My top of the range LG’s 3,000mAh battery was toast in 5 hours today

LG G3Let me first say I am quite enjoying my enforced experiment with the LG G3, LG’s newest flagship model. I like what they’ve done with the device.

The operating platform is fcukng shIt.

There we go.

Let me further revise that statement.

The power management of the operating platform is fcukng shIt.

I mean, utter toss.

Utter fckng drivel.

[I don’t normally use the F word because I tend to get complaints for people who don’t receive their Mobile Industry Review newsletter because the corporate mail system has knocked it into the unobtainable spam folder. Hence the modification, which, incidentally, gets through perfectly fine.]

I am the first to demand access to all the cool toys — big screens, wickedly cool lifestyle monitoring whizzy things along with background processing and multi-app capabilities.

However, I expect that to be at the end of the list for the device manufacturers and software developers. I expect sane heads to make sure the device gets through the flipping day, FIRST. Then add the bells and whistles.

Sadly, that’s not the case.

It’s not just the operating system. You’ll note that I didn’t explicitly blame Android. I used the word ‘platform’ — interchangeable with ‘ecosystem’.

You have to laugh — as I did — I burst out laughing walking along Threadneedle Street this evening when my phone piped up with a “30% of battery left so I’m switching everything off” message.

How is that a fix?

“Here, have 70% worth of amazing experience and then, once you’ve nutted your battery, we’ll switch all that coolness off. So, you can get through the rest of the day.”

My mistake was considering Whatsapp and Google Hangouts as business critical communications platforms.

They are not.

They can’t be when they’re running on top of a device with a super HD screen, dozens of processors and bucketloads of bloaty buggy software running on top of the OS opening all sorts of connections all the flipping time.

Here’s how I used the phone today:

  • I unplugged it from the wall at 130pm.
  • I didn’t touch it until 230pm whereby I used it to check some email and engage in about 20 minutes of Whatsapp.
  • I used Whatsapp occasionally across the next hour plus a bit of email running up to 4pm. I could see the battery draining by the second.
  • I then placed a call from about 530-6pm. That took me to under 50%.
  • I placed another 10 minute call and I was hitting 40%.
  • I walked along Threadneedle Street and lost TEN FLIPPING PERCENT because I was Whatsapping and Google Hangout-ing.

Instant messaging is the absolute bane of my mobile existence. I love it but the phones just cannot, cannot CANNOT hack it. Not when they’re having to do everything else.

I haven’t looked into my LG’s inner gubbings to see what’s been sucking the battery most, but you can bet your bottom dollar the huge glorious screen is up three in the top 3. That and the cellular/data connectivity switching having to take place.

I didn’t expect the phone calls to suck the battery so much, given the screen is off for the duration.

Anyway, I then got in a cab to Waterloo and had the temerity to use Feedly to browse some news. Continually! For a good few minutes. That took me to 15% and the next LG battery warning.

I made it to the train at about 9%.

Utter toss.

So who’s to blame?

Well, Android yes. The handset manufacturer, yes. But let’s give a nod over to Ye Olde Nokia and Symbian and remember how it used to be done. Back in the good old days, developers had their faces pressed against hot coals if they were lazy enough to attempt to open up a communications socket without good, proper, demonstrably useful reason.

That’s because every time your phone has to actually DO something beyond presenting a few menu items at you, there’s an immediate power impact (especially when the phone battery didn’t have to power such hungry screens). Back in the good old days, your mobile apps had to be designed from the ground up to use data sparingly, particularly given the crazy per megabyte rates people had to suffer.

It was drummed into developers that you needed to think very, very carefully about the demands you placed on the phone’s antenna. Back in those days, the wrong code executed at the wrong time could sink your battery and run up tens or hundreds of quid’s worth of data.

There’s a temptation (or, perhaps an assumption) that having a 3G, H or 4G signal on your phone means you’re all good to go, that your phone is ‘connected’. Well, yes. Not quite. There’s a power consumption cost every time you communicate. Even on WiFi, however the technology is a little different there. With mobile data, you’re actually sitting on top of layers of technology and having to deal with the laws of physics too. Inside a building? Arse. Attached to a seriously busy cell tower? You might need more power to establish or maintain that connection. Bad weather? It all adds up.

