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Samsung Geeks | March 23, 2017

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Why Don’t Samsung Phones Have Removable Batteries?

Why Don’t Samsung Phones Have Removable Batteries?

| On 14, Jan 2017

Gone are the days when you could easily replace the battery in your Samsung. But why don’t Samsung phones have removable batteries? Is there a practical reason, or is it all about making more money for Samsung?

Not so long ago, we were all used to a very different structure of mobile phone. Remember dropping yours, and seeing about eight separate pieces go flying in different directions? You can still get hold of Samsung phones with removable batteries, but the design of most modern phones is different: SIMs are inserted via a slot or tray on the phone’s side, phone backs are no longer removable, and nor are the batteries inside.

Back in the day, if your phone battery burnt out, you could order another and replace it, simple as that. Nowadays, things aren’t so simple.

Why Don’t Samsung Phones Have Removable Batteries?

The main reason Samsung have given for removing modular battery compartments from their S7 phones is to improve water resistance.

“We didn’t do the removable battery because we really wanted the water resistance and the battery was a pain to seal. So we just put a much bigger battery” explains Samsung PR manager Philip Berne in a recent interview with iDigitalTimes.

Samsung initially stopped including removable batteries in their flagship Galaxy S series back in June 2015 with the release of the S6. The increased water resistance proved to be popular with fans, but for many a water resistant phone wasn’t worth it at the expense of removable batteries. Customers complained that the battery-life of the S6 just didn’t last long enough without being able to easily replace the battery with a spare.

So with the release of the S7, Samsung replaced the 2550 mAh Li-lon battery in the S6 with a larger, 3000 mAh battery. Which gave it a talk-time of 22h , video playback of 16 hours and music play-time of 62 hours. It also included wireless charging capabilities for those that needed more battery power when on-the-go.

Sealed battery compartments allow for sleeker design

Another reason Samsung phones don’t include removable batteries is that it allows for a sleeker, thinner design.

A removable smartphone battery needs to be designed in a regular shape with a solid case to protect it from damage. An internal battery, however, allows for much more flexible design. It can be formed in unconventional shapes to take-up free space within the phone’s case, using the phone itself as protection.

For many Samsung fans, sleek design and quality metal casing far outweigh the practical reasons for including removable batteries within smartphones.

Are Samsung just trying to make more money by not giving us removable batteries?

As much as technology companies insist that the lack of removable batteries is to ensure quality design, it’s hard to believe that their reasons aren’t entirely without commercial ambition.

We live in a disposable society, and appliances we buy are designed to be expendable. Planned obsolescence is a ‘thing’, whether we like it or not. If we were able to replace batteries ourselves once they stopped performing well, you might sensibly decide against splashing out another few hundred on a new phone.

But with sealed smartphones it’s easier just to buy a new phone than replace the battery. And with increasingly impressive models released each year people are quick to forget about their glitchy battery and enjoy the latest technology available.

This, of course, means considerably higher sales and profits for smartphone manufacturers, Samsung included. However, recent events have suggested that Samsung may have been able to avoid expenses if their phones included removable batteries.

Should Samsung Reconsider Removable Batteries?

After the whole Note 7 situation of last summer, Samsung may well be reconsidering their stance on batteries. A faulty batch of batteries were blamed for the spontaneous combustion of a bunch of brand new Note 7s last year. Unfortunately the fault  was found to be widespread and difficult to fix, prompting the complete withdrawal of the model from sale.

If the Note 7s had user-replaceable batteries, a much simpler solution could have potentially been found, saving Samsung millions and millions of dollars on returns and refunds.

It would seem Twitter-users would agree. Many outspoken Samsung fans are calling for Samsung to bring back modular battery compartments:

Screenshot of tweet: "Samsung, you ned to return to removable batteries! That would be a slam-dunk win!"
Screenshot of Tweet: "I like phones with removable batteries only, especially with the fiascos with iPhone & Samsung phones"

Screenshot of Tweet: "I love my Samsung Note 7... [wish you still had removable batteries... oh well]
Screenshot of Tweet: "Can you neg a corporation? Because I'm thinking of ways to try to get Samsung to go back to removable batteries"

Screenshot of Tweet: "Samsung should move back to removable batteries for their phones. My Note 4 with the extended 7000mah battery was the (pun intended) bomb"

Will the Galaxy S8 Have a Removable Battery?

The Galaxy S8 is due for release in the next month or two. After Note 7 had to be taken off sale, no doubt Samsung and their users alike are rooting for the launch to go smoothly and put Samsung back on top.

Alas, thus far there have been no reports or even rumours of a removable battery in the Galaxy S8. It is rumoured, however, that Samsung are procuring batteries for future phones from LG, who are well-known for including removable batteries in their models. Could this be an indication that Samsung are reconsidering removable batteries for the Galaxy S8?

Users are increasingly looking for a removable battery phone, so even if it doesn’t make it into the final draft of the S8, it is entirely possible that a later model will make a return.

The practicality of easily accessed and removable SIM cards is commonplace now. Fingers crossed that Samsung will take note of customer comments, as they tend to do, and keep it in the bank for future designs.

We want to know, are you fussed about removable batteries for the Galaxy S8? Or would you rather have sleek design and waterproof casing? 

 

  • Wayne

    Removable batteries also allow one to easily replace the battery once a year to keep original performance. This is the primary reason I will not buy a phone with a non-removable battery, no matter how big the sealed battery may be.

  • Jolyon

    I have found that often I have to rush out or am at a place where I cannot charge my battery easily. I found the ability to swap batteries quickly so I can continue using the phone strsight away, to be invaluable.
    The best thing is that the used battery can be charging while I am still using my phone, so effectively my phone never has to be on charge.

  • Matt Savigear

    I’m desperate to find a decent phone with a removable battery (given my Xperia is now failing after less than two years). The last bastion of this (LG) have given up with their latest release – an S8 with a replaceable battery would be an immediate purchase for me.

  • Mike Pientka

    My last 3 smartphone upgrades were driven by the non-removable battery degrading to 1/4 its original charge life. Two years ago I bought my Note 4 specifically because of the removable battery and micro SD slot. I added a 200Gb micro SD card and 10,000 mAh Zero Lemon aftermarket battery. Absolutely love this setup. Some will say waterproofing electronics AND replaceable battery are exclusive design goals, but my 20-year old battery-powered diving watch shows me otherwise. As much as I love my Samsung Note 4, I will switch to another manufacturer to get a removeable battery.