24 hours on the EVO power plan

7:15 pm, Thursday, August 26th. That’s when my new Seidio Innocell 3,500mAh extended EVO battery finished its first charge, according to my EVO 4G. I expected a major improvement in my gadget’s daily lifespan after installing the roughly $70 (with shipping) brick. After all, it should hold more than twice as much juice as the 1,500mAh battery that shipped with my phone. But this isn’t just about extending battery life and minimizing hassles: I’m on an all-out mission to make my EVO 4G a reliable, heavy-use workhorse that I can push all day long without worry of getting stranded, disconnected. So when that battery finished charging, I installed Juice Defender, Ultimate Juice (the €3.79 – as of this writing – add-on that unlocks some JD features), and Juice Plotter, which provides visualization of battery usage over time. Here I am, 24 hours later, with 51% battery left. For the last full day, I have not turned the phone off or plugged it in. [EDIT: That is, aside from a 10-minute USB connection for capturing screenshots, which explains the brief spike in the Plotter image below.]

That’s pretty amazing, right? During that time, I was on the phone for over an hour, sent and received a dozen or so text messages, took a handful of pictures, listened to MP3s until I fell asleep, browsed the webs, installed applications, and sent and received around ten emails. Granted, I didn’t play games or use GPS and I only turned 4G on and then immediately off, as needed. Still, I would say the prospects for this set up are pretty good.

If you own an EVO 4G, you already know what an incredible detractor battery life is to the appeal of the handset. The WiMAX radio and that giant display need power, and lots of it. I used to charge it for a couple of hours in the morning, as it was always dead from standing by over night. Then I would charge it in the car while taking my wife to work or if I had to run some errands. Then I would use it for a few hours during work, after which it would be plugged back in for an hour or two so I could finish out the day with my phone and listen to audio in bed. If you have the phone, your details are different, but the pattern is the same: use, charge, use, dead. For those of you without an EVO, battery life was referred to by many a high profile tech site as “the deal-breaker.” Yes, battery life is a daily, constant concern for owners. And as much as I love the phone, that’s the topic that came up whenever someone asked for my opinion. It still will be the topic of discussion when someone asks me about EVO, but now, I’ll have suggestions rather than criticism alone. (cont.)

Function over fashion…

Attractive, it isn’t. And the hump-compatible cover that came with my monstrous new battery doesn’t fit as snugly as the one HTC originally provided: the edges aren’t exactly flush with the rest of the body. Nevertheless, I’ll take this over a dark, dead screen any day. And keep in mind that I haven’t even experienced the Seido’s full potential yet. As I learned with my first extended battery, you need to completely charge, then drain a battery like this at least once before the entire capacity can be used. Two or three cycles are recommended. Add on a few extra minutes to my current results for the additional cycles and then cross the minutes off and consign them to the days when I will play games, and you can get a pretty good idea of how this battery with JD will perform on average. I don’t really consider GPS navigation a factor because I’m always plugged into the car’s power source for that.

For those that want similar results, I’ve set Juice Defender to enable 3G data for 2 minutes every 30 minutes (this will not effect text messages), to disable data and WiFi when I’m sleeping, to enable both when the screen is on or a download is occurring, and to disable WiFi when I’m more than 50 meters from my router. It’s a pretty standard setup and required minimal adjustments from the JD defaults. There are other programs that offer similar features, but Juice Defender is my favorite. I’ve seen improvement in the software over time and the delays in reconnecting (whether they were the fault of my old phone or the program) that caused me to stop using the app for a bit are no longer an issue. One feature that I would like to see added is support for 4G control, as that’s the one toggle i’m performing manually at this point – everything else is automatic.

Sure, my phone looks a little funny, but it actually seems a bit more stable when resting on a solid surface. And as long as I have the screen facing my leg, I can’t tell a difference when the EVO’s in my pocket. Maybe I’m trying to downplay the cons because I’m so happy with the pros, but if you’ve spent much time with an HTC EVO, you’re probably ready to do the same.

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