    who wants last year's camera when this year's version is soo much better and as long as its "better" we're all happy...

    • Yeah sure every person in this world has enough disposable income for that. While a lot of Western people can doesn't mean that everyone can. The average Chinese or Indian doesn't have that much disposable income

      • Yeah but Bob..
        i thought I was being small minded and bitter and sarcastic....
        as for the survey well it's tragic..
        it seems we accept non removable battery's, personally I find that totally unacceptable.
        My current device could easily last 5yrs but I'd need a new battery.... then again my current device is only going to receive security/software updates for 2 yrs after which it will be "obsolete":(?!) this is unacceptable..... like our throwaway disposable attitude to modern tech,
        just as unacceptable as poverty and the reasons for poverty, of which I'm acutely aware of.

      • That is true I would still be using my nexus 5 if it wasn't for the terrible battery life. My sister used the same phone for 4 or 5 years but this was only possible thanks to the ability to easily change the battery.

      • Dean L. May 12, 2016 Link to comment

        Although a removable battery is great there is a price to be paid for that feature, size of the phone. I have 3 portable battery packs of which one is able to handle my tablet. At least for me having a replaceable battery used to be important until I realized that if your device is too old it becomes difficult finding one. My wife used her last smartphone which had a removable battery for almost 7 years & would still be using it if she hadn't dropped it.

        Maybe we need to encourage device manufacturer's work together to have a standard battery for all. Also fwiw you can usually find a service shop that can replace non removable batteries.

      • I don't mind some extra thickness. My galaxy note 1 had a 5000 mah battery which made it about 2cm thick and pretty heavy. It took some time to get used to but the battery life was devently worth it.

        A power bank is a option but I don't wanna carry around extra equipment everywhere I go

      • yes I've used a battery pack very useful, but given a choice I'd be more than than happy adding a few mm to the device...

      • Most people would be willing to have a bigger phone if it means a longer battery life. Slim phones is an Apple thing

      • The idea that a removable battery adds thickness or adds to the size of the phone overall has been proven a fallacy. My S4 was thinner than many phones that had sealed batteries, as was my G4 and now my G5.

        And yes, power banks are a wonderful thing. I got 3 a few years ago when tornados came through my area and knocked out power for several days. But power banks aren't meant to carry around with you constantly. It's amusing when I see so many people say that it's silly to carry around a spare battery but advocate carrying around a battery pack that is usually bigger and heavier than the phone itself as well as a USB cable and sitting around letting it charge.

        And yes, you can find places that will replace non removable batteries. The issue with that is the cost is several times what it would cost to purchase a spare battery for a removable battery.

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