Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Palm Prē battery is its "Achilles' heel"

The use of “Achilles’ heel” as an expression used for “area of weakness, vulnerable spot” dates only to 1855 (Merriam-Webster). It derived from the Greek "Achilleios pterna" literally meaning Achilles’ heel (via Wikipedia).

Even the fabled mighty Achilles has his weak spot, and so is the potent savior for Palm: the Prē™.

After its most anticipated launch, the Prē™ finally lands on users' hand and put to the real world test. For those who are lucky enough to get one, and play with it to their heart's content, soon enough they found out the Palm Prē™ "Achilles' heel". It is Prē's small sized battery.

It is a no brainer, really. Anyone who have a smartphone knows this, that the battery life has always become the biggest obstacle for them to keep on using the smartphone for heavy duty tasks. Which usually includes multi-tasking, never ending calls, text messaging, tweeting, chatting, surfing on the net, tasks organizer, etc. The list can go on, and because of that smartphone's battery will not even last for one day. That is why mobile manufacturers will opt for big sized battery with bigger capacity to juice-up the hardware, but unfortunately Palm uses such a small sized battery for the Prē™ because of a design consideration.

Bgr pre low batt Many users have said the same about the Prē's battery life, here are some of them:
  • Matthew Miller from ZDNet: "I went about 5 hours with pretty light usage of the Prē™ that included something like 25 emails (Gmail and Exchange), 5 minutes of calls, several Tweets made using Tweed, no Bluetooth or WiFi, about 15 minutes of Google Talk, and no music or video playing."
  • James Kendrick from jkOnTheRun: "The weak area of the Prē™ hardware is the battery life. This is not that surprising, given how small the battery is, and those who are heavy users, especially of data, should plan on carrying a second battery along."
  • Dieter Bohn from PreCentral: "...the Pre's battery gets me through a day of moderate use, but with heavy use cuts out rather quickly. .. So yes, let's come out and say it: battery life isn't good on the Prē™ and hopefully Palm will be able to alleviate it with some software fixes (we know some are in the works)."
  • Sascha Segan from GearLog: "The Palm Prē™ is a great device, but the battery needs a little help. Like with the iPhone, you shouldn't expect this phone to last more than a day or two on a charge."
Lucky enough for you, those nice gentlemen have provided us all the tips and tricks to improve the battery life of your precious shiny Palm Prē™:
  • Reduce the interval for email synchronization. Set the email settings to check every 15 minutes, this will help to save battery.
  • Log out of IM, especially AIM. There's a bug in the AIM client that sucks up battery way too quickly (Palm's fixing it) ... Remember, you can't just throw the IM program's card away; you have to click on "Sign Out" in the IM applications.
  • Turn on Wi-Fi. When the Pre's Wi-Fi is running, it uses Wi-Fi rather than 3G to make Internet connections. So connecting via Wi-Fi saves battery rather than wasting it.
  • Turn off Bluetooth
  • Turn off GPS
  • Tone down the screen's brightness
Pre batt solution The Palm Prē's battery life is not the only problem which users must face, several users have started reporting an unsettling issue at PreCentral forum: closing or opening the slider causes the Prē™ to perform soft reset automatically. But thank goodness they have found out both the cause and the solution; the battery in some Prē™ is loose/slightly too small, and any sudden closing the slider like snapping it shut will cause it to disconnect just in millisecond of time that is enough to kill the electricity flow to the phone and force a restart.

The solution? This may sounds silly, but at least it works: stick in a few layers of paper in along the top of the battery compartment to make the battery fits perfectly at its place (see the picture on the right). After that, it's up to the owners whether to demand a replacement battery to the nearest Sprint local stores or not. After all, the Palm Prē™ is still a rare commodity these days.

And if that still doesn't work for you, you might want to try ukdiveboy's ingenious method below called "Mintyboosting my Palm Prē™." ~LOL~ Here's ukdiveboy (Flickr link) explanation on how it works:

Just built my Minty Boost. Thought I'd try charging my Pre with it. Works a charm :)

I couldn't find the small Altoids tin, so I reluctantly went with what they had in Safeway. It's worked out well though - there's room around the battery holder for a couple spare batteries.

My battery meter is up 5% in the time it's taken to do the Flickr post - Minty Boost is awesome.

Well, what can I say? A genius' work is found in the most modest invention... ;-p

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