And then when I come along with my semi-continuous Whatsapp conversations, it all goes to pot.

Because although it seems to me as though I’m having quick 10 second bursts of conversation across 10 minutes, I’m causing power misery, switching my screen on, doing the little taps to open the screen, flicking up the app and so on.

I can’t entirely blame the operating system or the manufacturer. I think, however, there’s a portion of blame that is often unallocated that should be thrown squarely at lazy mobile developers. Let me ask you this: Have you actually thought about the power implications of everything you are asking your app to do? No. Hardly anybody does. As a developer, the ‘connection’ is assumed to be binary and permanent. It’s either on or off.

And when it’s on, go for it.

If you’ve ever been around mobile app developers and looked at the kind of code they execute, most of it (could I go out on a limb and assert that all of it?) blithely assumes the user is on WiFi. The app will certainly be tested on WiFi. With only the most thorough actually testing their apps in real world poor signal areas. And even if there’s a real battery impact, I’ve almost never seen that challenged as a failure or significant problem. It’s ignored.

Which means we’ve got a whole ecosystem more or less guaranteed to annoy the hell out of me.

There is a degree of control when it comes to Apple. Many key operating system features are still entirely out of bounds. Developers can only do so much because Apple wants to control the environment as much as possible. Which means that I often do get better battery performance on iOS… (flippantly) because I can’t do as much as I can with Android. iOS is almost self limiting.

Still you only need to run something like Socialcam properly and have it recording video then uploading it ‘live’ to YouTube to feel the iPhone reach frying pan heat level and the battery hit 20% in 10 minutes.

On Android I’ve got countless processes running all over the place, whether it’s Google tracking my location or DropBox trying to upload the latest photo I’ve snapped and repeatedly hammering my antenna because I’m in a limited signal area. Don’t even mention the GPS or the whizzy “Ok Google” power demands.

Sadly, in the end, the full ownership of the blame rests with me.

My expectations are completely skewed.

I’m using all sorts of apps that I’ve chosen because of their visible utility. If there was some kind of ‘battery consumption kite mark’ for apps I might consider abiding by that and deciding on my app choices with more thought.

But it’s my problem, fundamentally, right?

I should have my screen running at 12% brightness, first of all. I don’t because it’s sometimes difficult to see. Heh.

I should carefully limit my data usage, turning off mobile data until I really need it. And I should deinstall almost everything I’m running and in particular, switch off as many background processes as possible (e.g. Google Sync, Widget updates and so on). I might actually try that.

But… what is the point? I might as well go back to using a top of the range candy bar Nokia offering days of power. And run that alongside an iPad Mini/Full size.

I should have taken my charging cable with me, today, so that I could have sucked some of my Mophie PowerStation’s 10,000mAh to keep me going.

I wonder if anyone has made a 10,000mAh battery for the LG G3?

Or, actually, given I’m using the G3 which sports a removable battery, maybe I should be carrying three of them around with me so I don’t have to limit my actual usage of the phone during the day so I have power to get me home?

I think it’s time for me to make peace with this issue and … finally, finally accept that it’s my fundamentally problem. If I want to use this wickedly good technology (and boy, am I a power user) then I need to recognise and accept I need to always carry spare batteries.

I think my frustration today came from the fact that I stood there in front of the power socket today and thought, “Nah, I won’t need to take the cable today… I’ve got a full charge and it’s not as if I’m going out the whole evening either.”

My mistake. There are some efficiencies to be gained trying to limit unnecessarily functions. I think I should either get a stupid case to destroy the nice feeling of my super-slim LG G3 or always carry a battery charger and lead.


