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Cheap Android Phones, Smartphone Battery Life
Smartphone Operating Systems and Battery Life
Operating Systems.More than anything else, the thing that makes a smartphone "smart" is its operating system, or OS. Most of the models we looked at are cheap Android phones that use Google's mobile operating system.
The HTC Windows Phone 8X features Microsoft's new Windows Phone 8 OS. Of course, Apple has its own mobile operating system for the iPhone, dubbed iOS, and RIM has BlackBerry OS. A new version of that mobile operating system, BlackBerry 10, will debut on new BlackBerry phones later this year.
The OS creates the digital interface used to operate a smartphone and provides a platform for apps. While Apple's App Store is legendary, Android has become very popular in the past few years, and that's reflected in the vast number of apps now available for cheap Android phones. Neither the BlackBerry nor the Windows Phone app pool is nearly so large, although there are still plenty of good choices. Before you settle on a smartphone, it's worth fiddling with the interface and stopping by the phone's app store to check out the inventory. You'll have to pay for many apps (maybe a couple of dollars and usually no more than $30), but many are free.
Smartphone Battery Life.Smartphones offer a lot of functionality in a hand-size package. While that might seem like heaven for consumers, it's hell on batteries. Smartphone battery life depends in part on how you use the phone. Making a few calls, checking email, and sending a few texts each day gets you much more battery mileage than constant music listening, video watching, or Facebooking. Smartphone batteries also drain very quickly when connected to a 4G LTE network. Most budget smartphones, including our picks, can withstand about a day of medium to heavy use, including several hours of continuous talk time and several days of standby time. Regardless, you'll want to keep a charger close by.
The Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G is one of the better cheap Android phones when it comes to battery endurance. An expert at Engadget tested the smartphone's battery life (by looping video with brightness and volume at 50 percent and 4G, Wi-Fi, and email and social network syncing on until the phone died) and found that it lasted more than 11 hours on a full charge. The reviewer describes that as incredible longevity. A Brighthand expert likewise found the Blaze 4G to have excellent battery life.
Laptop Mag put the Motorola Droid Razr M through its grueling battery test and the phone kept up for nearly seven hours -- much longer than average. The HTC Evo 4G LTE has a battery that a TechRadar reviewer says should last all day with medium use. He notes that the large screen is the primary drain on the smartphone's battery. The battery life of the HTC Windows Phone 8X is no better or worse than users might expect, according to experts at Digital Trends and Brighthand -- probably at least a full day for most users. The Kyocera Rise delivers respectable but inferior battery life. A PC World reviewer found that it lasted about six hours with heavy use.
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