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Friday, April 20, 2021

Here I am on a Friday night, sitting at home while tending my two little personal energy-vampires:

- My LG VX8100, the battery of which drained completely on me by late afternoon. It wasn’t totally unexpected — I had made a couple of calls on it, and it was on one battery-bar to begin with.

But why did I let it get so drained before recharging it? Because I can’t constantly recharge this phone, because according to the Verizon Wireless techs who checked it out, that would ultimately degrade the battery duration. So instead of just plugging it in every night and letting it juice up while I sleep — like I’ve done with every other phone I’ve ever owned — I have to basically set aside 2-3 hours to babysit the damn thing. And carry it around until it’s drained down to near-nothing. And make sure I don’t let it overcharge.

In short, I hate this phone. For no other reason, either. The other features are fine; the battery is the sole issue with it, and has been for a while. I’m at the point where I’m seriously considering buying a new phone, based solely on battery life and care. I’m in the middle of my contract, but I don’t think I can put up with this for another year. I’ll even downgrade in overall features, if that’s what it takes.

- Meanwhile, and less grievously, my iPod is sucking up electricity from my notebook’s USB port. It didn’t die on me today, but like the end of every other day, it was half-charged by the time I got home, and I’m betting that it wouldn’t make it through a full second day without a nightly recharge.

This 5th-generation iPod certainly needs more replenishment than the older models I’ve owned. There are a few reasons for that, aside from the acknowledged shorter battery potential in the latter-day slimmer models. Main one is that the screen gets more of a workout: Instead of never using the backlight, which was the norm with the older monotone screens, the current color screens require backlighting just to read them. I don’t have the backlight always on, but it is triggered every time I touch the scrollwheel, which is a few dozen times a day. It all adds up.

The other big factor: I’m a frequent track-skipper. Some days, it seems the shuffle setting ticks up exactly the wrong song each time, so I have to manually pick one from the menu. That hard drive shifting, combined with the extra backlighting time, also takes a toll.

One other thing: I’m just about convinced that charging an iPod via computer is less optimal than charging it with a plug-in-the-wall AC adaptor (which I don’t have). I noticed this with my older iPods too. I think the computer-based charging involves constant data exchange, which never allows the thing to actually go inert; so even when it shows the battery as full-charged, it never really reaches 100%.

I suppose I could venture out into the world without carrying one or both of these items. But that’s crazy talk.

Even crazier talk: I think it’s time consumer electronics manufacturers really address the paltry power sources they provide. I realize it’s no easy trick to improve upon battery technology. But it’s time to start thinking outside the box. Maybe a way to draw electricity from the air, ala Tesla coils? It’d be good as a supplement, at least. And it’s not like the manufacturers are beholden to battery providers or power companies.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 04/20/2007 09:15:44 PM
Category: Tech, iPod
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