Archive for the ‘Battery Life’ Category

How to improve the battery life of the Nokia Lumia 800   2 comments

If you’re one of the first Nokia Lumia 800 owners in South Africa, you might have noticed that that the battery don’t last very long. The first full day, and I am not meaning “heavy usage” full day playing angry birds but just a normal full working day, the battery died by 15:30. Dissapointing then…

I then Google’d or should I say Bing’ed (sounds like something to do with alcohol) the subject. Apparantly there is quite a bit one can do to extend your device’s battery life without compromising its usability to much.

Update, update, update:

First things first, Nokia has already admitted that there’s a problem with the Nokia Lumia 800’s battery performance (another sign that the company is focussing more on customer service) on their support discussions website. Basically to know if your phone has a problem, open the “Phone” application, and dial ##634#. This will open the diagnostics tool. Accept the disclaimer and select “Battery Status” from the list of options. The Full Charge Capacity should read 1400 mAh or over. If it does, there is no problem and your phone is not affected.

Nokia promised a fix in their next software update, which has already arrived. If you want to see what update you have installed or what software version you currently have on your Lumia 800, just select Settings>System>About and then select the box for “More information”. If the “Firmware revision number” is 1600.2483.8106.11500, you already have the latest Nokia update for Lumia installed. To make sure that your Lumia 800 stays up to date go to Settings>Phone Update and select “Notify me when updates are found”. Then, as soon as a new update is available, your phone will automatically display a notification. Also worth noting is that Nokia  also confirmed customer’s concerns regarding audio and camera settings and are going to address those in a series of future updates. If an update’s available you can update your device by connecting it to Zune software (download link here) on your PC or even Mac.

Not all charges charge the same:

Nokia also had the following to say about which chargers to use: “Always use the original Nokia Fast USB Charger AC-16 or the Nokia Charging and Data Cable CA-185CD that came with your Lumia 800, as they are specifically designed to charge the Lumia 800 as efficiently as possible. Only a charger with an output of 1000mA will fully charge your Lumia 800 battery.” It is important to note that that excludes most Nokia chargers which shipped with older Nokia’s as well as most car charges. The only Nokia car charger I managed to find that fit’s the 1000 mAh bill is the Nokia Dual USB Car Charger DC-20. It’s available  from expansys.co.za for R244.99 and is pictured below:

Software settings options:

Now that the permanent “fixes’ are well, fixed, we can move to the small things that have a huge impact.

First off Nokia advises us to Turn on Battery Saver. Select Settings > battery saver. Note when Battery Saver is on, your phone will no longer automatically receive email and calendar updates, update some Live Tiles and allow apps to run in the background. So basically only activate this when you want to be cut off from the world but still want to be able to play angry birds. Like for instance when your camping:)

Some of their other pointers are rather more usefull. The next part of their adivse basically revolves around managing your connections as you need them. Nokia advises you too:

  • Stop your phone scanning for available Wi-Fi networks if those are not available. Select Settings > WiFi > Off.
  • Switch Bluetooth on only when you need it. Select Settings > Bluetooth.
  • Use network connections selectively. For example, if the signal strength of the mobile network varies much in your area, your phone must scan for the available network repeatedly. This increases the demand on battery power. If the 3G connection is on in the mobile network settings, your phone searches for the 3G network. To switch off the 3G connection, select Settings > mobile network, and deactivate the 3G connection.
  • Use a Wi-Fi connection to connect to the internet, rather than a mobile data (GPRS or 3G) connection.
  • Switch off your phone or switch flight mode on whenever phone is not needed, for example, while you are sleeping. Note that the alarm clock is not active if the phone is off!

This all sounds like a lot of effort. and invloces accessing Settings > etc. > etc. There is a much easier way though with a free App called “Connectivity Shortcuts“:

As can be seen above, it summarizes all the above settings in one place. So for instance, I have a WiFi network at home, so when I am at home the WiFi on my Lumia is activated while the 3G data connection is not. When I leave home, I turn the WiFi off and the 3G data connection back on. It’s easy, quick and it makes a massive difference.

If that’s not enough to get the battery life you want out of your smartphone, there is more you can do:

  • Reduce the frequency of email synchronization. Select Settings > email+accounts > YourEmail > Download new content. The shortest time available is 15 minutes which is quite short but it has a large impact as your smartphone doesn’t have to have an active data connection all the time.
  • Use a dark theme. Select Settings > theme > Background > dark. Select also dark theme in applications that offer an option.
  • Disable unneeded background applications. Select Settings (swipe left to applications tab) > background task
  • Use wired headphones, rather than the loudspeaker.
  • Switch off “connect with Xbox LIVE” when not needed. Select Xbox LIVE > Settings > Connect with Xbox LIVE. You avatar won’t be visible, but for those of us mostly only accessing Xbox to kill some time with Angry Birds don’t need it to be on all the time.

Some not so good advise:

  • Reduce the screen brightness. Select Settings > brightness > Level. Disable the automatic feature first. The brightness level also affects the Automatically adjust functionality. I am of the oppinion that this won’t help all that much as your Lumia 800 isn’t on all the time, and robbing the excellent clear black display of some of its vibrancy will take a lot out of the overall experience. So in my oppinion the reward isn’t worth the saccrifice this time around.
  • Switch off location services if not needed – so the phone will not look up your location frequently in the background. Select Settings > location > Off. Locations based services plays a large part in everything you do on your Lumia. Not only does Nokia drive use it, but bing also uses your location to provide more locally relevant search results. So again, I don’t think it’s a wortwhile option, but that’s only my personal opinion.
  • Switch off unwanted sounds and functions, for example Vibrate. Select Settings > ringtones+sounds. With the loadspeaker not all that loud, turning off vibrating to me seems like a recipe for missing import calls.

At the end of the day I am convinced that one only needs a full day’s worth of battery life from your device, as it too deserves to recharge at night while most of us are sleeping 🙂

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