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This Is Why Your Phone's Battery Still Sucks So Much

Published On 10/02/2016 Published On 10/02/2016

Every year, smartphone manufacturers release slick next-generation phones boasting bigger batteries with better battery life, and yet, it seems like regardless of which phone or brand you choose, the battery life you actually get in real life is never enough. But why -- despite huge improvements to other parts of our phones -- are the batteries lagging behind? Turns out the answer is pretty simple, according to a new video from the folks over at DNews.

As DNew host Jules Suzdaltsev explains, the problem lies in the technology that's used smartphone batteries -- and nearly every other portable electronic device for that matter. While the creation of lithium-ion batteries was a massive breakthrough that helped make possible the slim and powerful devices we carry in our pockets, the average smartphone's lithium-ion battery is only expected to last for 300 to 500 charge cycles (every time you go from 100% to zero) before its capacity begins to permanently diminish. In other words, there's a good chance your phone's battery life will start to decline after a while or normal usage. Well, at least until researchers develop even better technology to replace the lithium-ion battery technology we've relied on for decades now.

Thankfully, smartphone manufacturers are consistently reducing the amount of energy the phones actually need to use them, which results in drastically better battery life even if the size of the battery in the phone is only slightly bigger. For example, Apple claims the power-efficient chip used in its new iPhone 7 Plus provides it with and hour of additional battery life over the iPhone 6s Plus, despite having an only somewhat bigger battery (2,900 mAh versus 2,750 mAh). Even more hopeful is that another portable battery breakthrough could be on the way, although it will likely be years before it's ready to be shipped in the millions and millions of smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other electronics that are sold every year, according to the video.

Until then, you'll just have to live with your charging cable shackles and those ugly battery cases.

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Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and has never really had any issues with his phone's battery life. Send news tips to news@thrillist.com and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.

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