The best 5 phones with removable batteries

The best 5 phones with removable batteries
With the latest Galaxy S6 and S6 edge, Samsung finally threw in the towel, and joined the Great Unibody Movement, sealing off access to the battery compartment of its new flagships. Phones with removable and easy-to-swap batteries are becoming a rare commodity these days, especially good ones with a swappable juicer, as flagships are increasingly turning their attention to the slim and premium design paradigm.

A lot of folks still prefer smartphones with removable batteries, though, and for various reasons, chief among which is the possibility to carry a charged spare in your pocket when you will be away from the plug for a while. Granted, you can carry a power bank or a battery case, too, but it's not the same thing, as you either have to wait for the charge to trickle in, or the phone gets bulky and uncomfortable to handle. The spare is easy to carry, plug-and-play, and can be swapped within a few seconds when the original juicer dies down. 

Furthermore, instead of improving on battery life, manufacturers are actually regressing this year, as can be attested by both the Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9 flagships, which last a tad less than their predecessors. That is why we are rounding up a few of the best phones with replaceable batteries you can get right now, for those who are into it. If the list reads like a who-is-who of Samsung phones, that's because it is.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 ($600)

The Galaxy Note 4 should be on the top of your list when shopping for a phone with a removable battery, as it might just be the last truly great handset with an accessible battery compartment, given the current trends, Samsung included.

LG G3 ($400)

As the first brand-name flagship shipping with a Quad HD display, the LG G3 uses a high-res display that is not of the power-sipping variety, hence its battery life is not all that, even though it does come with a hearty 3000 mAh juicer. Fret not, though, as LG has equipped its 2014 flagship with a swappable battery, and even throws in a second juicer in the box, depending on the region you buy the G3 from.

Samsung Galaxy S5 ($400)

The Galaxy S5 might have a waterproof rating that allows you to submerge it in liquids, but it still offers a replaceable battery that is as easy to swap as in all other Galaxy S line flagships prior to the S6.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 ($400)

Oldie but goldie, the Note 3 offers a 5.7" 1080p display, 13 MP camera, the S Pen stylus functions, and a generous 3200 mAh juicer that can be swapped at will.

Samsung Galaxy Alpha ($300)

The paper-thin rear battery cover of the Galaxy Alpha makes it seem almost a unibody phone, but don't be fooled. A "merely" 720p 4.7" display means you are getting a pretty good battery life out of the 1860mAh juicer, but still you can't carry a spare and last a whole weekend away from the outlet with the Alpha. In addition, you will be getting a snappy processor, and a great 12 MP camera with phase-detection autofocus.



1. djorn2k

Posts: 12; Member since: Sep 03, 2014

I didn't know I can change my battery on my Note 4. I forgot that I didn't need too. People complain about changing batteries but how often do they really do.

4. maherk

Posts: 6960; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Tbh, i always did up until the Note 3. I don't live in a desert, so as long as a phone can give me a full day of heavy usage, its fine for me, i ll plug in the charger before going to bed.

17. namesib

Posts: 97; Member since: Feb 08, 2015

The Note 4 does not come with the battery pre-installed, so you must have known it is removable/replaceable when you first inserted it into the device. Anyway, 18 months down the line when the battery is degraded I like knowing I will be able to replace it at home. No risk of it getting lost in transit to/from the service centre, damaged during repair, etc.

20. SupermanayrB

Posts: 1188; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

Usually when you by the phone at the carriers' store, the sales associate puts the battery in the phone, therefore making your first statement invalid.

49. TA700

Posts: 83; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

Wouldn't you be watching while they install the battery or do they pre-assemble before it gets to the buyer?

50. g2a5b0e unregistered

You said "usually" which means it doesn't ALWAYS happen. You just conceded to the point that it may not have happened to him. This makes your statement invalid. For instance, I like to unbox my phones myself. I never have the sales associate do any of that for me.

34. seanwhat

Posts: 321; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

i do every day instead of plugging my phone in. 0-100% in 15 seconds. BAM

36. Slammer

Posts: 1515; Member since: Jun 03, 2010

It's not all about changing them just for the sake of it. It is about serviceability and proactive maintenance to avoid costly repairs. Batteries account for 35-40% of all phone malfunctions. Some of these can be minimized with proper care and being able to remove it to spot issues before the major faults happen within the phone. Sealing in the batteries has elevated industry service costs by 52% in the last two years. Many symptoms, other than not holding a charge, can be attributed to a failing or failed battery. Often phones are exchanged after a hefty deductible has been shelled out only to find that it was most likely a simple battery fail. People should not be ignoring this most naturally failed component in their devices. It recommended unanimously by "Engineers" and "Technicians" to visually inspect the batteries every 6 months during the warranty period and 3-4 months thereafter to check for visual damage. You simply cannot do this when they are sealed. The manufacturers know this and can sell a refurbished phone to consumers even when the consumer is still paying down the original. In contrast, paying $30 dollars for a new removable battery and changing it yourself, can solve as many as 9 different problems indigenous to smartphone issues that service centers love to charge for. Issues you probably wouldn't think are caused by a worn battery. With removable batteries, there are no needless trips to a qualified service center, extensive down time, no hefty deductibles, no headaches and you have more money in your pocket. John B.

