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Design or battery: which will make you buy a smartphone?

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Few Android manufacturers release less than two smartphones per year. There are numerous models available for all tastes and preferences and apparently, we are living in the smartphone era of design vs battery. This topic was already widely commented on at the time of the launch of the iPhone 6 and the Galaxy S6, but was brought back to the front line this month with recent smartphone launches.

Smartphone brands around the world strengthen their portfolios by offering multiple options for all styles and budgets. Let's take a look at the Moto series for example, which was a company that (until recently) used to sell three smartphone lines to best serv different types of users.

The Moto X, Moto G and Moto E series all had similar software, with decent battery life and also a great design. This is quite different today, now that the company has decided to focus more on groups of users with different requirements - the hardware is very similar between the products, but the intention of use is already changing.

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Motorola models used to be leaner and more consistent in terms of hardware. / © ANDROIDPIT

The most integral fact here is that the design and battery no longer go hand in hand among the brand's products. The Moto C Plus and Moto E4 Plus, for example, cost less than $200 and have large batteries, as opposed to Moto Z2 Play, which is the premium intermediary. In the case of Moto Z2 Play, the battery was pushed into the background this year, and this happened in favor of a more sophisticated design.

Design and battery no longer go hand in hand with each other anymore

It's worth noting that the brand's average model has regressed compared to an entry-level model in that respect, as the company understands that there is a larger audience in that price range that cares more about the battery. Three years ago, however, the Moto Maxx brought something different to the table, being an expensive product with a generous battery. Motorola still focused on batteries in the Style and Play series, while its focus changed with the arrival of Moto Z. For a while, the brand was see-sawing between design and battery.

As I said above, this problem is not specific to Motorola, but is just the current trend of markets, where novelties revolve around features, and where the user chooses the best option for himself. Of course, leaner and more consistent lines are always better, but if you were looking for a new smartphone today amid so much variety, would you choose a phone because of its battery or its design?

Design or battery: what do you look for in a smartphone?
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Camila Rinaldi

Camila Rinaldi
Head of Editorial

With over 10 years of reviewing smartphones and wearables, I recently became addicted to smart home gadgets. Even though I dove into the Apple ecosystem two years back, Android remains as one of my passions. Previously editor-in-chief of AndroidPIT and Canaltech in Brazil, I now write for the US market. I love my records and I believe that the best way to get to know a place is through its food.

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  • Dean L. 34
    Dean L. Jul 5, 2017 Link to comment

    A removable battery is nice to have but not a necessity for me. Design and features first and battery life second but a full days use is still what I want. Extra battery packs are more useful since they're not limited to one device which is why I have four of them and usually carry at least two with me.

    • Eduardo Barriga Caro 7
      Eduardo Barriga Caro Jul 5, 2017 Link to comment

      I am sorry but I think that carrying several batteries is not convenient nor practical. Pockets full of batteries is not a nice idea, in my opinion. I think that a long lasting battery, removable so it can be replaced, is much more practical and easy to handle around. The battery charge should last at least a week, not one day. IT IS possible. It is just a matter of R&D. I remember about 20 years ago many people said it was impossible to have a colour TV hanging on the wall. Today is reality!!

      Brittany McGhee

  • 10
    solis Jul 5, 2017 Link to comment

    Well I expect the battery to last a day with moderate use, nothing less will do, but most phones do this today, so design is more important.

    Brittany McGheeDeactivated AccountDean L.

  • Ozigamers 4
    Ozigamers Jul 5, 2017 Link to comment

    The longer battery life is much more important than having a stylish phone. There are many phones in the market that offer pretty phones but their battery timing sucks, so i think longer battery timing and a decent looking phone is all a person needs these days.

