In October, we had one of the scariest frights of all – poor smartphone batteries were back in the news. Of course, this is great for charging companies… but really not helpful for people paying $1000+ for a new phone.
This is nothing new; Apple usually hogs the headlines with poor performance and battery life. We’ve addressed the ways that you can improve your iPhone battery in a previous post.
Recently, everyone was talking about one phone in particular. Google has just launched Pixel 4, which costs a pretty penny. But many reviewers and new users weren’t impressed by the size of its battery. In fact, some were so outraged they sent their phone back!
In this blog, we’re going to look into what went wrong with Google’s Pixel 4, and how it shapes up compared to competitors. Also read on if you want to learn how to deal with a bad phone battery!
What’s the Deal with Google Pixel 4?
Before we get into the specifics, lets answer some common questions:
When is Pixel 4 Coming Out?
Pixel 4 was released on October 24th, 2019. Pre-orders were open from October 15th, though the details of the phone got leaked on the Canadian Best Buy website.
That means you can buy it today (but we recommend you read this whole blog before doing that…)
How Much is Google Pixel 4?
What Happened with the Google Pixel 4 Battery?
Pixel 4 hasn’t really had the best start to life, with critics focussing on its great camera versus its small battery. In a time when people are rightly expecting phone batteries to be able to cope with day-to-day activities and special features the phone boasts, a poor battery life just doesn’t cut it.
The less than optimal preformance stems from the size of the phones battery. It is only 2800mAh in a phone that is small and light, but could take the extra weight without annoying anyone.
What Does a 2800mAh Battery Actually Mean?
Battery power is measured in mAh, or milliampere hour. It tells you how much charge a battery can hold, and so how long it takes before needing to be recharged.
There is a range of sizes, but generally we note that in a power bank, a 20000+mAh battery will last you a weekend. A 30000+mAh can even last a weeks’ worth of charges.
Our smallest power banks are 6750mAh, small enough to last a charge or two depending on the size of your phone battery.
A typical phone battery is around 3400mAh, and the trend has been to increase the size of these. That is, after all, what’s in demand from a public bored of having to charge their increasingly high-tech phones every few hours. Google’s choice of a smaller battery size goes against all of this.
Why Is the Google Pixel 4 Battery So Small?
Well… that’s one for Google to answer. As of yet, they haven’t said much.
Theories are flying around that it is partly to boost sales of the Google Pixel 4 XL, which is priced higher. Whilst we can’t confirm this, it is true that the Pixel 4 XL has a bigger battery that reviewers have said makes it a more pleasant phone to use.
Certainly, it’s a strange move. But if you want the latest Pixel phone (probably for the camera, or to work with your Chromebook) then we explain how you can deal with the poor battery life further on.
Pixel 4 vs 3A – What’s the Difference?
If you’ve already got a Google phone, you might be wondering if the Pixel 4 is worth it for an upgrade.
We’re not going to offer judgement, but what we will do is provide you with some quotes and specs so you can figure it out for yourself.
|Pixel 4||Pixel 3A|
|Dimensions (mm)||160.4 x 75.1 x 8.2||151.3 x 70.1 x 8.2|
|Colors||Just Black, Clearly White, Oh So Orange||Just Black, Clearly White, Purple-ish|
|Screen||5.7-inch Full HD+ OLED||5.6-inch Full HD+ OLED|
|Display||19:9 aspect ratio, adaptive 90Hz refresh rate||18.5:9 aspect ratio|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 855||Qualcomm Snapdragon 670|
|Storage (GB)||64GB or 128||64|
So as you’d expect, the Pixel 4 in general is more advanced. But considering the poor battery life and other specs, reviewers have been saying things like…
Battery life was really poor. The Pixel 4 only lasts just over 14 hours between charges. Remove it from the charger at 7am and it will be dead by 9pm.The Guardian
…the less expensive Pixel 3a, which starts at $400, offers a similar experience — like a quality camera that can take great photos in the dark — for hundreds of dollars less.Business Insider
How Do You Keep Google Pixel 4 Charged?
Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to increase the battery size in the phone itself. The phone is designed to encase a 2800mAh battery; putting a larger one in would be essentially impossible, or effectively pointless. The effort and cost that this would take means you might as well buy the Google Pixel 4XL – or an iPhone, Samsung and so on.
There are, however, a few different ways you can prepare yourself if you reaaaaaally need a Pixel 4.
1. Get A Great Fast Charger
To fast charge any phone you need great cables, and an even better wall charger. And you can’t just use any old plug.
While more isn’t always more, we recommend getting a charger that can power all of your devices. A compact 61W wall charger, for instance, with PD GaN 3.0 technology, will charge your laptop as well as your smartphone. It’s also future-proofed, meaning you won’t have to replace your charger as you upgrade your phone.
The Pixel 4 is Qi enabled, meaning it supports fast wireless charging. This isn’t anything particularly special, as most leading phones also have this feature. What is better is that it supports up to 11W of wireless charging power for superfast charge!
This means that you can get wireless charging pads to scatter around your home and office, meaning you’re never too far away from a charge. They’re often quite small, so you won’t be taking up too much space either.
Our Recommendations: RAVPower’s 61W PD Pioneer GaN 3.0 Wall Charger, and Qi Wireless Charging Pad.
2. Get A Great Fast Charging Power Bank
If you’re on the move all day, or worried about losing power while you commute, you should look for a powerful power bank.
Whilst we’d normally recommend something light and portable, and you can certainly find that type of device quite easily, we’re thinking if you’re buying the latest smart phones you want something amazing to power it. If you’re a commuter, you might also want something that’s helpful if you’re using a laptop to work on the train.
As such, we recommend looking for a PD GaN power bank that is at least 30W and 20000mAh. They aren’t all bricks, and will be incredibly helpful if you’re stuck with low battery. Plus, if you and your colleagues have the Pixel 4 for work, it’s a great way for you all to stay powered!
Our Recommendations: RAVPower’s amazing 45W 20100mAh PD 3.0 Portable Charger!
3. Hope Over-Air Charging Comes Out Soon
One of the babies of the charging technology world is over-air charging. We’ve written about this in more detail here, but essentially this is technology that can keep your phone almost permenantly charged.
You would walk into a room that has an over-air charging device and, provided your phone is in a charging case, it will automatically stay at full power.
This would be a great answer, but unfortunately it doesn’t look like this sort of tech will be widely available for a few years yet.
What About 5G Extending Battery Life?
We’ve talked before about the impact of 5G on batteries. Or, more specifically, we’ve talked about how there really isn’t much evidence of this beyond theoretical ideas.
Unfortunately, this isn’t going to apply to you and your Pixel 4. It doesn’t support 5G, only 4G LTE.
The Pixel 4 might not have the best battery life in the world. But if this is the phone for you, then there are definitely ways around it! Pick up a great wall charger, a powerful power bank – or both! And your days will become a lot easier.