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Why don't handset manufacturers trust us to see the real battery level?

6 posts in this topic

Posted · Report post

The battery meter on your phone is lying to you. Why don't handset manufacturers trust us to see the real battery level? This is something that has bugged me for ages and since it's also evident on the HTC One, I thought i'd post a little rant.

So what's the deal? Basically, the battery meter display on most devices doesn't correlate correctly with the actual battery left. Typically, they seem to initially indicate more is left than really is to begin with, becoming more representative as the battery is depleted. Why? I don't really know... maybe it's to give the impression that your battery is 'doing better' than it really is?

This is an analysis of the battery images on the HTC One. The 40% indicator is the only one (aside from full and empty of course) that is actually correct and no, it's not an error - the 80% and 90% images are exactly the same! I've pulled out the 10 images and correlated them with the maximum battery percentage for which they are displayed.

onebatterymeter.png

If you're on a nice big screen it might not be immediately evident how significant the 'errors' are, but on device, it's really quite clear.

I'm going to reach out to HTC to see if they can explain why this is the case... any thoughts? Battery meters with a 100 image split instead of 10 are definitely the way to go (i'm not a fan of textual percentage representation myself)...

Click here to view the item

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Posted · Report post

Personally I prefer the text version. I find it easier to read a number than try to guess how much the bar is meant to represent, even if it were accurate.

I only tend to look at the bars rounded in roughly quarters (100%, 75%, 50%, 25%, 0%) as anything more accurate takes more than a glance to figure out - hence preferring the text version.

I presume that the text version is fairly accurate, or is that also biased like the images you have above?

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Posted · Report post

I much prefer an accurate text version, especially when I am down to 10%. Much easier than trying to work out whether red means switch off now. Although the battery can still suddenly fall and catch me out.

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Posted · Report post

Text All the way for me.

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Since this is now fixed with the MoDaCo Toolkit for the HTC One - is it something that could apply across the board for all phones or more inner workings going on for this which would be particular for each handset?

I wondered if AOSP/stock android phones/roms suffer from the same perception of battery life.

I've just happily pointed this out to someone along with the "fix" in the toolkit!

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Posted · Report post

I might have a look at AOSP and see if 'stock' also misrepresents...

P

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