It’s been about 7 months now since I purchased the Nexus S, and overall I’ve been very pleased about the phone (yeah, yeah detailed review soon. Promise!). However a point of bother has been the battery life- or the lack of it. While it’s better than my better than previous iPhone 3G, the stock Nexus S battery lasts just about a business day. By business day I mean about ~ 12-14hours (though I I do use it heavily - on an average ~3hours of music, about hour and half or so of browsing on 3G, checking mail, facebook, twitter every half hour or so). And my addiction to the phone means that the low battery life generally becomes a problem when I’m travelling.
Mugen Power Batteries, one of the most popular aftermarket battery manufacturers have brought out some high capacity batteries for quite a few mobile devices, including the Nexus S. Mugen were kind enough to send me a review sample of the Mugen Power Nexus S Extended Capacity 3300mAH Batteries, and I’ve been testing them for the past 3 weeks and have been quite pleased.
First, a look at the extended battery specifications:
Cell Type: Li-Ion
Capacity (mAh): 3300
In comparison the stock Nexus S battery is a Li-Ion, 3.7v 1500mAh battery. Theoretically, the battery capacity is about 2.2 times the stock battery. Unfortunately, this also means that the battery is quite thick - almost 2 times as thick as the stock battery. The thickness of the battery means that Stock Nexus S back cover will not fit over the extended battery.
Mugen has thoughtfully provided a replacement battery door. It’s worth pointing out that the replacement battery door also features a NFC Antenna so that you don’t have to worry about losing any functionality.
Build Quality, Weight & Thickness
A pet-peeve I’ve had with the Nexus S is that the plastic back door doesn’t seem to be very durable and there’s this constant fear of it breaking into two while trying to remove the cover. While the replacement back cover is still plastic, thankfully it has a more rugged & sturdy feel. To aid in easy removal of the cover, there’s a handy little notch at the top of the cover. The notch also assists in giving you a nice grip to remove the cover.
As mentioned earlier, the higher capacity battery is about 2 times as thick as the stock battery. This results in your very slim & slick Nexus S looking quite literally like a chalkboard duster. The battery also adds considerable weight to the phone. If you have trousers with rather tight pockets, the results are definitely not pretty and it’s going to look like a big bulge. The thickness also means that the phone will now be more susceptible to scratches from keys and the like.
Despite the bulk & thickness, the phone doesn’t feel awkard to hold, fits in your palms rather well.
For testing, rather than using any synthetic battery testing software or benchmarks, I subjected to my daily rigor. I consider my usage to be on the heavy side: on an average, my usage is as below:
- Auto sync, background data transfer enabled.
- Sync Accounts: Google Apps ( Mail, Contacts, Calender), Google Account(Picasa, Google+), WhatsApp, facebook(all contacts)
- Background apps: twicca, Skype, Latitude, Foursquare, Gtalk
- About 3 hours of music playback( app used: PowerAmp + VooDoo sound)
- Atleast 1.5 hours of dedicated Internet browsing( lunch time, while compiling)
- Checking up on tweets, facebook, Hacker News once every 45 minutes or so.
- About 1 hour of calls, 10 or so SMS
I subjected the battery to yet another torture test: one of my favourite features of the Android: Portable WiFi Hotspot. With the portable hotspot running for about 3 hours on 3G, the battery drain was about 25%. That’s just awesome.
On wifi tethering for past 3 hours(with 3G%
) the battery has drained by About 25%. @mugenbatteries extended battery packs lot of juice.