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Palm Pre Battery Life Tips

Battery for Palm Pre – Optimization Tips & Accessories To Keep Your Palm Pre Battery At Maximum Power

Palm-Pre-Battery-Life

Now that over 100,000 Preonauts already have a Palm Pre in their hands it’s clear that one of the first things on their minds is ensuring not only that they learn as much as possible about their new smartphone but also that they get as much as they can out of it.  One particular area – maximizing Palm Pre battery life and performance – appears to have grown to be that of most concern. 

Although the Palm Pre delivers a healthy 5 hours of Talk Time under normal conditions, it appears that in some circumstances – particularly for 1) Power Users who want all functionality and features to be ON all the time and 2) people who are within an area that has poor Sprint wireless coverage (one or two bars) – the Palm Pre battery can drain more quickly (within half a day). 

There are undoubtedly things that Palm can and will do to further enhance the Pre battery performance but the fact is nonetheless that, as with many other devices, overall battery life ultimately depends on how you use your phone.  In this respect, you can maximize the life of your battery by following a few easy guidelines and/or buy a variety of power accessories such as the great Touchstone charger or simply a spare battery outlined below.

Maximize Your Palm Pre Battery Life – Software Settings Tips

  • Screen Auto-Off & Screen Brightness [Screen & Lock App]
    1. Set your screen to turn off automatically after a shorter period of inactivity (ideally 30 seconds)
    2. Lower the screen brightness (set it at around 40%)
  • Email Fetch Interval [Email App > Preferences > Accounts]
    If you set up an email account in the Email application, set the interval to automatically download email to every two hours or less frequently.
  • IM [Messaging App > Buddies]
    Avoid excessive use of instant messaging (IM). Frequent use of IM can significantly reduce battery life.

Maximize Your Palm Pre Battery Life – General Tips

  • WiFi, Bluetooth & GPS (Location Services)
    Turn off the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS features when you are not using them.
  • Wireless Coverage
    As with any mobile phone, if you are in an area with no wireless coverage, your phone continues to search for a signal, which consumes power. Turn off your phone if you are outside a coverage area.
  • Heat & Sunlight
    Keep your battery away from direct sunlight and other sources of heat. Temperatures over 50 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit) can permanently reduce the capacity and life span of any lithium-ion battery.

Please Note:
Overall I have found that one of the single greatest drains on battery life on the Pre is poor wireless coverage (one or two bars).  As outlined above, the issue is that the lower the wireless coverage the greater the power requirements on your Pre is and therefore the faster the battery will get drained.

WiFi Tip
If you are in an area with poor wireless coverage but within reach of a WiFi network then turn on the WiFi on your Palm Pre as this greatly reduces the overall power drain.  This happens because once connected to WiFi your smartphone will stop using Sprint’s wireless data network and instead use your local WiFi – something which proves to be much more efficient from a power usage perspective in poor wireless coverage areas.

Some Battery Life Improvement Ideas For Palm

To be honest with you, I find most of the manual battery optimization tips above to be extremely tedious and overall one of the things that keeps annoying me with increasing frequency about our “Digital Lifestyle” is that so few companies actually enable proactive “smart” software solutions for their customers – solutions that could automatically help aleviate the burden of having to do something manually and/or repetitively.

In the case of the Palm Pre battery optimization, I would envisage that it would be fairly easy to create an application that automatically adjusts all the necessary settings on your smartphone to provide you with maximum battery life.  For example, you could have a setting that automatically sets your phone to Airplane Mode if no wireless coverage is detected within a specific time frame (eg. 10 minutes) – something that would be ideal if you forget to turn off your phone on a plane, have long underground train journeys or happen to be in an area of no coverage for long periods.

Additionally, one of the most frustrating things for me is to suddenly find that my phone is _completely_ dead.  Here Palm could implement an automated setting that again turns off your phone when battery levels reach a certain percentage (eg. 10%) so that you could always have just enough power left should you for example need to make an emergency call – having even 5% of battery power left is a hell of a lot better than 0% and makes a huge difference.

I’m sure that with a little imagination the engineers at Palm could expand on these ideas and deliver even more options to ensure that 1) battery life optimization burdens are kept to a minimum and 2) that you always have just enough power left to make a couple of urgent calls.

