A Day in the Life of a Palm Pre Battery

So, here’s the scoop: battery life on the Pre leaves a lot to be desired. In fact, it’s really pretty lousy. The jury remains out on whether the Pre’s poor battery life is the result of the always-connected nature of WebOS, the device’s relatively powerful hardware, or firmware/software issues yet to be resolved. Or, as is likely the case, it could be a combination of all three.

Regardless, it’s important to know how long the battery might last under typical use to avoid finding oneself up the proverbial creek. In the interests of (psuedo)science, therefore, here are the results of a little informal test of the Pre under moderate use. Only a handful of calls were made, and so this was mainly a test of email and Web use along with a measure of standby time (which for the Pre, of course, includes ongoing background data communications).

10:45am – 100% charge, Bluetooth on, a good cellular signal, Wifi off, and a variety of applications open including email, messaging, two Tweed cards, Accuweather, and with email set to check for new mail every 15 minutes
10:47am - 7 pictures uploaded to Photobucket via 3G, email checked/managed
10:49am - Short phone call
11:00am - 94% charge remaining, standby
11:30am - 90% charge remaining, email checked/managed, some Web
12:05pm - 86% charge remaining, standby
12:30pm - 84% charge remaining, email checked/managed
1:00pm - 77% charge remaining, light texting, email checked/managed, some Web, some Speed Brain, software updates checked
1:15pm - 75% charge remaining, opened clock, email checked/managed
2:05pm - 69% charge remaining, short phone call, browsed pictures
2:45pm - 60% charge remaining, closed picture app, email checked/managed, some Web, manual Tweed updates
3:30pm - 55% charge remaining, email checked/managed, some Web, manual Tweed updates
4:05pm - 50% charge remaining, email checked/managed, manual Tweed updates
9:00pm - 23% charge, minimal use during meetings, dinner, etc.

Obviously, this performance isn’t going to break any records. In fact, considering that this was moderate use, and indeed on the light side of moderate, it’s really a pretty miserable showing. Under a heavier load, the Pre likely wouldn’t have lasted a full workday, making the ability to swap out the battery a very good thing indeed.

This was a very unscientific study, and a quick survey of various Palm Pre sites demonstrates that mileage definitely does vary. Nevertheless, an extra battery or some means of recharging is a necessary evil, at least for now. This test will be repeated following each update to see if Palm is able to improve what is really a pretty unfortunately weakness of an otherwise strong device.


  1. ‘centro’ battery fits the ‘pre’

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