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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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Practically impractical

28 February 2019

Do you find that your smartphone battery doesn't last quite long enough?

Is one of your constant "must have" things a separate power-bank that, via the USB umbilical, ends up getting plugged into your phone about mid-afternoon in order to keep the emails, calls, SMSes and Facebook updates flowing?

Well apparently that's a thing -- because the power (and thus the power-consumption) of modern smartphones is growing faster than their battery's ability to keep them working for extended periods.

Of course manufacturers do try to shoe-horn in the biggest battery they can fit within the tiny confines of these devices but, as Samsung discovered to their great cost, it doesn't always pay to squeeze things too tightly, lest they go bang.

So what's the answer to this problem? How do you make a phone that will deliver all the smarts of a modern octa-cored pocket supercomputer whilst still offering 50 days of standby operation and up to 100 hours of actual operation?

Well the solution is glaringly obvious...

You just use a larger battery, a *much *larger battery -- and say "to hell with all this super-slim malarkey".

And that's exactly what they've done with the new Energizer "thick boi" phone.

Clearly an outstanding example of function defining form, this phone offers super-long run-times between charges using the most elementary of solutions.

Mind you, it's hard to see how this is any different to simply gluing a small powerbank onto the back of your Samsung S9 -- in fact the glue-solution might even be thinner. In fact, you could pass off your DIY "superphone" as being a little retro or steam-punk in nature (especially given the dangly USB cord involved) and thus earn extra points from your hipster friends.

The blue brick approach adopted by Energizer is however, unlikely to be as socially acceptable nor as fashionable me thinks. I mean, it doesn't even have a folding screen -- oh the embarrassment!

Never the less, I guess that if you're setting off on a trip into the bush and want to remain in touch with friends and family then this phone might have some appeal. Nobody will see your bulgy pocket amongst the bracken and manuka and at least you'll be able to catch some tunes or a movie whilst fighting off the swarms of night-flying insects as you huddle around a fire for warmth.

Could this be the start of a trend or a new fashion based on (wait for it...) "pragmatism"?

Imagine if we dispensed with the lunacy of fashion and focused instead on just designing and owning things because they were the best tool for the job.

The only thing about this very "pragmatic" phone is that it really does seem to be crying out for a 3.5" floppy disk drive. Then, and only then, might you be able to convince your hipster friends that it truly ought to be coveted as a fantastic bit of retro-tech.

And no, I won't be making the joke "are you pleased to see me or is that a thick boi in your pocket?".

If they come to the market, and at this stage you can't buy one, would YOU rush out and grab one of these pocket-rippers?

Were the engineers on holiday when this phone was conceived -- because I'm sure that they would have suggested making it a 2-part device with a regular internal battery and a separate "docking" battery for extra endurance. Both halves could be seemlessly joined together to create the "thick boi" but with the additional battery undocked the actual phone itself could have been as slim (or even slimmer) than other contemporary models. Oh hang on, that's just a phone with a powerbank again isn't it?

Duh!

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