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Which is More Important for Next-Gen Smartphones, Data Speeds or Battery Life?

Posted In Featured, Polls - By Mark Hearn On Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 6:08am PST With 13 Comments

With the strong emergence of LTE, it seems that the entire wireless industry is obsessing over data speeds. As awesome as having a mobile internet connection that is comparable to something you’d find at someone’s house, there’s one thing that seems to be overlooked in the quest for the next best smartphone and that’s battery life! As awesome as having a 20Mbps download connection may be, what good is it if you only have an hour and a half of battery life?

 Understanding that there’s been a ton of frustration with Sprint’s network speeds lately, we know that people are excited about data speeds. But as Sprint’s LTE launch draws closer, we’re wondering which is really more important, data speeds or battery life? Please note that we’re looking at LTE’s documented history of draining smartphone batteries and comparing LTE’s impact under current market conditions.

[poll id="93"]


Image credit: Superherouniverse


About - Mark is the founding father of SprintFeed. He is a nerd's nerd if ever such a thing existed. His love affair with the Now Network started with the release of the Treo 600 back in 2004 and has been going strong ever since. Highly opinionated and somewhat eccentric he shares his ramblings about his network of choice here at SprintFeed.

  • eFunk25

    Neither in my Opinion. Data coverage outweighs both. That is my main issue with Sprint. Who cares how fast the data is if you can’t get it most of the time. I live and travel in a pretty populated metropolitan area and there is poor 3g coverage still and virtually no 4g at this point.

  • Davidksims

    Battery Life by a mile! What good is a device if it’s dead!!!!Same with Duel-Flash, 30+ pictures and you can call it a day!! Yes, we have been lied to, I dont think I have every owned a phone that lasted a week, but I need 15 good hours with medium usage!

  • techkraut

    You can always carry an extra battery, but you cannot carry extra bandwidth. But that is not the real tradeoff: it is really battery life versus thinness. That one is easy. Make it 1/3 thicker and double the battery life like the razor maxx.
    On Sprint devices, you can turn off 4G to preserve your battery.

  • http://twitter.com/Carlosmet126 Carlos vasquez

    The Droid Razr Maxx provide the long lasting battery and the LTE speeds. I have two lines one with Sprint and one with Verizon. I spend the day doing a lot of things with the Razr maxx and I don’t have to charge it until night time.

  • AriGoldblack

    The poll today kinda mute, because you can’t really enjoy either without the other.

  • mgmackoul

    What good is data speed if the phone battery does not last long enough to download your files? But, in Sprint’s case, they need both badly!

  • raindog469

    For the foreseeable future, I live in a town that only just got 3G about 2 years ago and is about 10 miles outside the area around a nearby city that was slated to get Sprint 4G (i.e. WiMax) by the end of this year (Verizon’s just rolling out theirs now). Who knows when we’ll get Sprint LTE coverage? And I don’t really care, because the files I transfer over the cell network to my phone aren’t that big and don’t take that much time. Downloading a bigger file (e.g. when a video won’t play on my phone because “this video is not available on mobile”, so I have to fire up a Youtube downloader app and grab the video file to view offline) may take a while, but it’s infrequent — even remote controlling my home PC (via Connectbot and AndroidVNC) is pretty zippy on 3G.

    But I’d really like a phone that could stand up to have its screen on for more than 2-3 hours in an area with mediocre coverage without needing a charge. Being in a meeting and using my phone to take notes is a situation that happens at least a few times a week. I have a charge cable at my desk, but need enough battery life for the times I’m not there.

    I agree with eFunk25 that Sprint’s coverage is a bigger issue than their phones’ capabilities, but this is a question about next-gen smartphones, not Sprint as a company. The LightSquared debacle still may end up being the death of Sprint, but it’s not going to have much of an impact on the choices the smartphone manufacturers make.

  • Tommy Thompson

    Both equally important.

  • http://twitter.com/pseagraves Phillip Seagraves

    With the next gen phones. They need to have the battery life improved. If we are to start using 4G all the time and allow it to eventually make 3G the fall back network. Our phones need longer lasting batteries. As of right now, 4G is more of a use when needed (mainly to get things to download faster) for me. When batteries become longer lasting then 4G will be a much more useable feature on smart phones.

  • dancedroid

    Sprint needs to focus on data speeds because their 3G is atrocious, and that’s what most of their customers are on. how long do i have to wait to get consistant data speeds over .5Mbps?

  • Todd Doss

    I have to agree that this is a loaded question. It comes down to the individual carrier. If Sprint could actually deliver on what they have out there for data speeds then it would certainly be a battery vote from me. Unfortunately, I get just over 8 hours of effective battery use on my Epic 4G and the 3G speeds in Tallahassee, Fl. have consistently gone downhill over the last 6-12 months. However, Verizon kills on data speeds so for them it would be a clear battery answer. For now, I would be happier if Sprint could choose either one and excel at that.

  • http://www.missvegas.com.au/ EJean1981

    I vote for battery life.

  • Jfowler8382

    When you ask about future smart phone improvements you are speaking about the manufacturer of the device. I say that smart phone technology is far beyond what anyone could have ever anticipated 5 years ago. But, the whole point behind this technology is to be able to be “unwired” and free to move about with these devices. To be still stuck to a wall with a charge chord plugged in kind of eliminates that convenience. So now that the phones have been developed beyond battery technology then I saw that they start focusing on the battery life. This has nothing to do with sprint or Verizon or the otber service providers. The data speeds are out there, sprint is just having problems bringing them to us and that has nothing to do with the phone.