45. epdm2be

Posts: 824; Member since: Apr 20, 2012

Does term "Hand-me-down" rings a bell? So you're one of these rich kids who can change expensive (+500 euro) phones every 6 months? Never had a phone with DOA battery? Especially since all that crap is nowadays made in China, the land of high quality stuff. Then what? Instead of exchanging the battery your brand new phone gets send in for "repair"? By one of those incompetent repair-companies whom can't repair one thing without breaking something else... all that on your brand new phone? There's probably a gazillion reasons besides these.

51. TA700

Posts: 83; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

I don't change my battery but I do like that feature. Batteries over time will lose it's capacity, all I need to do is just buy a new one to replace it. In fact, I'm shopping for a double capacity battery right now. If you've ever had a device with a bloated battery, you'll appreciate having a removable back. The thought of it blowing up in the front pocket is scary. In a sealed device especially those made with "premium" materials & unibody design, it's harder to spot.

60. iLovesarcasm

Posts: 589; Member since: Oct 20, 2014

It's about the longevity of the device, you can change the battery without going to service center and paying extra bucks. Not for daily usage.

2. gaming64 unregistered

Can't you see? The Note 4 belongs with me. You belong with me! *kisses Note 4 pic*

3. maherk

Posts: 6960; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Funny how HTC and Sony fans are always criticizing the S6 for its lack of micro sd slot AND removable batteries, yet none of their high end or even mod rangers offer removable batteries. They are also the same ones who used to say that they ll take a nexus phone over the Galaxy flagships

6. gaming64 unregistered

It's fanboyism in Super Saiyan mode.

10. chebner

Posts: 249; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

No, what's funny is how fast Samsung fans changed their tune when they found out the S6 wouldn't have a removable battery. For a couple years Samsung fans have been on the removable battery soapbox spouting how important removable batteries are, now they've finally reached the conclusion that everyone else did quite a while ago. HTC and Sony fans are just laughing at the hypocrisy. The microSD slot is much more important and useful. Thankfully HTC brought it back with the M8. Hopefully consumers will win out with that one until budget level phones come with 128GB native storage.

18. namesib

Posts: 97; Member since: Feb 08, 2015

Then there are two types of 'fans'. I recently bought a Note 4 because the S6 doesn't offer a removable battery/microSD. If they stick with this decision I'll seek another OEM for my next device.

23. FluffyBled unregistered

Well then ... soon there won't be any phones you can buy :)!

33. chebner

Posts: 249; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

If we as consumers blindly follow our OEM of choice, just automatically accepting whatever they release, then yes your comment will likely end up being true. In the end, consumers will lose. On the contrary, if we don't blindly run out and buy the next big thing they release, maybe the OEMs will get the picture. Today's phones are perfectly fine to use for 2 years. Most people upgrade every 2 years or less. Many PA readers upgrade ever year. If an OEM dumps a feature that was important to us last year, we shouldn't just automatically accept their propaganda explaining why they dumped that feature. MicroSD cards will only slow your phone down if you are dumb in how you use them. MicroSD cards are too slow and caused lag was Apple's argument to why they refused to include them on the iPhone and iPad. We (Android users) knew that was BS 5 years ago. Why is it not still BS today? Because Samsung or some other OEM or PA says so? I used to upgrade every year. Thankfully the EVO 4g LTE (Sprint variant of HTX ONEx) included a microSD (while other variants didn't). Otherwise I probably would have switched to Samsung or LG back then. I passed on the ONE M7 because it didn't have microSD. HTC brought microSD back in the M8 so I got it. I was contemplating getting the M9 until battery life results were released. WOW, they really screwed something up. I don't need a new phone so I will pass for now and dream about the M10. If HTC screws something up on M10 that really matters to me I'll probably dump them and get something that meets my needs better. All you Samsung fans should be doing the same. Don't buy into the propaganda. If you don't need a new phone then pass on the S6 and make the decision next year. If you have 2 year old phone then you have a tough decision this year. Before all you Samsung fans start bashing me let me say this. The S6 appears to be a great phone. For the first time I agree, on the whole it is better than HTC's offering. But it is a lot like the M7: great phone, great and beautiful design, huge improvement over previous generation, with one huge drawback (M7 had 2), no SD card. If you get an S6 I hope it lives up to your dreams. Just don't be an iSheep and follow your blind love. That's supposeed to be what makes Android users better than iSheep. LOL ... About the non replaceable battery, who gives a rat's a$$.

38. Slammer

Posts: 1515; Member since: Jun 03, 2010

Are you happy about lack of choice? John B.

