Palm Pre users are not alone with battery life issues

Posted By on July 3, 2009

Only 2PM & the Palm Pre battery is already giving me a proble... on TwitpicI’ve been grumbling about battery life since moving from the Palm Treo to the Sprint Palm Pre for the past couple weeks, but it seems Apple iPhone users, besides having a high heat problem, are grumbling too. There are a few software items on my ‘disappointed’ list, but top on my software and hardware list is a short battery life at the default settings; this limited battery life is likely due to heavier than average use, a high performance processor chip (appreciated), bright crisp screen (see screen image), GPS (very nice), 3G Sprint service along with bluetooth (works great) and WiFi (surprisingly appreciated).  I’ve been reluctant to tweak the default settings and didn’t stop using battery draining features such as multitasking, phone use in weak signal areas and leaving the GPS, Bluetooth and WiFi connections up and functioning — but, after regularly finding myself low on battery by mid-afternoon on several days, Screen and lock settingI’ve decided that a few tweaks are necessary until better battery technology shows up (nothing earth-shattering on the immediate horizon as far as I know).

So … I’m making  just a few small tweaks to see how much of an improvement I will be able to notice without giving up functional use of my phone. I’m not turning off WiFi or Bluetooth and not changing how I use the phone, but I will make an adjustment to the GPS function, the checking of multiple email server intervals and will turn down the screen brightness to about 25% from 40% … which is still plenty bright. I’ll hold tight with these setting for a week or so since the holiday weekend isn’t really a fair test of my normal workday.

Locator ServicesI have read and found that the biggest drain on battery life  is poor wireless coverage (one or two bars). Unfortunately my new Palm Pre doesn’t have nearly same “bars” indicaton as my Palm Treo did (see Poll) — note the 2 bars in the image to the right which was 4-5 bars on my Treo in the same location.  The weaker the wireless coverage, the greater the power requirements on the Palm Pre causing the battery to drain.

In this case there is a power advantage on top of speed for using WiFi when possible. When the Pre finds a strong WiFi signal that it has been authorized to connect to, it will automatically use it for data applications and only us the Sprint signal for cell voice connections.

Speaking of “automatic,”  the Palm Pre’s automatic and manual settings for power management leave plenty of room for improvement. It would be nice to have one easy access app to tweak power adjustments on the fly … and would be especially nice to have a “limp home” feature that could be set to shut down the phone before going dead. Having  just enough power to be able to make an emergency phone would really be helpful instead of looking in your pocket only to find a dead Palm Pre with all your essential data locked inside until it is recharged. Cough, cough … lesson learned … carry a spare battery (don’t have one yet) and a charger … preferably one that can be used in a 12 volt DC or in 120 volt AC.



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