Thursday, March 1, 2012

Living Without 3G Data

In a quest to improve battery life on my Samsung Intercept I decided to take the recommendation of many online and turn off 3G data as an experiment.  Being a blend of cellphone and computer it's doesn't come to much of a surprise to many that smart phones suck battery life far faster than their old school cellphone counterparts.  By shutting off the 3G data it's much like shutting off the computer modem portion of the phone.  Leaving you temporarily with a more or less old school phone.  You can still make phone calls, send and receive texts, but if you need access to the internet you're going to have to switch it back on or turn on Wifi.

The Results
Overall I was happy with the improvement of battery life, going from only about one full day worth of battery to somewhere in the 1-2.5 day range.  Not having to listen to the tone in low coverage areas when the 3G dropped out was an added bonus as well.  So it sounds like a great improvement right?

The Problem
Only problem with shutting off 3G is none of your apps have access to the internet.  This doesn't seem like a problem if the phone is in your pocket right?  Thing is, when 3G is turned back on they all have a heyday.  So you go to check the weather, your email, or an address quick and you have to fight the apps for data and processing power.  Something as simple as checking a price online I found could take up to 10min waiting for the phone to catch up.  The worst of them all was actually Gmail, as far as I can tell any time Gmail looses data connection it must sync everything back up, all of your emails, contacts, calendar, etc.  This process was the main reason for the slow response anytime you wanted to check something quick.

My Recommendation
Overall the battery life improved dramatically, but the problems didn't make it worth it for me, so it's back to running with 3G.  If you're in a bind and need to stretch that battery a while or are in a poor coverage area I highly recommend it, but it's just not practical on a daily basis.

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