Living with a huge, 5000mAh-battery phone, and why 1000-dollar phones don't have one

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Living with a huge, 5000mAh-battery phone, and why 1000-dollar phones don't have one
A couple of weeks ago, my SIM card found itself inside a phone quite unlike the rest. I switched to the Asus ZenFone 6, a Snapdragon 855-powered phone that stands out with its no-notch display, flippy camera module, and $499 starting price. But its best feature could be its big battery – a 5000mAh cell that keeps going and going.

Now, if you want to learn more about the ZenFone 6 as a whole, I encourage you to read my ZenFone 6 Preview article where I share my initial thoughts and first-hand impressions. Here, I will focus on one particular aspect of the device – its battery life – and how it has affected me as a user.

This thing lasts forever!


A phone's battery life is dependent on three main factors: the capacity of its battery, the efficiency of its hardware, and how well its software is optimized. Since a phone maker may not have much control over a Snapdragon chip's efficiency, and since fine-tuning Android's battery management algorithms could be hard work, the easiest way to deliver a phone that truly lasts long is to put a bigger battery in it.

Case in point, the Asus ZenFone 6 can easily last me two to three days on one charge. I get a day and a half to two days from most other phones. I admit that I'm not the heaviest of users, but the leap in battery life compared to anything I've used recently is definitely there. It's a difference you'd most certainly feel, no matter how demanding of a user you are.

The not-so-obvious benefits of having a huge battery


Having your phone last forever is awesome, and so is knowing that you can go on a flight or explore the great outdoors without having to lug a power bank along. But the benefits of having a huge battery do not end here.

Since I started using the ZenFone 6, I noticed that battery anxiety as a whole is no longer a thing for me. Surveys show that a significant portion of people feel elevated stress levels when they're away from an outlet and their phone's battery is getting low, and being less stressed is something few people would mind, I'm sure.

My charging habits have also shifted. Until recently, I'd usually let my phone charge overnight so that I know I have a full charge at the start of the day. An incomplete charge would somehow feel wrong with any other phone, but with the ZenFone 6, even a quick, 30% burst at any point during the day means up to an extra day of usage, so I do not feel obligated to charge it religiously every night.

And on the technical side of things, bigger batteries do tend to have a longer lifespan. This makes perfect sense as batteries degrade after each charge-discharge cycle, and about 500 charges is enough for a cell to lose 20% of its original capacity. Having to recharge your phone less often means it takes longer to reach that threshold. In Asus's lab tests, the battery in the ZenFone 6 retained 90% of its charge capacity after simulated 2 years of use while the 3300mAh cell of an unnamed competitor could hold 85% after the same stress test.



So, why don't all phones have batteries this big?


It's not because rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are expensive. It all comes down to priorities, and these priorities may differ vastly depending on who is a particular phone made for. The ZenFone 6 is a phone for enthusiasts – for people who do their research, who like big numbers, who know well what specs mean. In this case, having a huge battery is a very strong selling point. 

But it is a different story with phones made for the masses. For example, a phone like the Samsung Galaxy S10+ needs to strike an emotional chord with a potential buyer when they pick it up at the store. For this particular person, numbers on paper may be less important than the way a phone looks and feels in the hand, not to mention that a bigger battery makes for a thicker, heavier, less elegant phone.

Speaking of thickness, for me, this is the only major downside to having a battery so big. The ZenFone 6 is considerably chunky and quite heavy in the hand, especially when you slap a case on it. And now that I've used it for a while, I feel like I wouldn't mind trading some of that battery life to make room for better speakers and a bigger vibration motor.

What do you think? Would you be okay with a thicker and less exciting phone if it had outstanding battery life? Let us know below!

Related phones

ZenFone 6 (2019)
  • Display 6.4" 1080 x 2340 pixels
  • Camera 48 MP
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Octa-core, 2840 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 5000 mAh(33.3h 3G talk time)

FEATURED VIDEO

18 Comments

1. notfair

Posts: 711; Member since: Jan 30, 2017

Because OEM's think that the masses want thinner phones with smaller batteries and big camera bumps which is stupid and not true.

3. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1526; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

4 years selling phones gave me the opposite impression. The masses don't even ask about the battery life and they often went for the thinnest phones.

6. TheOracle1

Posts: 2151; Member since: May 04, 2015

Perhaps but when I tell people the kind of battery life I get from my Nex S they immediately ask where they can get one. It's a good looking phone with a big battery too. It's also still the flagship battery champ on GSMArena. Those numbers he's getting on the Zenfone 6, with 1,000mah more, are almost identical to the Nex S so I'm wondering what's up with the Asus software. One of the reasons Huawei became popular was because of great battery life in sleek designs. Battery size and life are number one on my list for any phone. All the other stuff is useless otherwise.

12. User123456789

Posts: 666; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

Mine is 6.9mm with almost 3000mAh. It is all an excuse from Apple to fool people that thinner phones cant have more than 2800. If Apple wanted they could have 3300 inside 8+ for example, without going 8mm.