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  • romanovskis

    The bitter irony of this is that LG G2 is the champ of Android battery life, going on for 12-14 hours of continuous use with constant data and screen (this is better than iPhone or Galaxy Note III). LG was very marketing-oriented this year. Adding bigger screen with more pixels that nobody can discern. This screen is power hog and less bright, so you have to crank up brightness. Processor not powerful enough to drive such screen. Battery is changeble but smaller than last year. Overall, bad upgrade for someone looking for full day of intensive use. Then part of the blame should be on Android as well, it just isn’t doing enough to put background apps to minimal power budget. Any badly wrtten app might result in 100% CPU utilisation and Android will happily let it drain your battery to zero within 4-5 hours even if screen is off. So, bad news – there was no real improvement among flagship droids like Sony Z2, LG G3, Galaxy S5, HTC One whatever. The good news – you still can have a 2013 flagship like G2 for half the price. Now it is only 320EUR where I live for 32GB model (16 is too small, and there is no microsd card).

  • James Vincent

    In regards to the app devalopers, they’re sat at their desks, testing these apps but…. Probably with their phones on charge whenever they need! So half probably don’t think about it.
    This rapid battery drain is a surprise as all reviews I’ve watched and read state a day and a half on one charge.
    I know I’ve mentioned it before in response to your wife’s iPhone [ooh, how’s she getting on with the HTC one?] But maybe check the phone’s sync settings are on manual and also sync settings in each app. They are there just not obvious most of the time. Or maybe you’ve just got a bad battery or even the battery could be fine and apps may not be doing the draining, but the phone software could have a problem. I know that sounds a little odd but it may be miss reading the battery info. Maybe call LG support.

  • Ewan

    I reckon it’s just constant use. The battery seems pretty good under what I’d term standard use cases. But I was really making a lot of demands with whatsapp and Google hangouts chat more or less running continually in a congested network environment.
    I just need to get better at the reality check: my preferred interaction model is battery intensive so I need to provide more power when I require it and it’s probably also time for me to stop complaining about it.

  • Dan Field

    It’s a bit of a free for all with Android Apps at the moment… there is no organisation when it comes to the core data, signalling access… every App for themselves! So some of the blame is down to the OS, but a lot (as you’ve touched on here) is bad App design.

    Going back to the old Nokia days developers had to be considerate about every resource they used… most don’t really care today. And with the many easy to use App development tools it makes the matter worse… people are removed further from the process and have even less control and visibility on what goes on behind the scenes.

    Be interesting to see what comes from Google L which should hopefully help bring some organisation to the data connections/signalling!

  • Juan Ageitos

    The way I interact with sockets had to change in the last few years. I used to try my luck at home or at the office to see if my phone could survive my heavy usage but I have given up… I am now charging my phone all the time… when i get home, when i get to the office, on planes using a external battery charger… I suppose this will be my default behaviour until we get to see some proper battery life… The convenience of having some battery left is too precious ie: maps, calendar, instant messaging, media player

  • Ewan

    Totally agree. I’ve begun to change my attitude to “always have secondary power”.

  • howlingcoyote1

    Just bought my LG G3, had it for three days, and my first impressions are the power experience is odd. It charges quickly (from 3/4 down to full in less than an hour), it sucks virtually no power when the screen is off. Overnight, it used 5% of the battery and most of that was for the alarm to wake me up. But when that screen is on…. it sucks up the power. I’m going to try dropping the brightness by half.

    I did notice something odd.

    I did a quick charge from that 95% to 100% for a few minutes this morning, and then 20 minutes later I made a 10 minute phone call. Power went down from 100% to… 100%. So maybe it’s the battery indicator that is off.

    Just a thought.

    And yes, the EXPERIENCE of the phone is pretty awesome. Other than it keeps pushing Messaging+ vs. Messaging on me, and the lock screen will lag unless I use facial recognition.

  • Ewan

    That’s a good point, maybe it’s the battery indicator! I haven’t yet forced my LG G3 to power off because of low battery. I might try that soon!

  • roki977 .