Maximize Your Palm Pre Battery Life – Accessories Solutions

Leaving aside any software settings the fact is that, for me at least, the best option to improve, enhance and maximize battery power while on the go is simply to have the right accessories kit.  Thankfully there are more than a few available solutions here:

Charge your phone whenever & wherever you can

  • HOME: Charge your Pre overnight using either a wall charger or the great and currently unique Touchstone charging base so that you can have 100% power first thing in the morning.
  • HOME & OFFICE: Keep your Pre resting on the Touchstone or plugged into a wall charger when not in use throughout the day (sadly the Touchstone cannot charge from a USB port on your PC).
  • CAR: Keep your Pre plugged into its car charger whenever you are driving.

 Palm-Touchstone-For-Pre Palm-Pre-Charger

Power Accessories Solutions:

  1. Palm Touchstone $49.95 (inc. Dock + Back Cover)
  2. Palm Touchstone $39.95 (Dock Only): If you already have a Touchstone at home for example then you can simply get a second for the office.
  3. Palm Pre Battery $39.95
  4. Palm Travel Charger $29.95
  5. Palm Car Charger $19.95
  6. Palm USB Travel Cable $14.95 – use it to charge your Pre from your PC
  7. Palm Pre Wall Chargers
  8. Palm Pre Car Chargers
  9. Palm Pre Cables

Spare Battery & Battery Charger

 Palm-Pre-Battery Palm-Pre-Battery-Charger

One of the great advantages of the Pre is that it has a removable battery.  By buying an extra spare battery you’ll be able to quickly and simply double your power while on the go – for example for long plane trips or periods of heavy use.

Additionally, Palm has also just made available a Spare Battery Charger (pictured above right) to make it that much easier to keep your extra battery charging (works with both wall and car chargers) either overnight or while you’re using your primary one.

Note: Your Palm Pre battery has a much longer useful life when it is topped off frequently than when it is charged after it is fully drained.  The Palm Touchstone is therefore a great accessory to have at your desk for example so that you can always keep you Pre docked and charging within reach when not in use.

Preonauts are always full of power


Posted by Andrew on June 15, 2009 at 03:10 PM

Palm Pre

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Comments

1
by RichC | Jun 16, 2009 12:46:16 PM

Great advice as usual. I've found that with the Palm Pre my normal 4-5 bar reception I had with the Palm Treo 700p (nub antenna) is now down to 2 bars. That is two bars lower than the Centros? Any thoughts?
http://twtpoll.com/1qzpa9

2
by dgarts | Jun 17, 2009 10:56:39 AM

First, I'll be helpful and positive and make a contribution. Then, I'll be critical.

On my Treo 680, I installed an app called Powerman which allows me to set profiles that trigger at times of the day. So, it automatically turns off the keyboard screen when in my office profile because I don't need the keyboard screen during the day at work. At night, it turns off the radio since I'm not taking calls while I'm asleep, and turns it on automatically at a set time in the morning. etc. etc.

It has helped my battery life significantly. However, I also have a wall charger at home, one at my desk at work, and one for the car. And, I have an extra battery (I had two extra batteries but lost one).

Having said all that, I find this entire discussion not very elegant, and far too high-maintenance to be cool. Why not just make a PDA that factors the power user's needs and offers built-in power management in the OS as well as a heftier stock battery?

And, I must point out, when not in a strong coverage range, the Pre will burn battery power fast. So much of the Pre's value is tied to its connectivity, and this may be the biggest draw on power - it may prove to be more weakness than strength.

Way to go, Palm - provide a "power user tool" that HAS NO POWER.

If the Pre is supposed to be cool, then this is too much configuring and tweaking and compensating. If it is supposed to be for a power user, it should be a better power provider and manager. It's not committed either way, a crisis of identity, and that makes it a failure in my book. I might as well stick with my 680.

3
by MarkR | Jun 18, 2009 12:25:51 PM

Thanks. How do you set the email fetch interval to two hours? My choices are 15 min, 30 min, 1 hour, 6 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours, manual. Seems like an odd increment, from one hour to six...

RichC - I have the same issue. Where I was getting five bars with my 755p, I am now getting three. Where I had two, I now have none, or intermittent roaming.