  • Albin Foro 30
    Albin Foro Jul 2, 2017 Link to comment

    I'm not sure binary choices are the best approach to the (serious) problem of optimization. "Battery Life" for a particular user's real life use is probably better as a way to think about keeping the phone lit and working than the simple size of battery, as if "other elements" like screen quality, CPU or "must have" apps don't matter. In my own case, while I bought phones with an eye to replaceable batteries I've never actually bought one. In real life carrying a 5000 mAh external is handier than a replacement (since I can use it on phone, tablet or lend it to others) and by the time the battery wears down the Android version, memory and storage have also worn out, so that "built in obsolescence" can't be pegged to the battery alone. Since I'm a cheapskate who will never buy a flagship phone, am indifferent to the jewelry aspect of cases, don't want to lug around anything bigger than 5 inches above my belt, and don't need a super res screen, I'm looking for an optimal combo of battery and other specs.

    Dean L.stormitprolonden

  • 12
    Deactivated Account Jul 2, 2017 Link to comment

    Having good battery life is much more important to me between the two, but having said that, there is no reason that a phone with good to great battery life can't be nice looking as well.

    Dean L.Deactivated Account

  • Eduardo Barriga Caro 7
    Eduardo Barriga Caro Jul 2, 2017 Link to comment

    Long battery life first and removable battery second and a very strong VOICE CALL signal are for me the most important features when I pick a new phone. What's the use of having a beautiful phone if it has non-removable, short duration battery, and weak phone signal? Just because it is nice and attractive? Not for me.

    Dean L.Hans FDeactivated Account

  • 26
    Andrew Burgin Jul 1, 2017 Link to comment

    After using the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge over a year,and the superb batterylife this phone offered,even though Samsung got criticism of the design of the S7 Edge,after you get used to using the edge screen,it was a super phone to use,it was the use of Glass I did not like as you end up being so worried of breaking the phone,as the cost of the screens for Samsung screens is getting more expensive,and getting the right tempered glass to protect the screen can be very annoying,that's what Samsung should have thought about before creating there Edge screen phones,then the Samsung S8 models got announced,and the design of this phone and knowing Samsung is offering better batterylife,I know I had to switch to the S8 Plus,and so glad I made the right choice,as the screen is Amazing to view and use and batterylife the same,well done Samsung and cheers for this brilliant phone

  • 31
    Deactivated Account Jul 1, 2017 Link to comment

    I'd like a modern design which includes a removable battery and decent software support.
    you can't really separate design and battery... in a smartphone they are inseparable.
    some current "fashionable" flagship designs favour a bonded glass back... cos that was the way it was designed..
    OEMs have decided there is quite simply no profit in removable batteries.
    we have our own collective ignorance and selfish greed to thank..
    mostly we all live in a world (hell) of our own making that only works if it's financially viable and profitable..

    funny cos the natural world works by recycling again and again.. mother nature and the universe has no need to profit or justify it's existence by profit...
    neither do humans.

    Dean L.Deactivated AccountLeland Whitlock

    • 28
      itprolonden Jul 3, 2017 Link to comment


      • 31
        Deactivated Account Jul 4, 2017 Link to comment

        What's your question??

  • Tage .T 8
    Tage .T Jul 1, 2017 Link to comment

    I will never buy SOMETHING that's happened to have a
    'half eaten Apple' back the phone. Not joking.

    Leland Whitlock

  • 46
    Deactivated Account Jul 1, 2017 Link to comment

    A few years ago all phones had removable batteries. Nobody ever talked about battery life because everybody had spares. Now with planed obsolescence in full swing with non removable batteries that all you ever hear about? I never worry about battery life. I have a minimum of 3 batteries for every phone I have. One in the charger, one in the phone, and one charged and standing by. Seldom do I plug my phone in directly. I think it runs better because I am always removing the power source and resetting the phone.

    Dean L.Hans FDeactivated AccountLeland Whitlockstorm

  • George W. 10
    George W. Jul 1, 2017 Link to comment

    A strong and long lasting battery is still a work in progress. But the most important need is more RAM - say 10 GB for starters. Also enough internal phone storage that's built in - say about 500 GB. Lessens the need for Micro SD cards. They are not perfect, lots of users have issues with them. Solving these issues can lengthen the life of a smartphone - less impact on the environment.

    Leland Whitlock

    • 28
      itprolonden Jul 3, 2017 Link to comment

      More RAM means nothing if the apps can't access it

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