    Worst case was close to 8 hours with mine and with similar pattern as yours. I do use auto brightness doe, only 2 emails but i use camera a lot. So far G3 is good enough for my working day and usually i come home with 30 + %. after 9, 10 hours of medium to heavy usage. I must say that in first week the G3 was very inconsistent with battery life but thing settled after that.

  • howlingcoyote1

    Now we are 16 days in and here are my experiences with the phone. Overall… quite awesome. I’ve gone as long as 80 hours without a charge (with light usage) and as little as 30 or so with heavy usage (for me.) The 30 hours came after uninstalling JuiceDefender Plus and simply putting it on a schedule with Timeriffic. Do I have issues with the phone? Yes, but not enough to regret buying it or wanting to trade it in at all:

    1. It keeps forcing Verizon’s Messaging+ on me and I just gave up and used it. You suck, Verizon. That’s a Verizon problem, not an LG problem.
    2. I occasionally will run into a problem when I power off or power on. It’ll take 4-5 attempts. This happens infrequently and I don’t know the cause, but I would guess the lock screen is the problem because…
    3. The only time the lock screen doesn’t have some sort of lag is when I use facial recognition AND it works. Otherwise, it’s the only thing that does have lag.
    4. Okay, “Grumpy Cat: Unimpressed”, runs a bit slow and I don’t know why. But it doesn’t lag, it’s a consistent slow like “move this block x pixels per second” and being Quad HD…. well I guess it seems half or 3/4-speed which would make sense.

    What I like? Everything else.

    I should add, I typically keep brightness at Auto which seems to be around 20% but I am using it indoors. I primarily use this for email (personal and corporate) and web surfing. And some Youtube when I’m on wi-fi. Calls and texts do not seem to drain the power hardly at all. Typically when I get home at night I will still have 60-70% of my battery after charging it fully the previous night. I should add, this is my alarm clock too. It takes about 90 minutes for a FULL charge from a nearly empty (6%) state.

  • howlingcoyote1

    Ewan, I can’t help but wonder if our different experiences have to do with different carriers and bloatware. I’m in the United States using Verizon and I could be wrong, but got the impression you are in the UK. Could how each of our phones came configured (software) have something to do with it?

  • Marc

    My G3 dropped from 10% to 5% just while reading this article. I almost want to call LG and see if my phone has a defect, because from my experience, when actually using the phones display (at 50 %) it drops about 1 percent every 2 minutes.

  • Ewan

    Pleased it’s not just me!

  • Ewan

    Yeah I think I will have a different version of the software than you (I’m UK based)

  • Nicholas Polydor

    “But… what is the point? I might as well go back to using a top of the range candy bar Nokia offering days of power. And run that alongside an iPad Mini/Full size.”

    The new Nokia 130 is only 19€ and offers a month’s battery life!

  • Ewan

    I am attracted to that!

  • Lilith_Black

    It’s best to swap the phone for a new one (Highly suspect that this is a faulty phone)

  • Darthjr

    At least I’m not the only one. I’m on my second yes second g3 and have gone back to my secondary lumnia 925 mainly because of the battery life. I loose 30-40% playing asphalt 8 (my little addiction) in 5 minutes. Thank god for the tmobile jump program because I only have to live with this phone for 6 months.

  • howlingcoyote1

    I’m actually pretty happy with it.

  • Marko Antonio Avello Ballester

    Please don’t fuck up!

    I unplugged from 2am and now at 1:45am (the other day) my battery stills at 15% so i used it a lot: playing, using social apps, browsing in the web, updating apps from play store, taking some photos and calling, is not the best battery (that QuadHD display drains a lot of power) but is enough for a day of usage or a bit more.

    With some software/system update things can go better. I recommend LG G3 with my experience using it.

  • kmansoft

    On my new LG G3, the “Android OS” is keeping the device awake about 1/3 of all time (e.g. 12 hours on battery — about 4 hours of total wake lock time used). I use almost no third party apps, Google Now is off, standby voice detection is off.

    So it’s not always “bloatware” and “third party apps” and “lack of control from Google” — when the OS itself is blatantly battery hungry and bloated (and 4.4 was supposed to be the most battery efficient ever).

