When you’re in the market for a new smartphone, what features do you typically look for? Perhaps you need to know what processor is installed or the quality of its camera. The battery’s quality is another key decision-maker when picking out a new phone. This time, however, we’re not going to discuss how long a battery lasts. We’re going to discuss the removable vs. non-removable battery issue.
It’s not something you usually see advertised alongside battery life, screen size, and camera megapixels. Sometimes they’re called “non-removable,” and sometimes they’re “built-in.” However, removable and non-removable batteries have their fair share of differences (one of which you can tell from the name alone!) and can influence whether or not you purchase a specific device.
Removable vs. Non-Removable Batteries
The difference between the two is very simple. Removable batteries can be taken out of the phone, usually by opening up the back plate and taking it out. Non-removable batteries will be encased within the phone’s vital components. It’ll be hard, if not impossible, to remove the battery without first tampering with very important parts of the phone.
Despite its name, non-removable batteries are actually removable! The problem is it often requires so many special tools that it’s unfeasible to expect the average user to be able to remove one. For instance, it may involve tasks such as undoing the adhesive between the screen and the phone. In short, if you’re not an expert, it’s very hard to do.
When the battery dies in a non-replaceable unit, the main solution is to bring it to a repair store. This is a nasty surprise for people who believe they can simply remove the battery and get a new one.
So why do companies make phones with non-removable batteries? Despite its restrictive nature, there are advantages to them.
One advantage that non-removable battery phones have is a tighter design. Because a removable battery phone needs to have a back plate, it can compromise the overall design of the phone. Non-removable phones have the battery tucked away in the electronics, which means they have little need for a back panel. This allows the manufacturers to create the phone out of high-quality materials and produce a luxury-feeling phone. It also means that non-removable battery phones are slimmer.
It also helps with recovering a stolen phone. A removable battery can be taken out by a thief to stop the phone from tracking its movement. With the battery safe inside the phone, it makes it harder for a thief to disable security or tracking features.
Of course, there’s a huge problem with non-removable batteries: they’re non-removable! This by itself can be a deal-breaker for many. Once the battery begins going south (and it will, as the battery is usually the first thing to begin failing), it will also threaten to take the phone with it. This can only be solved with either a great deal of expertise in disassembling phones, or by taking it to a repair shop. As such, for the long term a non-removable battery can bite back in the future.
Having a battery that can be removed has many benefits. The most obvious one is user replacement after the old one dies. However, should the phone become waterlogged, being able to open up the back and remove the battery can help dry off the phone before any damage can be done. If you’d like, you can even have a charged spare battery on standby which you swap out with your main one if it runs out of charge at a crucial moment.
There’s an argument claiming that removing the battery is a good way to shut off a frozen phone, but non-removable battery phones are adding ways to reboot a stuck phone without needing to touch the battery.
Unfortunately, removable batteries aren’t always a guarantee with specific models of phone. A lot of the newer phones only have a non-removable battery, with no option for a removable version. For instance, let’s say you are choosing between the Motorola Moto G5, the G5 Plus, and the G5S Plus. By adding the restriction of a removable battery, all but the base G5 are immediately out of the running!
While removable batteries are a useful feature, you may find yourself excited for the newest device to be released, only to discover it has a non-removable battery inside.
Which to Get?
If you find yourself debating between the two when getting a phone, there’s one thing you need to ask yourself: do you see yourself using this exact same device for the next two years?
If you want to maximise the lifespan of your phone, a non-removable battery will be a thorn in your side. Pick out a phone that has a replaceable battery and read up on how easy it is to get a spare. That way you can keep your phone going for as long as possible.
However, if you love to chase the newest and hottest phones, you may hate the restriction of only buying devices with removable batteries. You may even be replacing your phones long before their batteries begin to die. As such, a phone with a non-removable battery is much less of an issue, allowing you to shop unrestricted for the best phones without worrying about replacing the battery later on.
While a battery being removable or non-removable isn’t a widely advertised feature, it can sometimes make or break a purchase. Now you know the in-depth differences of each one, and hopefully have an idea of which one suits you best.
Does a non-removable battery bother you? Or have you happily enjoyed phones without a single battery issue? Let us know below!