46. epdm2be

Posts: 824; Member since: Apr 20, 2012

...And thus we WONT buy a expensive phone anymore. As for now, we'll just stick with the great Galaxy S5 (Plus) which is still a good phone with more than enough performance for 2015 and beyond. Perhaps Samsung will in 2016 come to their senses.

65. Emu314159

Posts: 2; Member since: Sep 08, 2015

Yes, notHing personal, but by all means put a smiley at the end of that, we should all welcome fewer options. Even with the apps I've bought on Android, I'd switch ecosystems to get a phone I can use for more than a year. Fortunately the note 4 is a beast and should tide me over for a bit, esp since the note 5 redefines lackluster incremental "improvement" while leaving out half the stuff we really liked about the 4 (removable battery, microsd slot, ir blaster). I almost feel like putting a NOS one away, but by the time something actually fails on it, I'm afraid it won't be compatible with new versions of apps.

37. Slammer

Posts: 1515; Member since: Jun 03, 2010

Show me some hypocrisy about the removable battery. I've been checking sites, articles, ads, some engineering sites. All seem to have the average user pegged at 55% displeasure with non removable batteries and lack of SD Cards. I've been a Samsung user for the last 3 phones. I've also been an Apple owner, HTC owner and countless other manufacturers. I've "Spouted" the same critique no matter what brand. The S6 will not be getting my business. John B.

41. chebner

Posts: 249; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

My hypocrisy comment was not pointed at anyone looks over all the available options and makes an informed decision based on that review. It sounds like that's what you do John. My hypocrisy comment was pointed at the (mostly) Samsung fanboys that have criticized HTC, Sony, and other OEMs the last few years for their lack of removable battery and/or MicroSD slot and are now spouting that the S6 and Edge are the best things since sliced bread, and completely buying into the propaganda being spread to justify the change. I don't see the value of a removable battery. I've never had a battery issue. But unless they start putting 128 GB native storage on all phones MicroSD storage is important, especially for anyone who cares about the quality of there media!

43. Slammer

Posts: 1515; Member since: Jun 03, 2010

Now out of the two options, I've had the opposite issues. I've had very little problems with SD cards and have had more than my share of battery problems. But, as a service technician for about 40 years and working around batteries, I can spot a battery issue that my not even resemble a battery problem by mainstream users. However, I also believe whether I've had issues or not with SD cards, I don't believe a flagship device should be with out the flexibility. It bothers me that those that don't need them or never used them feel so numb that in the event of cloud failure or battery failure, it is great knowing you have backup accessibility. The technology and pricing of a top, premium device should have coexistence with both forms of options. If you like cloud use it, if you don't need removable battery, ignore it. But, we should never allow the option to pass due to profits being the sole intention of this elimination. I expect less options on a cheaper phone, not a $900-$1000 phone. John B.

47. epdm2be

Posts: 824; Member since: Apr 20, 2012

"My hypocrisy comment was pointed at the (mostly) Samsung fanboys that have criticized HTC, Sony, and other OEMs the last few years for their lack of removable battery and/or MicroSD slot and are now spouting that the S6 and Edge are the best things since sliced bread" That are NOT the same customers! Most o/t die hard fans of removable batteries and micro-SDcard-slots will skip this S6 and probably stick with their S4/S5/Note4.

62. chebner

Posts: 249; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

I've been pretty busy lately and haven't been able to read all the articles. What I've seen in most of the articles I've been able to read is a consensus that the S6 is the best phone ever and nothing else can compare. Everyone is so hyped up about the new design they've overlooked the shortcomings of no MicroSD and no removable battery. It's good to know there will be a lot of people skipping the S6. Hopefully it will be enough for Samsung to bring those features back to the S line in the future.

52. maherk

Posts: 6960; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Of course around 55% of the comments posted on the S6 articles will be criticizing the choice to remove SD slots and removable batteries. Why? Maybe because there is someone who is called John B snaps the chance to nag about Samsung's choice on almost every god damn S6 article. I get your frustration, but isn't it ironic that someone like you who always portrays himself as a tech guy, has failed to discuss the new technologies and vast improvements compared to it's predecessor?? I mean 99% of your comments are bashing the S6 and recently it was also accusing Samsung of buying articles and their comment's section!! It's ok to complain about something, but it is extremely annoying reading the EXACT same comments for a month and a half now, especially if it is coming from someone who portrays himself as the ultimate techguy on this planet!!

55. corporateJP

Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 2009

You mad because he's right?

56. g2a5b0e unregistered

No, he's mad because Slammer has turned into the biggest, whiniest crybaby on the internet.

58. Slammer

Posts: 1515; Member since: Jun 03, 2010

Seriously? You have misinterpreted every damn point I've tried to make regarding consumer vs industry. If this constitutes a crybaby definition, then I will accept the label. But, I won't be hypocritical to my observations and I won't stop expressing my observations. If your observations are to accept what this industry is doing because you feel you can't do anything about it, then maybe we need more crybabies like myself. John B.

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