Speaking of which, I'm on the ED450 plan. I'm not sure if roaming costs me. I had my 755p set up to not use digital roaming. I couldn't find a way to do this on the Pre. Can it be done?

4
by Todd | Jun 18, 2009 10:37:47 PM

So much for applications running in the background. Looks like the battery drains too quickly.

5
by Brett | Jun 19, 2009 9:18:58 PM

My Pre goes dead in 5-6 hours of standby. I have done all of the recommendations. I have shut down everything I can and it still consumes power, getting very hot in standby. Obviously something is running. GPS is OFF, wifi is off, screen brightness is low, etc. to no avail. One problem that added at least a couple of hours was an exchange server that wasn't talking. I believe the phone was constantly trying to make a connection. Anyway, I love the phone. I will keep working on it. It is my jump from WM devices.

6
by Matt | Jun 21, 2009 11:09:20 AM

Dunno which Palm Pre you're using, but the one I have offers me the option "Just Charge" on the screen of the Pre when I plug it into my laptop via USB.

7
by Ziggy Tomcich | Jun 24, 2009 3:23:17 AM

My Treo 700 has significantly better RF reception then the Palm Pre. There are places where i had 1-2 bars with my Treo 700 where i could make a phone call and surf the web, where i can't at all with the Pre. I hate people that think removing an antenna from a phone is a good thing. I'm taking my Pre back because it's unusable. I can't make phone calls in areas where my Treo could, i can't get my email to work after spending over 90 minutes trying, i can't reply to emails sent as txt messages, i've lost all my categories for contacts, i can't search or categorize memos, calenders didn't sync, the battery dies after less then a day, the mp3 player sounds like complete sh!t, the web browser won't justify text so i have to scroll left to right to read most webpages, in short this phone can't do most of what my Treo 700p could do. I'm sad because i had such high hopes for the Pre. This phone isn't even ready for Beta in its current state. They obviously rushed this out to compete with the iphone. Why would Palm release a brand new phone that can't do most of the functions previous Treos and Centros could?

8
by jojomonkey | Jun 29, 2009 3:51:32 PM

RE: Some Battery Life Improvement Ideas For Palm

these are some great ideas - have you emailed Palm about them? It would be cool if they collapsed all such power saving strategies into a 'Power saving mode' option on the phone.

thanks!

9
by Jorge | Jun 30, 2009 12:25:33 PM

I just bought 3 micro-USB cables. Knowing the battery issues, and since I am near computers 75% of my time, I decided to get the cables and have them ready to charge the Pre. I won't give up on the pre because of the battery, but I do hope Palm is listening (or reading) about it. They did a great job on the OS interface and features, I am sure they can improve the power management of the device.

10
by Bob | Jun 30, 2009 9:46:37 PM

Very good tips; however, I read recently that the average battery has 80 charges in it's lifetime. Therefore I don't understand why you would keep it charged up to wall outlet while you are at work, and plugged up when you are in the car. Everything else I have read says to be sure and let the battery go all the way down before recharging.

Thanks

11
by Will | Jul 2, 2009 3:56:31 AM

Lithium-Ion batteries can be charged ALOT more than 80 times in its lifetime. a battery can full charge about 100times before total power compacity goes down 1%. then another 50 for every other percent. Also, if your battery is at 90% capacity and you slap it on the carger and charge 10%, then that only counts as a one tenth of a charge. so if you only you your battery to 90%, it would take 10 charges to equal 1 full charge.

12
by Matt | Jul 3, 2009 12:02:09 AM

Did anyone else notice a HUGE improvement in the battery life in the first software update, 1.0.2 to 1.0.3? i went from getting not even 8 hours from 100% to dead to getting almost a full days and moderate usage out it before i eve had to think about charging it.

13
by batman22 | Jul 14, 2009 2:28:40 AM

"Wny would Palm release a brand new phone that can't do most of the functions previous Treos and Centros could?"

...Because Palm almost went out of business selling Treos and Centros, stupid!

Can we stop expecting the Pre to be a glorified Treo? If the iPhone isn't a glorified Treo and is selling gazillions, then the Pre shouldn't be either. If the iPhone can't reformat the text on your webpage, then why should the Pre be expected to?

