Since I got my Android phone in May, I figure it’s a good time now to revisit my earlier review.
After six months of having my phone, I established a routine I’ll call the Battery Anxiety Lifestyle. I would drive to work, about a 40-minute drive, and between unplugging from my charger when I woke up and getting to work, I’d have already lost anywhere from 5-10% of my charge. By noon, I was down to about 70%, and by the time I got done with lunch, I was at 50% and entering “power saving mode”. I’d plug in to re-charge and by mid afternoon I’d be back up to 100%, and have enough battery to get me through an evening of being not umbilicaled to a wall socket. And, well, as long as I got home by around midnight or so, I’d be down to around 20-50% depending on how much I used the handset in the evening.
Plainly, the Samsung Galaxy S2 is geared toward a sedentary lifestyle, where you’re never inconvenienced by having to sit tight by a wall outlet for a couple hours. At least, that’s how it works if you actually use your phone.
I got sick of that, and last week I broke down and bought a $60 extended battery from Amazon. It’s a Seidio 3800mah and today was my first day with it in, and I feel liberated. I didn’t have to charge in the middle of the afternoon, and I’m still above 50% charge at 8:30pm. I really have to wonder why this isn’t the way it is for everyone, why you have to spend another $60 to get a special battery to have a phone that you can actually use.
The biggest problem with this bigger battery is that it requires a bulging back plate. Now, I don’t mind the added mass or bulk at all, but no one seems to make any kind of protective armor case that will fit the handset with the extended battery in place. So I have to adjust to transitioning from Battery Anxiety to Drop Paranoia. To try to protect the handset a little, I bought a soft, silicone rubber case for around $3, and cut out the back of it so the bulkier backplate protrudes outward. It basically gives me a bumper around the edge of the phone, which I hope will be adequate protection in the event I drop it on a hard surface.
I really don’t like this solution, for a number of reasons: One, the cutting job I did looks like a sixth grader’s shop project. Two, I don’t think it fits or protects as well as before I cut it. Three, it covers the side buttons for power and volume. You can feel them through the case, and press them still, but it feels a lot less precise. Still, I consider the battery capacity to be essential, and so I’ll have to live with it. I’m usually very careful and protective of my handset and don’t drop it very often, so hopefully it’ll hold up.
Before I switched to the bulkier battery, I was using a hard Body Glove case that I liked a lot. This chopped soft silicone boot is passable, but inferior. I really want there to be armored cases designed for extended battery covers! No one seems to make them, and they should. Really, the extended battery should be mandatory, and ruggedized phones should be mandatory as well. I don’t understand how people can get by with a dinky battery and an unprotected handset. There’s a ton of accessories out there for the Galaxy SII, yet no one makes an armored protective case for an SII using an extended battery. There should be. Most people with an extended battery would buy one, and their existence would probably boost sales of the batteries.