    Incidentally, my previous phone, Galaxy Note 3, also started doing it after it got the 4.4 OTA update, without any changes in my usage patterns. Prior to that (Android 4.3), the Note 3 was fine.

  • Krysyst

    17 hours on battery and I’m still at 41%. I don’t know what you’re doing, but I had at least 10 hours of Spotify and my screen still took up 35% more usage in the time than Spotify did. So far this phone is absolutely excellent, and the only thing I can think that would cause subpar battery performance would be charging through a socket emitting a large amount of electrical noise (static) thus lowering the charging efficiency of the battery, and causing longtime damage. Installation of a noise filter (generally connected with a surge protector) generally filters 93-98% of noise and offers a much cleaner charge. Kind of like filling your car with a litre of petrol, and a litre of water (without filter) compared to 2 clean litres of petrol (with filter).
    The longest the LG G3 has lasted for me is 41 hours without charging. That included periods of excessive use, and periods where it was entirely unused (sleeping). Always at 60% screen brightness and full noise notification volume + vibrations.

    Funnily enough I’m a retail salesman that sells this stuff for a living, as well as a qualified electronics technician. Give it a go, give your batteries a better charge.

  • Ewan

    How do you handle the preinstalled McAfee software?

  • Krysyst

    I never accepted any user agreements, nor activated the software to begin with. Since it has access to the entire phone; before it is allowed to legally operate you must accept the user agreement as well as their privacy policy, not accepting this has made the software just an icon in my app drawer.

  • Guest

    Another trick you can do is to go to Settings > General > Apps > McAfee Mobile Security > Uninstall Updates

    I did this just now after opening it, and the entire app was killed. No sign of it after a small “Deactivated” message was displayed above the bottom of the app grid.

  • Ewan

    Ok… so reset your phone and activate it and see how your device performance changes? ;-)

  • Jake Downward

    I have a LG G3 UK version, I had the same problem as you for the first few days, after that I installed greenify(which doesn’t need root these days) and just put a lot on hibernation which I don’t use.

    Since then, my battery life is excellent, I’m on 3 hours screen on time with 47% battery left. I’ve played several games, streamed spotify for an hour or so on full volume, streamed a few YouTube videos and browsed the web quite a bit with my Jawbone Up24 syncing all day via Bluetooth.

    If you haven’t sorted the battery problem yet, try what I did! Best of luck :)

  • Ewan

    Ah excellent suggestion I’ll try that Jake, thank you!

  • Thanassi Karageorgiou

    I have the same 100% experience when using from a full charge. It’s usually staying at 100% despite about what I would call 5-7% usage before displaying 99%

  • Lilith_Black

    I find little need for screen brightness to be hiked up to more than 50% for a comfortable viewing experience (I usually find that it is perfectly bright enough indoors at 0-20% and even outdoors on a sunny day I rarely hike it above 50%). I kept auto off.

    My battery life for these first 4 days gave me about 11-13 hours of battery life with about 4-4.5 hours of on screen time (I was surfing the net, youtube, Facebook, and some light gaming like Minecraft and Don’t touch the white piano tile):
    if what is said on forums is credible, I could get about 6 hours of on screen time after a week of using the battery.
    (I keep wifi on at all times indoors along with sync and turned off wifi scanning even when it is off, uninstalled LG apps I don’t use, shut “ok google” off which is a big battery drain, disabled quite a few other apps I don’t use that comes preloaded, installed Greenify on my 3rd day, static wallpaper, turned off smart notice and smart bulletin, and turned off haptic feedback for nav bar)

    I have no idea but maybe the first software update (which noted battery life optimisation) is a big deal? I’m using a 32GB LG G3 (D855)

  • howlingcoyote1

    “it’s probably also time for me to stop complaining about it” – I disagree. Thinner, lighter, better screen, more CPU power, better graphics are all nice and sweet. But none of it means a damn thing if there isn’t a decent battery on the phone, and the OS in the default state provided by the carrier is not an impediment to long battery life. If anything, we should complain louder. Get rid of crapware and bloatware we don’t need on a device we pay too much for.

