Galaxy Nexus Battery Life Improves After Full Charge and Battery Swap

The Galaxy Nexus on Verizon is an impressive phone, but one of the biggest issues we have seen is poor battery life.

It was an issue during our Galaxy Nexus review, and has plagued some of our writers who have seen “unacceptable” Galaxy Nexus battery life thanks to the massive 4.65″ display and 4G LTE connectivity.

I had similarly poor battery life the first few days I owned the Galaxy Nexus, but after a few days of use battery life has improved — I’m talking hours of improvement.

As you can see in the screenshot below, I was able to go close to 16 hours before the battery warned me that it had dropped to 14%.

Galaxy Nexus Battery Life Usage

The Galaxy Nexus extended battery lasts 16 hours after a charge and swap.

I haven’t done any crazy tweaks, like turning off 4G LTE or setting the display to 1% brightness. All I did was switch out batteries on the device. I know. This doesn’t make sense, but there was something funky going on with my extended battery and the Galaxy Nexus over the weekend.

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I charged the extended battery to 96% before going to bed and then swapped it out to charge up the standard battery. When I woke up and put the extended battery back in it had dropped down to 89%. This tells me that something goofy was going on with my battery or with the reporting software in Ice Cream Sandwich. While this is but one data point, I can’t argue with success.

If you have a Galaxy Nexus extended battery, or even just a second battery, here is what I did. Feel free to give it a try and leave a comment telling me if it helped your battery life.

  1. Fully charge your Galaxy Nexus battery
  2. Run it until the phone turns itself off.
  3. Place your battery in the charging cradle (if available) and charge completely
  4. Swap in your new battery, preferably fully charged.
  5. Run it until it is fully drained.
  6. Place your first battery back in the device and keep an eye on your battery life.

This works out best if you have the battery charger, but you can try it out without. Doing these steps, and nothing else, I was able to jump from 10 hours of battery life to 16 hours.

I know it doesn’t make much sense, and perhaps I am missing out on a Christmas gremlin that snuck in and gave me a better battery, but even in my low 4G LTE signal area I was able to get longer battery life.

How are you faring?

 

Comments

  1. Jpeelsolutions says

    I literally just finished this as well. but only on the ‘one’ battery, I also noticed as this device is new and I had not activated the ‘network’ yet, wifi only, and the battery is KILLED by ‘cell standby’ I imagine it’s a non issue for users that activate, but after my 3rd charge, I can say I am around 10 hours of battery, and that is under HEAVY usage, txt/IM/email/Phone/ vibrate only.

  2. Mark Roddis says

    This is all pretty normal with any phone.

    You need to run a couple of charge cycles through the battery before you get optimal performance. You don’t need to do anything special, just let your phone run down, recharge and let this happen a handful of times.

    Wouldn’t it be embarrassing if everybody complaining about the battery life was doing so after just a single charge?

    Why is this news?

    • Anonymous says

      Yeah, I’m getting much better battery performance than a co-worker despite the fact that we live closer to each other (similar signals) and have similar usage patterns. 

      Difference is especially for the first few days I wouldn’t attach my phone to a charger until it was at around 2-3%.  And I wouldn’t take it off the charger until it was at 100%.  Having done that a couple times I noticed improved battery life.

      Of course this is something I learned with my OG Droid.  I don’t understand the tech reasons behind it but it’s almost as if you have to “train” your battery to use it’s full capacity. 

  3. Real4life72 says

    Battery life is horrible. Plugged phone in last night and was fully charged at 5:00 am this morning. Not using 3g or 4g because verizon is down. No gps and phone was at 65% by 7:30 am. And this is using an extended battery.

  4. GTaylor says

    Batteryuniversity.com is an information resource sponsored by a manufacturer of battery analyzing equipment. The chapter on Lithium batteries explains that the program chip in the pack gets confused and doesn’t always talk nice to the host device. In my experience simply running it down to shut off and immediately charging to full can possibly boot it along. So the advice given in Josh’s article sounds good to me and should work with one battery with out a separate charger if the phone’s circuit isn’t too fussy.
    Don’t leave an uncharged lithium battery laying around as it will loose what charge it does have and then the chip won’t let it charge. At that point you will need someone like me who has the very expensive equipment needed to boost the device back into its operating range.

