How to Become a Real Road Warrior
As mobile experts, we do everything we can to look at every new device subjectively. You may hear us cracking jokes on a live show or voicing our personal opinions in editorials. But when it becomes time to get serious, when it’s review time, we look at a phone (or tablet) from not only our own perspective, but as many others as possible – the perspective of the target demographic, the perspective of the general consumer, the standpoint of a power user, a modder or even a first-time buyer.
We all look at a new phone differently. When we pull it out of the box and tear the plastic off, our minds race with completely different use cases or future scenarios where this new and improved smartphone will make all the difference.
Most of us here are Pocketnow – and this is just an educated guess – are what you would consider either power users or road warriors. A lot of the time, those two terms are synonymous. But in the Scored for Me section of our reviews, the two are distinct enough for their own sections. Power users need raw power in a phone, hackability and unprecedented speed.
Road warriors, on the other hand, are usually travelers or those who don’t spend a lot of time in one place, hence the term “road”. They are users who put their arsenal of devices through torture and need extreme battery life to make it through the day.
When I’m not
sitting standing at a desk all day, I am a mash-up between both a power user and road warrior. (Because I am a power user, I also have to be a road warrior – and vice versa.) Because I use my phone for so many things, I need speed and power, and I need the ability to customize my phone to my desires. And because I need speed and power, I need the extra stamina.
Since the day I got my first smartphone, I became obsessed with doing as much as possible with my phone. I have since grown to commonly use my smartphone for streaming music via Bluetooth every day, for hours on end, streaming video (Netflix, YouTube and Google Play), heavy Web browsing, taking pictures and video, emailing, chatting, texting, reading news, all my social interaction and even paying for various things.
For the last month, my phone has also been pushing all sorts of notifications to the Pebble smartwatch on my wrist.
When a phone is used for so many different things and constantly put through such abuse, it can easily take its toll on the battery life, often before noon rolls around.
One thing about use road warriors, though, is that, over the course of several years, we have learned how to cope with the diminishing battery life in flagship Android smartphones. We’ve learned various ways to make a phone – with good or bad battery life – last longer than normal and stop to plug-in as seldom as possible.
So how can you become a true road warrior?
I made a video in March offering several tips to extend the battery life of your Android phone, many of which apply to any mobile device running any OS. Some of the most crucial things, believe it or not, are common sense.
It’s all about management. Turn off services and connections when you aren’t using them. Not using GPS or Bluetooth? Switch them off. Not going to be able to answer the phone or check notifications for a while? Turn on Airplane Mode until you can. (I promise, ten minutes to an hour without a cell connection won’t kill you. In fact, it may be the most relaxing and stress-free hour of your life!) Not using those 15 widgets on your seven home screens? Remove them and just open the associated apps when needed. And keep the display brightness as low as (comfortably) possible, as often as possible.
In fact, I’ve enabled the Power saver feature on the HTC One and haven’t touched it since I got the phone. Power saver turns the display auto-brightness down an extra notch, disables data after several minutes of inactivity, disables the vibrate function and
It’s also smart to plan ahead. When you know you’re going to leave the house, apartment or office in the next 30 minutes or more, it’s never a bad idea to top-off the battery and give yourself a 20 percent (or much more) boost.
I’m guilty of over-complicating this and often becoming obsessive over topping-off, never leaving the apartment with my battery below 90 percent. You don’t have to take it to this extreme, and neither should I, but this is definitely the best method for making it through the day without your phone dying.
Another thing I may get a little crazy with at times is power banks, or battery-powered portable chargers. Whenever my battery starts to get low when I’m out and away from a charger and a power source, I simply pull a battery charger out of my pocket and give my phone some juice. I have stocked up on power banks and rarely go anywhere without one. At the very least, I have one stowed in the glove box in my car.
Smartphone cases with built-in batteries, like Mophie or Trident cases, are also another great option, since you don’t have to carry around additional devices and can just switch on the power on the existing case. And spare or extended batteries are great if you’re in for the long haul with a specific device.
I may complain about battery life all the time, but that’s because it’s the truth and something should be done about it. I honestly cannot remember the last time one of my phones has died on me – it’s had to have been at least a couple years. But that’s only due to me having so many safeguards in place that it’s virtually impossible for one of my phones to die in a single day.
I carry a Powerbag with a 6,000mAh integrated cell with me every day, a 4,500mAh Anker or 2000mAh Huawei power bank in my pocket on most days and toss a myPower Peak 6000 either in my bag or glove box. That, alongside the power management I do on the software side, keeps my phones from dying.
It’s overkill. I’m well aware. But my phones never die. And I’m generally the person everyone comes to when their phone is begging for a charge.