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Galaxy Note 4’s battery benchmarked, good results

Posted by wicked September - 29 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 already launched in its home market in Korea, so they are able to play around with the unit earlier than us. There are evidences that the new model will start hitting American shores by mid-October, so until then, we will have to be satisfied with benchmarks from Korea. This particular one is a battery test done with a Korean Galaxy Note 4 running an Exynos chipset.

Specifically this would be the Exynos 5433 octa-core chip, with a big.LITTLE architecture set of four 1.8Ghz Cortex A15 processors and four 1.4Ghz Cortex A7 processors. The battery tests had three iterations – first was a WiFi test with the phone’s stock browser being refreshed every 5 seconds. The second was a video playback test done by looping a 1080p .mkv on the Note 4’s default player. The last test was a graphics rendering test looping GLBenchmark 2.5’s Egypt HD C24Z16 test.

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With all these tests, we could say that those planning to buy the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 with its monster 3,220mAh battery should be relatively pleased. The Note 4 lasted almost 12 hours on the video test at 100% brightness, a bit more when brightness was lowered to standard viewing settings. This places the new model in the top 5 devices with longest battery life in this test. The Note 4 also lasted 7 hours on the WiFi test at max brightness, and a full 1.5 hours longer on standard brightness – again placing the device in the top tier of devices that last longer on this test. On the graphics render loop, the Note 4 lasted 3 and a half hours – this drops the Note 4 to the middle of the pack or better, still a relatively good place for it to be.

We have to remember that the Note 4 has a gigantic screen, and with that it still performed really well. The Note 4 also has a higher max brightness level than the Note 3. The only other question would be if the quad-core Snapdragon 805 would perform just as great as the Exynos chipset seems to have done.

VIA: Reddit

samsung galaxy s5 vs htc one m8 aa (15 of 19)

Recently we put together an infographic based on information we had collected from previous AA polls. The theme was whether or not the “spec war” was still as important as it once was. The vast majority said no, which falls in line with Motorola’s Rick Osterloh’s prediction that high-end, high-priced smartphones could eventually go the way of the dinosaur.

So if raw specs aren’t as important, what would we like to see improve instead? In our poll-based infographic an overwhelming 58% said battery life. We’ve also seen this sentiment expressed in various comment threads on our site, in our forums and across the web. In fact, whenever we report on a new handset attempting to claim the “thinnest ever” title, we usually see a number of comments saying that being thin isn’t as important as a good battery.

Of course, not everyone feels this way. Some folks are in their cars or homes a lot were they can constantly charge, others simply are willing to sacrifice battery life for thinness and perceived greater beauty. So how can OEMs appeal to both sides? The answer seems simple enough: create at least two different models for each major phone release, one that focuses on design and being thin, with another focusing on battery life even at the cost of a thicker body.

Honestly, this isn’t a novel concept, as we’ve seen Motorola offer up a “Maxx” version of its Droid family more than once, offering the same specs but with a much beefier battery. So what’s the downside here, and why aren’t more OEMs doing this? Other than potential added development and marketing costs (though probably minor), we can’t see too many downsides, though we admit we aren’t handset manufacturers so perhaps there is a bigger factor that we just don’t realize.

What do you think, would you like to see OEMs offer up a “Maxx” (or Plus, or BFB or whatever they want to call it…) variant for all major flagships, and even on some of their mid-rangers as well? How much of a premium would you be willing to pay over the standard ‘skinner’ model, if any?

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.
Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.

Samsung Power Sharing cable lets you spread the love

Posted by wicked September - 24 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

Have you ever suffered from battery envy? That’s when your friend or colleague still has his device fully charged or with high battery levels while yours is slowly petering out. Now if your friend is really nice, and you don’t have a power bank or any other way to charge your device, then Samsung’s newest accessory would come in handy. The Power Sharing cable lets you do exactly what its name suggests: share power between Samsung devices.

The accessory works simply enough: it shares power directly from one Samsung device to another that is needing a quick charge. So whether it’s a smartphone, tablet, Bluetooth headset or a wearable that’s needing a boost, you can now do so with the power of this cable. Not all devices however will be able to share their power. As of now, it’s just the following: Galaxy S 5, Galaxy Tab S 10.5, Galaxy Tab S 8.4, Galaxy Alpha, Galaxy Avant, and the Galaxy Note 4. But as to which can receive battery life, it’s actually any device that has a micro USB. So even non-Samsung devices can technically receive a power boost with this cable.

