Nokia N9 battery life

One of the things I complained a lot about my previous smartphone was the really poor battery life I got to live with after the latest firmware update. Battery life is one of those things a lot of people overlook when choosing their next phone and only notice (the lack of) it when they use it and realize how bad it is.

Initially I was afraid the N9 wasn’t going to be remarkable in this aspect: some reviews actually praised it while others weren’t much impressed about it.

After almost a month I’ve made my mind about the N9 battery life: It’s awesome when the device is idle and the data connection is turned off, it’s average when idling with the background 3G data connection turned on and could be better while using the device in a more intensive fashion:

  • When the device is idle with no data connection, the average battery consumption is around 6mA which is great and allows the phone to stay in standby for several days (probably more than a week!).
  • When you have push notifications and other apps actively using the data connection the phone will at least use twice the energy, so it will use frequently around 16~18mA. This means the phone won’t be able to last more than a couple of days.
  • If you are always playing with the phone you can only expect it to last till the end of the day
There’s an app called “Battery Usage” that I really recommend because it allows the user to check where the phone power is being used. Below you can see how long my N9 can last on one charge, if you use it moderately.
Overall I’m happy with the N9’s battery life, although there is two things I believe Nokia should look into and try to fix in future MeeGo Harmattan firmware updates:
  • When it’s really cold outside, the phone will suddenly drop the indicated battery level (as much as 30%), but after you come into warmer places the battery level will rise again by itself and recover the original displayed battery level. This means the phone is probably not measuring correctly the battery level when used in low temperature environments.
  • If you use the phone in a more intensive way, such as playing a game, the battery level will also decrease significantly to recover again when you stop using the phone for a while, therefore the battery level measuring system does not seem very reliable to me.
Since the problem is being too conservative (and not too optimistic) I can live with it until Nokia fixes that.

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