13. monoke

Posts: 1151; Member since: Mar 14, 2015

This phone is not even that thick tho. It's only about 1 mm thicker, give or take, than the flagships that top out at about 4000 mah. 1 mm thicker combined with a round back, space eaten by a flip camera, and a whopping 1000 more than everybody else is an amazing engineering feat.

2. Cat97

Posts: 1804; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

You could use a good skin (maybe Alcantara or something thicker than usual) and avoid a case. At that price point, it's easier to not use a case for it, the loss in case of shattering would not be too big. I for one, would not trade battery size for anything except compactness. For me, the Zenfone 6's only con is its lack of compactness (which is actually a pro for the big-screen lovers).

4. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1526; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

I used extended batteries years ago, didn't mind the trade off for better battery life. Than the Note 4 came along, no problems getting all day battery and quick charge was available, gave up on extended batteries at that point. Personally I don't want to own or use a brick, I'm rarely away from electricity for more than a few hours. I work 12 hour shifts and my phone will be above 70% when I get home. (Currently a Note 8) My goal is to have the slimmest and lightest phone possible that can still provide a day's use.

17. Cat97

Posts: 1804; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Big batteries are like SUVs. People need peace of mind.

5. inFla

Posts: 76; Member since: Aug 17, 2018

Physical size and weight are also downsides.

7. Whitedot

Posts: 740; Member since: Sep 26, 2017

I urrently own Redmi Note 7 battery is 4000mah. Huawei phones have even larger capacity yet phones are sleek. Nothing stops manufacturers include larger batteries since many did that it is possible without compromising phone features. Redmi Note 7 has even 3.5mm jack and IR blaster.

8. haydenb

Posts: 125; Member since: Nov 24, 2011

Im seriously considering getting one. Id love to be able to go a couple of days between charges also the fact that the software is now much closer to stock android is also a win

9. hansip87

Posts: 226; Member since: Nov 10, 2015

I actually don't mind with just a 3000mah battery. nowadays power banks and charging station is common, and plus a 1 day battery is enough for most. Plus the most common cause of ded battery is the Android itself, getting some phone idle turned in. with bigger battery Android devs simply take care less when coding their app and it shows.

10. NarutoKage14

Posts: 1313; Member since: Aug 31, 2016

Back when buying extended batteries was a thing I was hauling my Galaxy S3 with a 7000mAh battery. She was a thick and sexy beast. I was getting 30+ hours of SOT between charges.

11. User123456789

Posts: 666; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

Bigger battery = more expensive battery = more space required compared to same phone using a smaller one = design changes = more money spent = less profits

14. MrMalignance

Posts: 213; Member since: Feb 17, 2013

That's faulty logic. Some phones could use bigger batteries no problem. The batteries aren't that expensive, as stated in the article. If you watch videos like that jerryrigeverything guy outs out, you'll see they usually have extra space or aren't using the most efficient batteries for the space being used. When phone makers design the phone they don't have to change it, they're creating it. They are designing it anyways, if they need or want to fit a bigger battery in, they will design accordingly. It's not like they are going to design 90%, then say "oh darn, we forgot the battery space!". You never have to worry about profits, they will always find a way to boost profits, as they always have

15. tacarat

Posts: 854; Member since: Apr 22, 2013

I want battery life. I want metrics with 100% screen brightness. I use my phone as a hotspot while I'm on my laptop, bluetooth hands free so I can work with the other side while diagnosing issues in places with thick walls. I want iOS duration software support, swappable batteries, and Android. Those days are gone >.> I can only hope a Chrome or Fuscia phone goes that route later.

16. Larry_ThaGr81

Posts: 589; Member since: May 26, 2011

My first 4000mah battery was that in the Samsung Galaxy s8 Active. It was like night and day coming from the Samsung Galaxy s7 with its 3000mah battery. The fact that my s8 Active could last me an entire day under heavy usage with battery life to spare was huge for me. I can care less about having to charge the battery while I sleep at night or about 90 minutes before I go to bed. So naturally for me when I decided that I was going to move on from s8 Active to an s10, it was a no brainer as to which phone I was going to get. The s10+ just based on the size of the battery alone was the obvious choice. I just couldn't fathom the thought of going backward in battery capacity from 4000mah down to 3400mah.

18. kevindgay

Posts: 1; Member since: Jun 04, 2019

I'd L.L.LOVE a Bigger Battery...!!!! Mine sucks, I've got a Moto G5Plus I bought a year ago, or so.....If I Use the internet at ALL...!!! I'll need to recharge the battery to get thru the day. Otherwise it won't last 10 hrs, maybe not even 8 if i have to use the phone for researching anything much on the net, without being attached to power. I've killed it many more times than I'd care to remember. With my old HTC phone before the Moto, I could have extra batteries, which I had many, for backups. But the battery with the Moto is not replaceable, well not USER replaceable anyways. I'm sure the new Asus is probably the same, Not user removable, but with 5000mhr, I don't think that will be necessary....!!!

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