You can't have your cake and eat it too. Once they solve that reformatting issue on both the iPhone and Pre, what next? What future missing feature will you complain about after that?

If you absolutely need old Palm OS apps (and hey some of us do), well then, keep an old Palm device and shut up. It's 2009, people! It's all about cloud computing/productivity from here on out. Adapt or be left behind.

14
by Alex | Jul 14, 2009 11:46:35 AM

This phone is awesome, but absolutely sucks big time on battery life. Why make a sophisticated phone without the battery to back it up? Oh, I know, they want me to buy 100 bucks worth of accessories. What a joke.

15
by Jack | Jul 19, 2009 11:07:58 PM

@Ziggy You're comments are useless because anyone who owns the Pre can instantly tell that you don't. Put your iPhone away & troll elsewhere.

That said, I agree with the posters who find less signal with their Pre than prior phones. And at home my signal is now 1 bar, where it used to be 3-4. At home I have to change to 1xrtt for voice & use WiFi for data, otherwise battery life is awful. At work, I stay at 4-5 bars, and battery is superb. The fix needs to be a tweak to these radios, otherwise when I hit July 30 and my 30th day, I'm turning mine back in.

16
by Patrick | Jul 20, 2009 12:36:06 PM

Isn't is bad to keep a lithium-ion battery fully charged at all times? I thought there was proof you should let the battery almost drain before charging it so as to not reduce its charge memory over time. Am I wrong or are we supposed to believe what they say and eventually be forced to buy a new battery??

17
by Greg | Jul 22, 2009 12:04:35 AM

No actually that applies to Ni-Cad and maybe Nickel metal hydrade batteries. Li-ion have no memory so it's actually very bad for the battery to be FULLY drained and then charged again. But, on the whole issue I'm due for an upgrade soon (Nov) and I really like the Pre and I've never been a Palm kinda guy but this battery issue on top of the reception problems got me look at other possibilities. Hopefully by November when I upgrade the kinks will be worked out b/c I really think this OS is gonna get better and be the new standard as the iPhone was. Well crossing my fingers that this can be addressed via software update!!!

18
by George Nyb | Jul 23, 2009 9:43:43 PM

It seems that my previous comments were deleted. In a nut shell DON'T BUY THE PRE: Battery life sucks. Max 4 hours of usage for moderate usage. Less than 2 if use the iTunes and GPS in the same time. It has a new USB charger and conecting it to the phone is quite difficult. The desktop charger (magnetic) is extra and also the car charger. BTW I don't quite see the meaning of wireless if you need a car charger to over the day use. The Pre does not respond to commands immediately, it takes a second or so and if you are driving that second can be fatal: so careful. Moreover, I have needed the turn by turn GPS feature and it did not work 4 times out of 8: so with a 50% performance I am wondering why should I be paying $100 per month for everything and anytime feature if it works 50% of the time. Internet usage is convenient but also 50% depending of the number of bars on the phone. I live in the middle of Seattle for CH's sake not in Caribou pass Alaska... The number of Bars should be no issue. Ultimately, beware of dropping it: make sure you buy the insurance. The sliding out part of the phone will start wiggling right and left after only three days of usage. Truly this phone is more for show and tell and not for use and produce.
One last issue: Many of the leftover accessories from my Treo and Centro are not usable with this new phone: Also the software is not compatible so If you have any games you must buy again. It reminds me of the six hot dogs eight hot dog buns dilemma: clearly this phone is made for the wow factor and to bring in the money but not with the customer's best interest in mind. I am returning it, and getting back to my Treo. It is much more rugged and less frustrating. For the rest of Preonauts. Good luck and good spending....

19
by Andy | Jul 28, 2009 1:36:58 AM

Just a note for those comparing signal and battery levels here...contrary to popular belief, bars are NOT a unit of measure. There is NO way to accurately compare signal level in "bars", they just don't translate at all from one phone to another. Even if they were a unit of measure, they're too large a grain with only 4-5 divisions to be of much use. You need to get the actual signal strength in dBm to have any reasonable way to compare signal between two different devices.

