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We expect a lot out of our mobile phones. And, considering the price they often carry, there is nothing wrong with that. But, now that we have begun demanding globally positioned, Gigahertz clocked dual core powered, multimedia centric devices in our pockets, that are still expected to handle constant voice and text transmission, one aspect certainly has lost some expectation - that of battery life. Gone are the days of yore, when it was normal for a cellular phone to last nearly a week without a charge. In, however, is juggling multiple batteries and strategically placed charging devices. But, do we have to accept the OEM forced burden of our stock batteries lasting half a day at near idle usage? Today, we are going to look at an alternative battery pack for the powerhouse known as the HTC Sensation. LaptopMate’s Anker battery promises to provide 1900 mAh in the same form factor as HTC’s 1520 mAh standard battery. Hopefully, at such an unbelievably affordable price, the Anker will manage to, at the least, hold its own against the stock battery.
Specifications / Features:
• Capacity: 1900 mAh
• Weight: 2.1 ounces
• Warranty: One year warranty
• Over-charge/discharge protection
Amazon Technical Details
Lowest current price is $11.99 @ eBay
Considering the price of the product and the relatively unknown status of the manufacturer, my jaw dropped when I saw the packaging. It is incredibly professional and looks fit to be displayed in an actual, retail T-Mobile corporate store. The care put into packaging definitely speaks to the caliber of the manufacturing party - hopefully this is no exception. The battery is protected, but displayed through a hard plastic window. The are loads of specifications and quality management certification details on the packaging (along with a small "made in China" note). I am, however, somewhat concerned with the "six months warranty" notice printed on the front of the box. This conflicts with the "one year warranty" displayed on the official LaptopMate Amazon and eBay listings. The "manual" also mentions the product as having a full, "one year warranty". I'd definitely like LaptopMate to clarify that and correct the misleading packaging.
I'm thankful to see LaptopMate proudly advertising their support information, but the warranty discrepancy has me slightly worried; you can see it mentioned in the description text on the back of the packaging.
Inside the Packaging:
I really like how the packaging opens. You peel the blue tab labeled "open" back and then are free to remove as much of the back of the packaging as you need to; this definitely makes extracting the battery quick and painless. The battery isn't padded, but freely floats around the inside of the container, so I am a little worried about damage due to crushing during transit. Thankfully, the unit itself is wrapped in a small plastic wrapper. But, again, that won't protect it from applied force. Interestingly enough, LaptopMate included a miniature "manual" with the Anker battery. Besides more support information and the one year discrepancy, the manual mentions a few neat tidbits and a lot of misleading "tips". I'm happy to see that the battery is CE approved, meets ROHS standards, and has liability insurance - definitely things you wouldn't expect from an inexpensive Chinatech battery. I am, however, disappointed to see the manual perpetuate a myth regarding Lithium-ion batteries.
A lot of people belief that Li-ion's have a "memory effect". Only older NiCd batteries have this issue. As such, based on the chemical characteristics of Li-ion, performing a "full charge and discharge" of "your new battery for 4 to 5 times" will actually harm the battery. You do not need to "refresh" or "condition" your battery. In fact, Li-ion batteries should be trickle charged and shouldn't drop below 20% to maintain longevity. Not only that, but you shouldn't store a battery empty or full but at around 40% and in a cool environment. Li-ion batteries wear fastest when kept in an empty or full state. If you'd like to read more about battery technology, please see this Wikipedia entry - it is very important! I'm also worried about this disclaimer - "do not charge the battery over 24 hours, <sic> overcharging may shorten its lifetime". Doesn't the battery have, as advertised, "Over-charge/discharge protection"? I suppose it should stop charging once the voltage stabilizes, eh? It's nice, however, to see them mention that unused batteries should be used at least once every three months - this much is true.
The Anker Itself:
You're probably wondering how it is physically possible for a battery of the same dimensions to have a 25% higher mAh rating (1520 mAh to 1900 mAh). Because, they don't quite have the same dimensions. Length and width-wise, they fit the HTC Sensation's battery socket exactly the same. In terms of thickness, when recording the measurement at the midpoint, the OEM battery is 4 mm, whereas the Anker battery puffs up to a larger 6 mm. No worries, however, the back plate has absolutely no issues fitting - if anything, it fits much better. It might even reduce creaking issues for some users reporting them. Additionally, while I didn't have a precise enough scale, the Anker battery does feel slightly weightier. For the size, don't be fooled, Anker definitely maximized the stock, slim battery's possible specification.
Unfortunately, there isn't a battery benchmarking suite for Android - no "Neocore BatteryMark" exists yet. So, I had to devise my own, repeatable, semi-quantitative benchmark. Firstly, I drained the battery to 20% after a full charge, then, after turning off fastboot and pulling the battery, I re-charged the battery, with the device off, until the green indicator displayed. After such time, I turned the phone on and confirmed a complete 100% charge via the "Android System Info" application. Next, with the device still plugged in, I set the power saver warning to 20%, maxed the screen brightness, disabled timeout, turned GPS, WiFi, and Bluetooth on. After doing so, I launched "n64oid" and closed all other applications (including background applications) besides n64oid and Android System Info. Next, I loaded one of my favorite arcade games, "Rush 2", and unplugged the device. The minutes recorded represent the amount of the time that the device was able to run with the introduction sequence of Rush 2 playing from 100% to 20% battery life. I call my creation - "Rush Drain"!
I had expected the Anker battery to only last about 150 minutes. I was so startled by these results, I re-ran the test for the Anker battery and received roughly the same results. I am absolutely astonished at how well this battery performed. 34.4% is a large improvement for a battery of nearly the same dimensions. Not only was the performance fantastic, but at various marked intervals, I felt the bottom of my phone - the Anker battery managed to stay substantially cooler than the HTC battery during all intervals. This is great, because Li-ion technology definitely prefers cool temperatures and the stock battery is known for running exceptionally warm.
You are probably wondering, however, what this really means for day-to-day usage. Through my qualitative, non-measurable experience with both batteries, I can say this: under normal phone usage, you can expect (and should expect) roughly a three to four hour increase in longevity. If your phone is mostly idle, you should be able to keep an uptime of around 24 hours without having to charge the phone - which is definitely a major improvement for the casual user.
For the first time ever, I think my verdict goes without saying. The OEM battery can be found for $29.99~39.99, the Anker battery can be purchased for $9.99~14.99 - an enormous price difference. The battery lasts nearly 30% longer and runs substantially cooler than its HTC counterpart. Besides some confusing warranty information (I am still surprised it even comes with a warranty), the Anker 1900 mAh battery leaves me wondering if HTC's engineers are cheating everyone that purchases a phone from them. I'm definitely puzzled by the economics and value of the two products against one another. Does the HTC logo cost that much to print?
Lasts longer than the OEM battery
Runs cooler than the OEM
Price is incredibly fair
Warranty details confuse me
Future pricing worries me - will they try to drastically raise the price?