    When my next contract ends (in 2016), if I had a choice between a phone that was 1/4″ thicker, but had a 12K mAh battery vs. a 4K one, and the difference was $200-$250… I’d pay for the 12K battery. I guess people think thinner is better and my phone is a already skinny, Chaplainesque rail, thank you very much.

    Ewan, I do think you need to reset the LG G3, remove McAfee and try your experiment again. For science, of course. :) Then that way, you can rail against the right thing.

    P.S. My Verizon version of the phone is still working great overall (with the same complaints noted above) — but that doesn’t mean I’m not waiting for the day where I can use my phone constantly (whatever smart-phone model that is) but only charge it twice a month for an hour at a time and never fall below 20%. 2025, maybe?

  • Tyler Hatch

    I got mine yesterday with 2 issues with one fixed so far.
    1. VZWAVSSERVICE has stopped. All I had to do was disable and force stop Google plus.
    2. It shuts down (or deep sleep) randomly. From what I have read so far it is a faulty battery, if you contact your carrier within 15 days of purchase you can get a free replacement.
    For me battery depends HEAVILY on the usage.

  • Andy Deeks

    I have had an LG G3 for a month now, Over the last week the battery has been draining lots and the phone getting hot (I would unplug at 5:30am and it would be out at 4pm with not much use).

    For everyone getting poor battery life try a factory reset if you haven’t from new, I did and over the last week by battery life has been great! (unplugged at 5:30am yesterday, with quite a bit of use during the day and still had 40% left by the time I went to bed at 10:30!) I’m very impressed with the G3 and would recommend it to anyone!

  • howlingcoyote1

    Now that Verizon has issued an update, I’ll have to retest the issues below. I would also add it would be nice to scale down the resolution to 720p in the settings, providing it saves on battery life.

    I still get 1.5-2.5 days out of a charge. But my usage (and lack of McAfee) is different too.

  • Graham Radetsky

    Ugh I have this phone even if I unplug it at 25 percent, it will last me 4-5 hours before dying and that is with WiFi, GPS, and data on. I also love how fast it charges I can charge half way in about 40 minutes. The other half takes about twice as long. But fully charged I can easily go a full day with phone calls, Facebook, and do some 3d gaming. I have so many games on this phone. If your discharging as fast as you said your either having a defective battery or a crappy charger meant for a weaker phone that trickle charges and fails to charge accurately 100 percent even if it says it is at 100 or probably both. Nonetheless I think this is the users fault mine is great. I actually just came from a Samsung s4 oh my does that such it would discharge from 100 in about 12-14 hours doing nothing, lasted about 8-10 hours doing the same this phone does for 30 hours. And that is being nice my coworker has the s4 as well and says he feels lucky if he can go 6 hours without it dying. I think if you used the phone right you would phone that the LG g3 actually has phenomenal battery compared to almost any other android phone.

  • Asma Shyme Shimmery

    my lg g3 is only one week old and it drops 1% every minute I think…I charge it every day althought I use it for only 2hours or a bit more daily.. what am I SUPPOSED TO DO it’s pisssing me offf

  • Asma Shyme Shimmery

    wow 30hrs of heavy use .. how is this possible??

  • howlingcoyote1

    I think I answered that in two ways:
    1. 30 hours of heavy usage FOR ME. Your mileage and the original author’s may way.
    2. JuiceDefender Plus, though I’ve since replaced that with Timeriffic since my schedule is pretty regular and I know when I’m turning bluetooth/wi-fi etc. on and off.

    Today, I’ve had light use. 11h 3m = 10% of battery life off a full charge. 90% is left. I’m getting an estimate for 57h 23m remaining.

    And remember, I’m in America. The original author has a different carrier using McAfee, which I’m suspecting is a lot of the issue. Maybe not all of it (that damn screen is part of it…who asked for Quad HD anyway?)

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