Blu Energy X LTE: 62 hours on a charge
One of the biggest problems in mobile technology today is the battery life of our phones. A much as our technology has increased, idyllic battery life remains an elusive unicorn. Most phones set the bar at 16 hours, which is one day, minus sleep time during which you can charge. But really, isn’t that just an awful goal? If that were the minimum standard for battery, ok, I’ll grant you that. But setting the bar for “good” battery life at a single day should never be the rule.
Of course there are phones that boast much more than that. I’ve recently been testing the Blu Energy X LTE, which is a new iteration of the Blu Energy X I tested just a few months ago. I’ve carried this phone with me for seven days, and I have only charged it three times in that time. So it got me to thinking how nice it is to not have to worry about battery life in just about any situation.
On the one hand, it’s really nice knowing that if my phone is coming off the charger in the morning, I can do whatever I want with it, and it will still be with me at the end of the day. Whether I’m watching Amazon Instant Video on the train, reading a book, walking around all day with the screen on at full brightness, this phone will take it with a smile, and still have a lot left in the tank even if I forget to charge it that night. That’s a pretty powerful feeling, no pun intended.
But then, there’s the other side of the coin. These days, the Blu Energy X LTE’s 4,000 mAh battery is not going to do the full job. Yes, it will do a lot, but not everything, which is where the compromises come into play. Compromises like the 1.3 GHz processor, which coupled with the 1 GB of RAM the Blu Energy X LTE packs leaves a lot to be desired in the performance area.
But, it’s hard to argue with the results. The first time off the charger, the Blu Energy X LTE lasted almost three full days – 62 hours of battery time. This was over the weekend though, so I honestly didn’t use the phone that often. It sat on a table most of the time with a screen on time of 3 hours, 21 minutes. Granted this was at 100% brightness, so there’s that.
The second time around, I took the phone to and from work, lasting just two days, but with a lot more activity – music streaming, podcast playing, tethering, you name it. Again, the screen on time was less than impressive, managing just 2 hours, 19 minutes, but again, there was a lot of screen-off use.
I’m working on my third charge at half brightness and at press time, I’m still at 39%. This consisted of more work time, train time, podcast time, and the like, with the only difference being a 50% reduction in screen brightness. Certainly that will add some hours. But the problem is the internals of the phone are so underpowered, it makes for a relatively bad experience.
Too many compromises?
Which begs the question, what are the trade-offs that we have to expect under the umbrella of our current technology? There are a few, so let’s take a look at them. Of course we’ve already looked at the under-powered model of longevity. Having an underpowered processor will quite literally use less power, which neatly solves part of the problem. But that’s not the only way to go.
What about more powerful, but also more efficient processors. Popular theory has it that more powerful processors can finish hard tasks more quickly, thus using less power. Flagships that are using top of the line components are slowly creeping up in the battery life department, albeit more slowly than if they simply shoved a 4,000 or 5,000 mAh battery in there. Unfortunately, the industry’s obsession with “thin and light” won’t allow us to have flagship phones with monster batteries.
But isn’t that just another trade off? The thing is, it’s a trade off that many are willing to make, if only OEMs would let them. Adding a few more grams and a few more millimeters to a phone to have 48 hours of battery life doesn’t seem like a bad idea. It’s certainly a better idea than under powering a smart device. But maybe that’s just me.
So close and yet so far
The Blu Energy X LTE does leave a lot to be desired in the performance area. Considering how closely it resembles the Blu Studio Energy 2, which was my show phone for CES, I have to think that the loss of .5 GB of memory might’ve been the straw that broke this camel’s back. But the fact that you can take it off the charger on a Friday morning, go out that night, forget to plug it in, and wake up with a solid 10 hours of charge left is remarkable. It’s so remarkable, it should become the new industry standard. But it’s not, which is unfortunate.
Some day, we’ll get to a point where all of our phones last for days on end. We’re not there yet because OEMs ask for sacrifices that consumers aren’t willing to make, and consumers ask for sacrifices that OEMs aren’t willing to make. So where does that leave us? Day-long phones and frustration, and that’s about it. Maybe some day these two groups will see eye to eye, and in the meantime, for those willing to sacrifice performance, Blu has some options.