  5. Robert Blum says

    Where as battery manufactures should do a full-cycle on the Lion battery, they apparently do not.

    You must fully discharge a battery to teach it how much capacity it really has.  You should do this when you first get your device (or battery), and then once a month.  SOP.

  6. Niceacappella says

    I’m trying to decide on a new phone. I like the Bionic but the pentile display is annoying. Is the Galaxy Nexus a good choice? Will battery life be acceptable? Are any larger extended batteries coming out for it?

    • cgb says

      coming from a bionic and now have a nexus i would say it is a personal preference. i like the feel of the bionic and it’s data saver and battery mode options built in but not a huge fan of the screen. the reason why i switched was purely due to lack of signal in my area w/ a motorola phone. for some reason samsung signal is better in my area!  i love the nexus screen and not having it a whole week the battery is not as good as the bionic. however my bionic battery was not good in the beginning either. happy w/ both phones i would suggest going into verizon and playing w/ both to decide which one you like better. people also like the htc rezound. but w/ any LTE phone right now battery life will suffer.

        • Kevdogg4 says

          dont bother with the bionic. My nexus on verizon is amazing. Including battery life! Plus Ice Cream Sandwich is a huge upgrade from Gingerbread (Bionic).

      • Viro says

        That is funny, I went to a SGN from a Bionic and had to go back to the Bionic because of a lack of signal strength in my area.  SGN was dropping calls like a phreak and giving me no service msg.  Bionic shows two bars and excelent connections.  BUT I wish the SGN worked for me, I love the phone, the screen and ICS is da bomb.

  7. Niceacappella says

    Thanks Kevdogg4.  My biggest concern is battery life.  Maybe a lot of reviewers haven’t conditioned their battery yet.

  8. Marcbasjat says

    Ever heard of conditioning your battery? Theres nothing new here you guys are just behind the times.

  9. MichaelPLachapelle says

    MESSAGE FOR THE AVERAGE CELL PHONE USER!!  Dont allow the specualtion of having short battary life with the Verizon Samsung Galaxy Nexus stop you from purchasing it. Currently, my VSGN has 43% power remaining (standard battery) and has been on for 15hr 18min. I am an average user, streaming…music..browsing – LIKE MOST PEOPLE. Simply stated, there ARE a few tricks to save battery life, but the best thing you can do for VSGN is buy a replacement battery. Lithium batteries need to be trained in order to acheive their maximum yeild. To do this: Fully charge your phone, and then allow it to drain completely..hence the need for a spare battery. I have been doing this for days and the results have been greatly optimized. I also keep my VSGN in Wi-Fi whenver possible. Why sacrafice all the best features of an amazing phone? Purchase an extra battery and charger! Its cheap compared to what the phone costs and time you’ll save.

    • mobaby says

      Well put, and this is what I have done as well.  You have more piece of mind while having two batteries, AND you get more juice out of BOTH of them!  Can’t beat that.  And can’t beat this phone.  It’s amazing.  Had it since launch day and I LOOOOVE it.

    • Bill Kilpatrick says

      You don’t have to sacrifice any of the great features. However, as someone who has worked with the original battery, the extended battery and a 3800 mAH battery, I can tell you that what you do with the phone does matter. There’s nothing wrong with being as smart as your smartphone.

      4G uses more juice than 3G, though it’s worth it if you’re going online and you need fast download speeds. Obviously, you don’t need it to catch and make calls, nor do you need it for text messages or updates. Unless, I’m going online, I keep my phone at 3G, since toggling to 4G takes less than 9 seconds – even without the free LTC Switch app. I also un-click Data Enabled if I don’t want an update every time I scratch my head. When I do “go guns hot,” I flip on WI-FI at the house. There are other cutbacks you can make, like using black wallpaper and browsing on Blackl (Google Black), but I’m not out to cut back on everything. I just don’t see any loss of performance in toggling off 4G and Data Enabled when the phone is essentially on stand-by.

