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HARDWARE

How to Make Your Cell Battery Last Longer

You rely on your battery more than you know. So treat it well.
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You're familiar with the scenario: You've been traveling all day, from one airport to another to a conference room here and a car service there. The whole way, you've been fielding calls from the home office and sending back requests for data you need on this important client call. But before you know it, you're out of juice: All that time, you never had a chance to plug in and recharge your cell phone, and now you're stuck. Here are a few simple tips for extending your cell phone battery over the long haul, so that when you do recharge -- it lasts.

Tip: Charge Up Less Often

It's a habit, especially for travelers: Get into the hotel room, search for the nearest available outlet and plug up all rechargeable electronics before settling in. Unfortunately, according to a T-Mobile spokesman, this very practice can drain life from your cell phone battery. Cell phones, iPods, and other rechargeable electronics have so-called battery memory. When first bought, your cell phone is prepped to charge fully each time you plug it into an outlet. Repeatedly charging your phone when it has, say, half power actually lowers the capacity of the battery. It gets used to holding only half a charge.

Solution: Charge every other day. The average cell phone charge lasts about three days. Unless you're a risk taker, it's probably not a good idea to wait until the third day (after all, this isn't an exact science). A more realistic goal is to plug in your phone every other day.

Tip: Monitor Cell Phone Temperature

Most people don't have business in Antarctica or the Sahara, but leaving the phone in a hot summer car or a cold office will hurt battery life, too. "A common mistake made by cellular phone users is to leave their battery pack in their vehicle during the heat of day," Motorola warns.

Solution: If it must be stored, keep it away from sunlight during summer. In winter, keep the phone well-covered in a case or your bag.

Tip: Turn Your Phone Off at Night

The beauty of cell phones is that, dead zones notwithstanding, we can be reached at any time. We tend to leave them on all day and all night, and complain when they break down from exhaustion. What people don't realize is that cell phones, like computers and other technological gadgets, need a little rest. Downtime allows your phone to cool down, while turning on the phone anew will refocus its coordinates (which may help you get better reception).

Solution: Turn it off. Shut it down periodically, ideally at least once daily. Fives minutes will do. At the very least, when you go to bed at night -- let your phone get a little rest, too.

Last updated: Sep 1, 2006




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