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I don't often make product recommendations, and I have no affiliation with the products I am about to describe. I'm just a happy customer.
I want to discuss two different products, one software and one hardware. The goal: extended battery life.
One of the problems with smart phones is that battery life is well... pretty poor. I have noticed that if you turn off all data services (3G, 2G, WiFi, etc.) that battery life is much improved. It is often this non-data battery life that phone makers advertise.
In my case, I have a Samsung Infuse 4G on AT&T's network. I am quite happy with it, but as you can guess, battery life isn't great. If I turn off data services, I can squeeze a day or so out of the battery (maybe longer), but no deal with data turned on. Normally this isn't a problem, but occasionally I find myself away from the electrical grid and I have to live on the battery. I also have a significant protective case on my phone, which makes changing the battery a bit of a pain, and frankly something I don't want to do “in the field.”
To extend battery life, I will often turn off data service, and when I want to check my mail, I turn it on, synchronize and then turn it off. This works, but is a pain. This brings us to the first product I want to highlight. Juice Defender is a very cool battery saving application. It does what I normally do by hand. It keeps data services disabled, but periodically (on a schedule) enables it them, synchronizes and turns it off again. It comes in three versions, the simplest is free and the most feature-full (“Ultimate”) is $5 or so. I have the Ultra version (because I use its complex features, and I like supporting the authors of software I use!). The ultra version can learn where the WiFi hotspots you use are located and only enables WiFi when you are in one of you locations (as determined by cell tower location.... turning on the GPS would use a lot of power which sort of defeats the purpose!).
One interesting tidbit. I was not able to download Juice Defender from the Android Market. Apparently it is currently (as of this writing) blocked by AT&T. However it was available from Amazon's App Store. I did some googling around to find out whly AT&T blocked it. The only hint I found was a post claiming that too many people were using its advanced customization and managing to shut off all data service... and then called AT&T's help desk! It is a complex application, so be careful. But once configured it works great.
Juice Defender works pretty well. But it can only go so far. So the second product is the Anker Astro2 8400mAh external battery pack. It has two USB power ports, one that delivers 600ma and the other a full 2 amps. It also has a built in LED flashlight (which has come in handy recently). I purchased mine on Amazon, but when I checked today it was unavailable. However there are plenty of similar products.
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