  10. Anonymous says

    What if we want to game on this device? Is it even possible without destroying the battery life? I can game all I want on my iPhone and not sent the battery.

  11. Nicolas Durand says

    This phone is a joke. Imagine a day where you go downtown for some shopping and sightseeing. If you surf/email/read maps for an hour or 2, it will be dead before 4pm. It is not a phone, it’s a disgrace.

    • mobaby says

      Yes, you’re right.  So don’t buy it.  Those that did buy it know better.  I wouldn’t even call it a battery hog….it definitely can be a little hard on batteries, but those of us with a brain knew that going in…..we still wanted the phone, because it’s the best out there period.  I’ll stick a dinky second battery in my left pocket, and the best phone available in my right, thank you.

  12. mond_e says

    I have had mine for a couple weeks already.  To each his own, I guess but consider this:  there’s no such thing as a perfect device, which is why there will always be upgrades to try and meet consumer needs.  Where the SGN is right now is quit possibly close to the top, if not the top of best gadget lists today.  I read in an earlier post not to let the battery concern be a reason for not buying a wonderful device, which is in my opinion, what the SGN is.  That said, I get 18hrs battery life as an average user: music to and from work, plus 1 hour in the gym in the evening, bluetooth headset connected, average text and e-mail use…

    • Lissa says

      I used to get a long battery life. I would charge the phone every other night with constant texting and gtalk. Just recently my phone battery life dropped to 8 hours. I mean 8 hours until it would power off. I was seriously annoyed. Supposedly the Advanced Task Killer will kill operations in the phone which will cause your OS to wake up a lot more. I’m in the process of reconditioning my phone after removal of this app.

  13. Luc Lemieux says

    Got my Nexus a week ago, trained and installed juice defender to manage connectivity on idle and managed to get 1 day and a half with usage out of it. Can play games for hours and still have battery life. AMAZING PHONE!!

  14. Pants810 says

    ok ummmm……….. my phone is plugged into the computer charging and the battery life is going down as i use it…. is that even possible?

  15. Skiamdoole says

    I just got the nexus on Saturday. First thing I did was drain the battery till it died then charged it to full. However I haven’t let it die again and have been charging it when I get to about 14% (Usually over night) Is it took late for me to do the drain it and full charge it multiple times?

  16. MaxSmart says

    Josh-
    Actually, this DOES make sense! It seems like the internal charging circuits for this phone are rubbish!

    I also wonder if the poor battery life (mine lasts from 8am to 3pm, assuming a couple of email checks and an hour of browsing – unacceptable) is actually caused by the connectivity issues. My old LG VX8300 would last for a week with moderate voice usage on a single charge – but if I went someplace with poor signal, it could drain in a single day. I wonder if the Galaxy Nexus’s connection-maintaining problems are causing it to boost the signal – killing the battery while giving us leg cancer.

    • Hindu Elvis Pimp says

      Download Juice Defender. It shuts the radio off when the device is asleep, thus preventing battery drain. The device will constantly seek a signal. If you are in an area where there is limited coverage, or the device has trouble maintaining a signal, it will use a lot of battery trying to capture that signal. Juice Defender is free and it works.

  17. MaxSmart says

    I wonder if the 3 terminals on the side of the phone are directly wired to the battery, and if you could safely use a charger such as the Anker charger to directly charge the battery without removing it from the phone. I’m concerned that removing the back cover daily will break it quickly.

    I noticed a similar situation with my HP Ipaq 111 PDA. One day I switched to charging it with a weaker charger, and it gradually lost battery life, to the point where it only lasted 30 minutes of use. When I went back to charging it with the stock charger, the battery was back to new within a few charges – I’m talking 3-4 hours use. I think Li batteries need a strong voltage to saturate the battery, and I suspect the internal charging circuits in the Galaxy Nexus either aren’t providing sufficient voltage and/or current, or have “green” features that cut the voltage off to the battery when it’s full, and this is mis-conditioning the batteries.

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