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The cable has arrows to indicate which way the power will flow from one device to another. To be able to control the amount of power that you want to share, you need to download the Power Sharing app. It monitors the progress of the power sharing as well as the aforementioned option as to how much power your device should share. After all, you need to also ensure your device will not run out of juice.

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You can download the app from the Google Play Store or the Samsung App Store. The Power Sharing cable is available for $19.99 through the Samsung online store, but may also be ordered through other online stores.

SOURCE: Samsung (1), (2)

Pixel Battery Saver turns off pixels to save power

Posted by wicked September - 23 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

There are times when we all want more life from the battery in our smartphone or tablet. An app called Pixel Battery Saver claims to be able to turn off pixels on your screen to reduce power consumption and make your battery last longer by overlaying a black mesh on the screen. The developer of the app says that some AMOLED screens on smartphones don’t work with the app, so your mileage may vary.

The app applies a black mesh look over the screen of the smartphone and the user can control the density of that mesh overlay. The quality of images on screen is reduced with the app active, but if all you need to do is check the time it might not matter. The app is offered in premium and free versions.

In the free version, the install button is disabled preventing the installation of other apps while Pixel Battery Saver is running. The developer says that is due to Android security and that in the premium version there is an option to get around that issue. The app was updated this month and the update brings a fix for a bug in the Navigation Bar Overlay.

Pixel Battery Saver is 2MB in size and is on version 1.3.2. The app requires Android 4.1 or higher and has been installed 1000-5000 times according to Google Play.

SOURCE: Google Play

Are nuclear batteries the future (if they won’t kill us)?

Posted by wicked September - 22 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

Whenever your mobile phone would run out of juice during crucial moments, didn’t you ever wish that someday, someone would invent a battery that would last not just for a few hours, days, months but for the rest of your life? But what if it would mean not having children anymore and maybe potential death from radiation exposure? Well if you will choose battery life over your own life, then there might be good news for you (and maybe bad news for your loved ones)!

A nuclear battery developed by two researchers from the University of Missouri doesn’t use the usual lithium ion cells that have caused you much frustration at one time or another. The battery uses the beta voltaic process, which generates electricity from beta radiation. So the battery doesn’t really use nuclear fission but it does emit radioactive elements. Beta radiation, while not the safest, is supposedly much easier to stop just by using a thin piece of aluminium. So this means you need to use a casing for the battery that is about 2 millimetres thick and should never be dropped (which rules out about half of cellphone users). There is still the risk of cancer, but hey, no need for charging anymore right?

Betavoltaic batteries have been used before, particularly in the earlier versions of the pacemaker. The two researchers, Baek Kim and Jae Kwon, added water to the equation, which absorbs some of the beta radiation and also splits the water molecules to increase efficiency. They said that this might eventually be of use for applications like car batteries and maybe even spacecraft.

Just don’t expect nuclear batteries in mobile phones anytime soon. It’s highly unlikely that it will ever be commercially produced, as even the common lithium-ion ones have already posed dangers to some users, with exploding and overheating batteries. But it was nice thinking of a phone that would never need charging right? Until you suddenly think of infertility and cancer and death.

VIA: Extreme Tech

LG now including extra battery and charging cradle with purchase of new G3

Posted by wicked September - 10 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

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According to a LG press release, the company will now be including an extra battery and charging cradle with the purchase of a new G3.

The promotional period starts today, but only goes until Sept. 22, so you have some time to decide if you want to go in on the G3.

The free extra battery and charging cradle are valued at a total of $70, so this is a pretty solid offering from LG.

Source: PR Newswire

Come comment on this article: LG now including extra battery and charging cradle with purchase of new G3

Motorola responds to Moto 360 battery discrepancy

Posted by wicked September - 9 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

motorola_moto_360_battery

Earlier today iFixit reported on the results of their teardown of the Motorola Moto 360. Achieving a score of only 3 out of 10 for repairability, Motorola was in for more criticism when the iFixit team noted the battery was labeled as 300mAh. This was at odds with Motorola’s stated specs for the device indicating it had a 320mAh battery. That is not a big difference, but given the battery already appears to be a weak point for the device, this discrepancy did not help and set off a mini-firestorm of complaints around the Internet. Motorola has now responded to explain the discrepancy.

