If you’re looking at buying a new phone you’ve undoubtedly, at some point, come across the debate between removable and non-removable battery types. For most people, it will be an inane question rather low on the list of specifications, but for a number of consumers it can be a huge sticking pint.
Phone buyers have had a love-hate relationship with their mobile batteries. From the bricks that would last days to the sleek one-day-use units we see in modern phones, removable and non-removable battery packs have also split or annoyed users for decades.
A huge proportion of modern smartphones and tablets now come with non-removable batteries, compared to the removable battery formats of their ancestors.
So what are the advantages of the two types of battery design and why do manufactures constantly chop and change their format?
Removable batteries are batteries that are designed to be taken out of the host device.
- Hard restart. The old adage “Have you tried turning it on and off again” is often the fix for many of the world’s tech problems. Although whipping your battery out at the first sign of trouble if not often the best idea (it can be damaging in some circumstances) this ‘hard restart’ method is proven to work when all else is frozen and the manual restart won’t work.
- Easy to dry. If you do happen to get a little too much water on a phone, removable batteries have a slight advantage over their sealed counterparts as you can try and get said battery out before it has time to short. You can then dry the separate component and pray to the god of tech for compassion.
- Replaceable. Unfortunately, batteries don’t last forever, and frankly modern batteries don’t last that long at all so buying a replace is a good fix for when your old power source is just not holding its charge.
- Untraceable– this might be an advantage for some, but for most people, if your phone is stolen and the battery is removed, it’s effectively untraceable (digitally).
- Damage– removing a battery usually requires the phone to be literally cracked open, meaning the internal working of the phone have a higher chance of damage or contact with dust and dirt
- Size– Phones with removable batteries tend to have a slightly larger frame size as the battery is not sealed or manufactured into the closed case.
Ok so that’s removable, so guess what no removable is…? Yep as the name suggests, non-removable batteries are not designed to be taken out of the phone/tablet by the consumer. In fact many non-removable batteries are literally built into the device, meaning the battery pack cannot be separated from the device.
Just a note here, it is sometimes physically possible to remove a number of the non-removable batteries, however there is a substantial risk the device will be damaged if you do, as well as a risk to the user if you puncture the battery whist trying to remove it. A few non-removable batteries are simply glued or clipped in, but tampering with the battery will likely result in a voided warranty. Once again, it’s possible, but just don’t bother.
Ok back to the battery;
- Less parts that can break– Very difficult to get inside the phone and tamper with delicate parts, that could cause damage.
- Less gaps– Literally less room for dust or dirt to access the device, and no chance for dirt to be transported in through changing a battery
- Slimmer battery– Phone manufacturers can make their phone slimmer as the battery unit is designed and seal together.
- Single frames or ‘unibody design’ are usually more solid than phones with battery ‘doors’ and often look far sleeker.
- Battery issues are terminal. This is the big disadvantage of sealed units, if your battery malfunctions or begins to fail, you’re stuck with it, as it cannot be (easily) replaced. In most cases you’ll need to replace the whole phone for a simple battery fault.
- No Battery Boost. As you can’t remove the battery it’s impossible to swap it out for a spare or even upgrade to something more powerful.
- No hard restart– if the phone freezes as you can’t whip the battery out, you’ll just have to wait for the battery to die or hope the manual restart works.
- Water damage. Ok, this one is a little on both advantage and disadvantage because it’s difficult to prove, but in our experience, getting water in a non-removable sealed phone is terrible. Unlike a removable battery, where you can attempt to dry out the innards before the battery can short the phone, sealed units with non-removable batteries struggle to dry out before damage is done.