Monday, December 19, 2011

Light Versus Moderate Versus Heavy Use

When I read reviews, good and bad ones, of mobile devices, one think I like to concentrate on is the battery life.  And with battery lives, it's very subjective.   There is no universal standard for this.  It is probably easier to do this on the iPhone and other iOS devices but not so with other mobile platforms that have more than one handset.  I'm talking about Android, Windows Phone, and whatever other platforms that are still left competing in the mobile market.

So, I find it a bit irritating when reviewers talk about their moderate or heavy use.  I know that I've discussed this in passing on other posts regarding batteries and battery technologies, however, I feel these reviews are a disservice to the end-users of there is no concrete description by the reviews on what these subjective definitions of battery uses are.

What has started me on this has been the reviews for Galaxy Prime and, before this, the battery issues that some iPhone 4S users have reported.  So, I'm gonna lay down some ground work on what light, moderate, and heavy mobile uses are and you let me know what you think.

Light.  That mean you hardly use your device at all.  You take a couple of calls at a minute or two and, perhaps, you check your voicemail.  Then you get a couple of texts or e-mails and you answer them throughout the day. You'll also check the weather and stock prices through the day.  Maybe dabble with Google+ instead of stocks.  Also, you scan your Google Reader on the latest mobile news.  That's your day.  And on days you do go out, you check-in on Foursquare.  That's light.  Maybe there is some gaming going on but no more than five to ten minutes.  You also use your device to listen to about two hours of music.  Catch up New Girl on Hulu Plus.

With this kind of use, you'll have no problem knowing your iPhone or Galaxy S II will take you through the day with plenty of juice left on that battery indicator.

Moderate.  You do all of the above in light except do you it more often  A lot more often. You take pics and maybe two minutes or so of video.  You also school Alec Baldiwn in Words with Friends and about thirty minutes of gaming.  You also chat for about a thirty minutes by voice.  And you also IM a bit or send message on Groupme or Whatsapp here and there.  Maybe a friend will e-mail you a Youtube video and you watch it or you watch a drama episode on Netflix.  Or instead of watching a video, you FaceTime or video Skype about 10 minutes.  Of if you're like me, you also take your mobile device with you on a run as you play some music or podcast with you as you use the GPS to track you.

By the end of the work day, you should could end up with anywhere from 25-30% left on your device.

Heavy.  You're a moderate user except you do a lot of gaming and watch a bunch of video.  You somehow found time to watch a two hour movie on Netflix while still managed to get in an hour of gaming.  You still chat for about 30 minutes (who talks for more than that anymore on the phone?) and you also do a lot of writing and some productive work on your device.  You also use a lot of social apps updating your peeps on what you're up to or thinking.  

By end of lunch, you're probably down to about 40% or less and you're getting nervous if that'll last you through an hour's run with GPS on and music playing.  

I would say I'm a light user on most weekdays and a moderate user on weekends.  Note that I've not mentioned if the uses above is on a 3G or Wi-Fi network.  I'm assuming about 50-50 on this.  And you can forget about LTE – you'll need to take whatever numbers above and reduce your battery usability by 2-3 times because from my weekend of researching about battery life on the Galaxy Nexus and other LTE devices, that is just how bad they are right now.

So, I've laid some groundwork on what each category of mobile activity to measure the battery life.  Right now, there seems to be some consensus that the iPhone's battery life lasts longer than Android.  Maybe.  To me, it might be just a tad better compared to some of the high-end 3G Android phones.  And we can forget about comparing the 3G Androids and iPhones to the LTE devices when it comes to battery life.  There is just no comparison.

If anything, these reviews on mobile devices need to be more clear about what their uses are when they are trying to convey to us what their subjective views are on the battery life.

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