According to Motorola, the batteries in their newer devices like the Moto X, Moto G and yes, the Moto 360, are assigned two values, a minimum and a typical value. For the Moto 360 battery, these values are 300mAh and 320mAh. Motorola says they normally print both values on their batteries, but in the case of the Moto 360 space constraints meant only one could be printed, which turned out to be the minimum value. Motorola also claims it is an industry standard to quote the typical value as the “official” size of the battery.

A quick Google search for images of the Moto X battery appears to support Motorola’s claim that two values are normally printed on batteries for their devices.

A Motorola spokesperson has acknowledged this could cause confusion and indicates the company will look into ways to present the information in the future.

source: Computerworld

Come comment on this article: Motorola responds to Moto 360 battery discrepancy

Random Google 7-inch “Tablet” Shows Up at FCC With NVIDIA Chip, Tiny LG Battery

Posted by Kellex September - 7 - 2014 - Sunday Comments Off

While we were busy flying around the country last week, checking out the new goodies from Samsung and Motorola, a reader of ours noticed that a “7-inch tablet” that is “powered by NVIDIA Tegra” and running an LG battery, stopped by the FCC under Google’s ID. The device is odd, to say the least.

The device falls under FCC ID A4R-NX74751, in case you want to go digging through the listing. It features some sort of NVIDIA Tegra chip, global roaming with LTE (bands 2, 4, 5, 7, and 17), and an LG-made battery that only weighs in at 2,480mAh. 

So what is it? Well, your guess is as good as ours. Maybe it is really a phone instead of a tablet? That battery is so small for a tablet. For example, the current Nexus 7 (2013) has a 3,950mAh battery and the brand new Moto X has a 2,300mAh battery. How could Google, LG and NVIDIA team up to produce a tablet that has a battery with 2/3 of the capacity of the previous Nexus 7?

The whole situation is odd and we really aren’t sure what to make of it.

We’ll see what else we can dig up. In the mean time, feel free to weigh in.

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Via:  FCC
Cheers Justin!

Random Google 7-inch “Tablet” Shows Up at FCC With NVIDIA Chip, Tiny LG Battery is a post from: Droid Life

Thanko portable charger doubles as an electric razor

Posted by Tom September - 4 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

If there are two things we can forget to do on a daily basis it’s charge our phones and shave.

Thanko has a solution to both: a 5,200mAh mobile battery for charging smartphones that doubles as an electric razor for shaving on the go.

The innovative charger is out in Japan at 3,980 yen (US $37) and can accommodate USB and microUSB cables.

Via akihabaranews

Android customization – Three battery saving tips using Tasker

Posted by wicked September - 4 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

Android Customization Tasker Battery Tips

So far in our Android customization series we have used tools to build designs and control your device with a reckless disregard for your battery life, we better do something about that. While battery life is an important topic for most Android users, it is very involved and will require that we look at it from a few different angles.

Over the years, we’ve shown off our best tips and tricks to manage your power consumption, today we will walk through putting some of those ideas to work using Tasker.

We will look at three aspects of your device today: WiFi, Bluetooth and Background Sync.

Before we get started

Get it on Google Play ButtonTo follow along today you will need to install Tasker, it is $2.99 in the Google Play Store.

Reduce battery consumption by turning off WiFi

Most of us step outside the house during our normal day, even if only to run to work or school, it is times like these that WiFi is probably not required. Unfortunately, Android is designed such that if WiFi is enabled, the device will scan for available WiFi networks, this can be brutal on battery life, so we best just turn off WiFi when we head out our front door.

If you followed along a while back, we actually already built a Tasker project to toggle on and off WiFi on your device. At that time, we used an element within a Zooper Widget to trigger the action.

If you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with Tasker, follow along the Zooper Widget tutorial to build your Task. For those that know what they are doing, the Task is simple:

Net -> WiFi -> Off.

Reduce battery consumption by turning off Bluetooth

With the explosion of Bluetooth connected smartwatches out there these days, you may never want to turn off your Bluetooth, but if you do not have Android Wear on your wrist, chances are you only use Bluetooth for specific tasks. If you are like me, you don’t mind manually turning on Bluetooth as needed, but you always forget to turn it back off. Tasker to the rescue.

Head into the Tasks tab of Tasker and start a new Task.

Tasker Bluetooth

Name it uniquely and concisely, I’ll call mine “KillBlue“.

