Review: HTC Extended Battery for AT&T Fuze/Touch Pro
The one Windows Mobile phone feature that we never seem to get enough of is power. Only one Windows Mobile Phone comes to mind that ships with a high capacity battery as standard; the Samsung Black Jack II with it's 1750mah battery. When the HTC Fuze/Touch Pro hit the market, excitement filled the air because of the versatility and features this phone offered. It didn't take long to realized that the stock 1350mah battery was woefully under matched. The Windows Mobile community waited with anticipation as after market, extended life batteries slowly began to appear. HTC has contributed to the "energy crisis" by offering a 1800mah Extended Battery. The plus side is that it provides more gas for your HTC Fuze/Touch Pro. The down side is that it requires an oversized battery door.
We took the 1800mah battery out for a test drive to see how much more juice this oversized battery provided. Read on after the break to see how well it performed and how the oversized battery door affected the HTC Fuze.
Out of the Box
The first impression I had when opening the HTC Extended Battery was how nice it was to see a matte black battery door instead of a shiny black plastic door that attracts fingerprints much like a picnic attracts ants. Then I saw the battery and couldn't help but pause for effect at the shear size of the 1800mAh battery. Had I not known any better, based on size alone, I would have thought the battery was rated at 2400mah. The battery is roughly twice the size of the stock battery and if not for it's surprisingly light weight, it could easily double as a door stop, a paper weight or a small boat anchor.
The extended battery door fit really well onto the AT&T Fuze with no gaps or looseness to the fit. The matte finish blended in well with the polished sides of the phone. I liked the flat design a little better than the "diamond cut" pattern the stock battery door has however, the extended door gives the Fuze a bit of a "boxy" feel to it. The feel the extended battery gave the Fuze took a bit to get used to.
HTC did a decent job of fitting the camera port over the Fuze's camera lens. Because of the extended fit, the camera opening is now about a quarter of an inch from the camera lens. There is a small gap between the door and camera lens that may be prone to dust, moisture or other elements that may not be phone friendly. I don't think this will cause a catastrophic event but I would have liked to have seen a rubber gasket at the end of this extension to seal the backing better. The photographer in me was curious if the extended battery door would effect the cameras performance. I was concerned that the door would cause vignetting or shadows along the pictures edges at the wider angles. Fortunately, there were no ill effects present.
One last observation on the battery door itself is that while I like the matte finish, it wears quickly. I've used it for two days now and can already begin to see wear marks along the edges. It doesn't attract prints as bad as the stock battery door but it did attract it's share of finger grease. I also noticed that I can sit the Fuze on it's side to watch videos. The wider sides props up the Fuze nicely.
While the fit and design of the Extended Battery door is nice, you don't invest in an extended battery because of door's fit. You're looking to extend the life of your phone. The 1800mAh is larger than the stock 1350mAh battery but, again, based on the sheer size of the battery you would expect more juice. I won't pretend to know much about battery technology but every time I handle the HTC extended battery, I wonder why it's not a 2200-2400mah battery. The Seidio Innocell 1500mah Battery is the same size of the stock battery and is only 300mah's lighter.
I tested the HTC Extended battery under normal operating conditions over two days. My usage ranges from moderate to heavy use daily, receiving over a hundred emails, responding to about a dozen (some can wait until I get back to my laptop), about a dozen voice calls, and a little web surfing. The stock battery usual ends a ten hour day in the neighborhood of 35%. The HTC Extended Battery offers approximately 33% more power and I was interested in seeing what that translated to in hours of use.
I was very surprised how well the HTC 1800mah battery performed. The test period spanned a Friday and Saturday which allowed for a range of usage levels on a single charge. I started the day on Friday with the battery fully charged and at the end of the ten hour day, my battery meter was down to 77%. Saturday was a lighter usage day, starting out with the battery level at 60%. Ten hours later, I would close out Saturday with 35% of the battery life remaining.
Granted this isn't the most scientific test but with the 33% more juice, the HTC Extended battery gives you roughly 72% more life. The stock battery drains to 35% after about ten hours, while the Extended battery took thirty-six hours to get to that point. If the stock battery is struggling to make it to the end of the day, the HTC Extended battery should be able to get you there and then some..
There's one more power alternative available that we'll be looking at in the coming weeks; the Seidio 2000mah Extended Battery. For now though, if you need to increase your battery life and don't mind a larger form factor, the HTC Extended Battery is a worthy candidate.