Why is cell phone autonomy not limited to mAh counting?


One of the most important features of a cell phone is the battery life. Typically, the description of smartphones tries to impress by the large milliamp-hour (mAh) count, a unit of measure for the capacity of the batteries. But would that be enough to determine the capacity of a cell phone?

As you may already imagine, the answer is “no”. The entire body of the device impacts autonomy, the battery being only one of the determining elements in this regard. The number of cameras, the display, the screen technology, the native applications and, most importantly, the processor are other powerful agents in energy consumption and must be taken into account.

But what are mAh?
The milliampere-hour, a unit of measurement 1 thousand times smaller than the ampere-hour, determines how much current can be transmitted in 1 hour: 1 mAh provides 1 mA per hour. In a hypothetical situation – and in an ideal scenario – if a smartphone consumed 1 mA per hour and had a 5,000 mAh battery, it would stay 5,000 hours without needing a recharge.

However, the power consumption of a cell phone goes beyond 1 mA per hour and varies both with the style of use and the components that equip it. Therefore, two people can have the same smartphone, but their experiences with recharging can be totally different, just as devices can withstand more hours away from the socket even with less mAh in their composition.

The relationship of the processor to the battery
Although a cell phone has a generous 5,000 mAh and this feature promises more than 24 hours outside the charger, it is not the only one responsible for this feat. In similar usage scenarios, hardware differences become the main factors in battery life – and the processor is an important element in the composition.

In general, the more powerful the processor, the more power it consumes. This is due to the ability to handle information, the amount of background tasks and power plans determined by the manufacturer. So cheaper phones stay on longer? Neither. Chip construction factors, such as architecture and lithography, significantly impact energy consumption.

Price range and its benefits
It is much more common to find entry phones or intermediaries that promise more than 1 day without a recharge and use this as a highlight for sale. This phenomenon is due to the characteristics of this market; typically, consumers in this price range have very well defined needs for a cell phone.

The number of pixels on the screen, the refresh rate, the number of cameras and their megapixels and connectivity (3G, 4G or 5G) are determinants for battery life – and are a problem in high-end mobile phones.

Research is the greatest ally
Studying the cell phone’s behavior, understanding its components and following technological advances becomes the best tool to determine which device has the “best battery”. It is necessary to understand the user’s needs and how much he is willing to spend on the new smartphone to make a good purchase.


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