FWIW,
Andy

20
by Nate | Jul 30, 2009 5:19:02 PM

@ george NYB. In regards to your comment about the pre's slider going left and right i noticed that too; get over it. Anyone who works with cars, video games, sliding/folding phones, or anything with any kind of mechanical component...it's the nature of moving parts. Always has, always will be. Right now the crappy battery life is only a minor inconvenience. I set it to fetch my email once an hour, i only sign into aim when i want to speak with someone (then i sign out and let aim mobile send me a text) and i only use gps if i'm actually need directions (and they've always been 100% right, used it 10 or 11 times already) Palm is working on a fix for things like AIM, and most likely already though of a powersaving app before any of you said anything, but you all have the right idea, and i'm eager for the next update just like everyone else. I text ALOT, and doing by what i do my pphone has 100% at 2pm when i wake up and usually has between 2-10% the next day when i wake up if ive only been texting(yeah i hav ea weird wake up/sleeptime). when i use the apps it usually dies at about 4am, which is fine. This should translate to everyone else as itll last from when you get up to when you go to bed. Thee phone is fine,the new OS is amazing. some people are picky, which is also fine, and some people just like to complain, which isn't fine. So go ahead, go get your Treo back. I'll keep using my Pre.

21
by Nate | Jul 30, 2009 5:23:14 PM

one more thing about the battery life. when you first get the phone, drain it, charge it all the way, and just do that a couple times (a week or so). after you get a general feel for how long your usage makes the battery last you can charge when ever with out hurting the battery, it'll die just the way will said so. ANd you can get a better battery for $50 which i know for someof you is unnacceptable but i paid $100 for my phone thanks to best buys screw up, so i personally am not to worried about it

22
by Andy | Aug 20, 2009 12:49:10 AM

The Pre battery still gets about double what I was getting from my Motorola Q, AND I don't have to clear a task manager every time I use a program for fear of upping the drain. That was a Windows Mobile issue, I think though.

23
by Barbara Beran | Aug 28, 2009 4:30:41 PM

i just bought a pre and then was told that i could not leave it charging for more that 4 hours or it would damage the battery. I have always plugged in my phone (Samsung and treo) on coming home and unplugged when i left home and never had a phone run out. If this is true for the pre - and the so=called remedies are to turn off all the apps etc - i think i will bring this one back and write up the loss. AND tell everyone NOT to buy a pre!

24
by Randy | Sep 5, 2009 7:48:40 PM

I have a Pre and I don't get a signal at all while inside my work. I found it very useful to put my phone in Airplane mode while I am in an area without a signal. That way I can still have my phone on and quickly switch back and forth if I need to use it. I found this better than having to shut off and on my phone when out of range. My phone can now last all day and then some, where it would otherwise die half way through the day.

25
by Jason Stiles | Sep 8, 2009 12:27:45 AM

I have moderate signal in my home, on the pre it can range anywhere from 2 to 5 bars But mostly stays around 3 or 4. Seems strange to have such a variance and even in the same location it varies. I am coming from an iPhone 3G (which I stupidly washed in my pants and killed) and the Sprint plans plus my corp discount made switching a no brainer. The signal variance didn't bother me though because call quality was always great even if it showed me with 2 bars or 5. I chalked this up to just differences in how the signal is measured, but battery life concerned me. My iPhone lasted me all day unless I was really playing games or surfing the web hard on it. The pre was getting down to 5% by 8 or 9pm which concerned me. I thought maybe the 2 bars of signal were giving it problems but it was on my wifi constantly. I couldn't figure it out, until I thought to sign out of Google Talk. It had automatically signed me in when I added my email account and I never realized to sign out I could click the green button in the messages app. Once I signed out of google talk, the battery life matched the iPhone, with my use. As I type its 11:19pm. I unplugged at 9am this morning, drove across half the state of tennessee taking short calls, and checking google maps for traffic. My battery reads 40%. Thats plenty good battery for me, but if I had IM signed in, I'd have been dead by 5pm. So now I leave IM signed on at home when I'm by a charger and want to stay in contact but when I know I'll be out and want the battery I sign out and only use it when I need it.

I love the pre, but the multi-tasking ability of it puts more of the battery life managment responsibility onto the user. The fact is even on the iPhone, always on instant messaging isn't like the pre. iPhone push notifications look like crap compared to the elegant notification system on the Pre. I'm sure it will be copied, its that good. I do, miss the app store with iPhone but I plan to start homebrewing shortly and that may make up for that.

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