Tap the “+” button to add a new action.

Choose Net.

Choose Bluetooth.

You can leave the settings as they are, Set as Off, and hit the system Back button to save and exit.

Reduce battery consumption by turning off Background Sync

It is extremely convenient that our Android devices are always connected, always checking for new emails and social media notifications and so much more, but this takes its toll on your battery. If you know you will not be checking messages for a time and want to save some juice, we can just turn off background sync.

You can always handle this manually through your system settings, but we like to automate with Tasker.

Tasker Background Sync

Create a new Task and name it uniquely and concisely, I’ll call mine “NoSyncing“.

Tap the “+” button to add a new action.

Choose Net.

Choose Auto-Sync.

Leave it Set to Off and hit the system Back button to save and exit.

When do we use these Tasks?

The true power of this project is deciding when to trigger these Tasks. For each of us, the answer will differ, some of us can kill WiFi and fire up Bluetooth when we connect to the dock in our car, some of us will use Location services to decide, and for many, today’s actions can be controlled based on the time of day. Let’s look at what a time based Profile might look like.

Turn off WiFi while you are sleeping

Don’t forget that we’ve already created a Sleep and Silent mode using Tasker, feel free to reference that for better instruction.

Navigate to the Profiles tab in Tasker and start a new Profile.

Choose Time and set your typical sleep hours. Perhaps you would like to set it for an hour or two after you normally go to sleep and an hour or two before you wake up, this way you do not miss anything, but your device still gets a few hours of down time.

Hit the system Back button to confirm and exit.

Choose your “WiFiOff” Task.

If you find that WiFi does not turn back on when the Profile finishes, create a new Task that turns WiFi back on and set it in the Profile’s Exit Task. We covered Exit Tasks here.

Using this same concept, you can create more Profiles to cover other times of your day. You could set WiFi to turn off during working hours, if you don’t have WiFi at the office, or whatever suits your needs.

Set Background Sync to a schedule

One of the best ways to control Background Sync is to put it on a schedule.

Tasker Background Sync Schedule profile

Create a new Profile in Tasker and again choose the Time option.

When choosing your time, turn off From and Until, instead activate Repeat and set it to, say, 2 Hours.

Tap the system Back button to confirm and exit.

Choose your “NoSyncing” Task.

To make this work properly, we will need to modify our “NoSyncing” Task to have four actions. And we get to learn about IF conditional statements.

Action 1: Tap the “+” button to create a new action, choose Task, then choose Stop.

Tap the “+” beside If.

Tap the little label icon and scroll down the list to find and tap on WiFi Status.

Tap the ~ and choose Doesn’t Equal.

In the last field, type “on“, without the quotes.

Tap the system Back button to save and exit.

Tasker Stop action IF statement

Action 2: Create an action that turns Background Sync on.

Net -> Auto-Sync -> Set On

Action 3: We must pause for a few minutes to let the Background Sync do its thing.

Tap the “+” button to create a new action, choose Task, then choose Wait.

Set a time value, I’ve gone with 5 minutes, which should be enough time for everything to sync. Tap the system Back button to confirm and exit.

Action 4: Turn Background Sync back off. You should already have this action in your “NoSyncing” Task, you can re-arrange the actions by tapping and dragging from the far right edge in the list.

Tasker Background Sync Schedule Task

As I am sure you see now, every two hours your system will try to check for messages. With the Stop action in place, Background Sync will only be activated if WiFi is turned on, otherwise it simply exits the Task and waits for next time.

What’s Next

I feel bad that today’s items only just scratched the surface of all of things that can be done to reduce battery consumption. Rest assured I will have more ideas, tools, tips and tricks coming, some will involve Tasker, but not all, and we will dive into some of the extras one can do with a rooted device.

Please spend some time and play with your WiFi, Bluetooth and Background Syncing needs in Tasker; as mentioned, you can turn each of these on and off based on location, time, availability of specific WiFi networks and Bluetooth devices and so much more. A quick word of warning, however, using location services, especially GPS, can sometimes actually use more power than you are trying to save.

Next week

We will continue with battery saving techniques next week on our Android customization series, perhaps we will take a look at those location services I just mentioned. With recent changes to the Android operating system itself, Tasker needs a little boost to be able to turn on and off GPS directly, we’ll take a look at how that works.

How do you like to manage your WiFi, Bluetooth and Background Sync settings?