I have to acknowledge my wonderful sister-in-law for pointing this out to me (thanks Kara!), but since she doesn't have a blog, I'm going to post it here on mine.
After about 15 years with the same cell phone provider (Cincinnati Bell Wireless) and having no contract with them during that entire stint, I finally decided to take the plunge with Verizon. Though this means I'm now locked into a 2-year agreement, it also means I have the option of getting phones that aren't 2 years old (Cinci Bell has fallen short in this area ever since I can remember). What led me to switch? I needed a real smart phone. It's quite comical that my old Blackberry Pearl was actually referred to as a smart phone.
The only dilemma I had was to determine exactly which phone to get. I had narrowed it down to three phones -- the iPhone 4, Droid X, and the HTC Thunderbolt. Price, options, speed, and battery life were my three main decision making criteria. Well, I suppose there was always the, "I don't want to be one of those people," in reference to the iPhone. I'm the only PC in an office full of Macs, iPhones, and iPads. Becoming an iPhone user would have been a sign of me caving in to the pressures that surround me every day...how could I do that!
In all seriousness, I really did consider the iPhone. It's a great phone. My wife has one, and in general I do like it. However, there are some things about it that really bug me. Apple has always bugged me, though, with its insistence to control every aspect of their products. I build my own PCs. I cannot stand not knowing precisely what parts are in them, why those specific parts were used, and not being able to change or upgrade them on my own whenever I so choose.
In the same light, to me, the iPhone is actually too polished. It reminds me of my taste in cars -- I like a well-built car that still has some edginess to it. Though Toyota and Honda produce great cars, they're all boring to me. They're too polished. Toyota's Lexus brand is the same (with an exception here or there, like the LFA). Honda's Acura brand actually steps out of the box a bit, but it too has a tendency to err on the side of boring. On the other hand, Nissan (and its luxury brand, Infiniti) seems to step out of the box regularly -- and I like that. They produce well-built cars, and they make them sporty enough to appease that side of my driving habits.
The same is true for my taste in street bikes. I've always loved Kawasaki, because they're a bit more raw. They're known to be highly reliable, but they typically are at or near the top of the pack in power, transmission quality, and speed. Yes, they've struggled in the liter bike class for a while, but that will change in time.
Anyway, the only real difficult part of my decision was that the Thunderbolt was known to have horrendous battery life. Though I don't usually find myself without a power supply, being limited by that was truly a concern. It's the times that you don't have that power supply when you need your phone the most.
In the end, I chose the HTC Thunderbolt. I was drawn to its larger screen size and it's 4G speed. It didn't take long, however, to realize that the abysmal battery life warnings were well deserved. Without exaggerating, I couldn't go more than about 4-5 hours before I needed to charge my phone. It would be down to 15% battery life left at that point. And I'm not talking about using the phone constantly either. I'm talking about sitting the phone beside me while I work. It would literally just sit there on standby, the battery melting away into oblivion.
I read several blog posts and Googled just about everything I could think of to find a solution (other than buying the longer life battery...which was becoming a very likely solution). Nothing solved the problem. Then a 1-minute conversation on Easter with my sister-in-law changed everything.
She has an HTC Evo (if I remember correctly), and had similar battery life problems when she first got it. Someone told her how to alleviate that problem, and she shared that advice with me. So after all of this back story...here's the incredibly simple solution.
I had already disabled just about everything I could think of on the phone, except the one thing that mattered the most. All you need to do is go to Menu --> Settings --> Accounts & sync, and then disable "Background data." If you need to sync everything, either manually sync them, or turn Background data on, let it sync everything, and then turn it back off.
That one thing extended my battery life from having to plug it in about every 4 hours to being able to use it for a whole day without needing a charge. Now, mind you, I don't use my phone a great deal while I'm working. If you use your phone regularly throughout the day, the Thunderbolt may not be the right phone for you, unless you don't mind charging it often. In either case, though, turning off this service will increase your battery life significantly.
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