Can Batteries Keep Up With The Game?

Mark Stephens

As gaming on our phones and tablets takes off and ever-more graphic intensive apps appear on our phones, spare a thought for your poor old battery.

Do you expect it to chug happily along while having the life strangled out of it by sensational new gaming graphics?

Here we look at the battery issue and even give you a few power saving tips for your phone battery.

The Power Challenge

mobilePowering mobile phones has been a constant challenge; the old nickel metal-hydride batteries were superseded by the lithium ion and then lithium-polymer batteries, which seemed to solve the problems; Androids have even started experimenting with solar power.

More power-intensive applications and features have always come along, just around the corner, to create a new demand for more juice.

First it was calls and texts, then cameras, then video cameras and Internet.
Mobile phone gaming is the next game changer with batteries. They suck up power as if it was going out of fashion… can batteries keep up with the game?

The Scary Tale of the Vita

You probably know the new “next-gen” Sony gaming device called Vita is due for release later this year and was previewed at the recent Tokyo Game Show.

Its specs include a 5-inch OLED touchscreen display, ARM Cortex-A9 quad-core processor, 512MB of RAM and 128MB of video RAM. It has a touchable back-panel, microphone, rear and front-facing camera, gyroscope and accelerometer.

See what I mean about “next gen”? There’s no doubting the cutting edge nature of this device, but what about the battery life?

Well Sony have said initially that it would only offer 3 hours of gaming off a full charge with the default settings. The default settings are semi-power saving settings too, with half-brightness display and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned off.

Now – I don’t know about you but I live in a city where the traffic can be so bad it can take me 3 hours to get to work on the bus! That means the Vita will be useless for playing games at lunchtime or when the boss isn’t looking.

OK – slight exaggeration, but you get the gist: 3 hours won’t get you far with a mobile gaming device and it’s liable to lead to a mid-game death more than once.

And Now the “Good” News

It was reported in the Washington Post shortly after the 3-hour battery life story came out, that Sony actually intends to release an “external battery peripheral” for the Vita and a spokesperson was quoted as saying “if you’re flying from New York to San Francisco or vice versa, you’ll have no concerns.” That’s usually a 6-hour flight.

So that potentially doubles the battery life, which will comfort some people…who don’t mind paying the undisclosed extra fee for the battery of course!

How Does This Affect Your Mobile Gaming?

The internal battery powering the Vita is a 2200mAh, which blows most current mobile phone batteries out of the water. It is touted as a very similar spec to batteries that will be used in future mobile handsets, such as Samsung’s Galaxy S III for example, whose battery is expected to be 2250mAh.

Does this mean that future mobile gaming is set for 3 hours of life at best? Well of course it depends on the power-consumption of the games you’ll be playing but it’s a fair assumption that the graphic-intensity and power demands of the game applications are only going to increase….so we can only hope that batteries can keep up with the pace.

Or are we going to get mobile handset makers introducing “external battery peripherals” and charging us extra?

Power Saving Tips

All of the following will help you save power on the battery so you have more time for gaming!

  • Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Decrease the display brightness
  • Disable vibration & ringtones
  • Close unwanted applications running in the background
  • Charge When you are on Low Power and Fully Discharge Once a Month
  • Keep your battery away from moisture and high temperatures
  • When the phone is not in use for a few days remove the battery and store in a cool dry place

We’re good to you at Monkeybin…news and tips all in one blog post! We spoil you, we really do.