So, a little over a month ago now, I got talking to Dmitry via @MugenBatteries.
I’d been talking about the Xperia PLAY battery life in general, considering it was a gaming phone and would have extended periods of gaming along with the normal web/SocMed and general SE permasync things I have set up. From my years with AllAboutSymbian, I’d heard of Mugen Batteries plenty before and indeed Steve did a fair few reviews on the site back that left me trawling through the comments in moderating. (Nokia E75 review / Nokia N97 review)
Anyway, I questioned about whether there really was that much of an improved life on the Mugen battery, as much as they were making out themselves at least, which was that their battery would last 2.4 times longer. As we know all too well now-a-days, Smartphones really pull battery power so when Mugen kindly offered to let me test one of the batteries out, I was all for it.
The data sheet for the battery reads as follows:
Cell Type Li-ION
Capacity (mAh) 3600
Battery Door Included
Original Battery Model 1500mAh
So as you can see straight away there is more than double the mAh in this battery and this is a few photos and comments about the cell itself and how its worked over the month.
First off, the service from Mugen was excellent. Simple account creation, followed by timely alerts of shipping etc. Top marks there guys.
The battery arrived through customs without delay and was packed as well as it needed to be
One MAJOR plus point for me was the plastic casing looking after the battery. Normally, and I know you’ll know what I mean here, when you buy electrical goods they are encased in skin slicing, finger removing, military grade security plastic cover. This battery was still in a well sized and safe plastic casing but it was of sufficient quality that it stay locked until it was simply prized open. Perfect for mail order items (though I appreciate this casing would be no use for store displays). I digress, but it did signify that Mugen were taking care of the products they sell.
Once the packaging was opened, there is a sternly written A4 sheet of instructions (so pay attention to them) 😉
The information was all about the initial conditioning of the battery. This created me my first issue. For the first 4 or 5 charges you need to leave it charging for 8 – 12 hours. No problem? Well, what happened was the battery lasted a couple of days straight out the box, on 24hrs a day. This then meant I had to wait for it to drain before I could charge it, and again the last 15% of battery power would come on at say, 0400hrs which meant I couldnt charge it prior to sleeping to let it fully drain before having to charge it so I had to actually ‘TURN THE PHONE OFF’
Luckily though, this was just for the first 4-5 charges and then I could go back to my normal routine and really see how much I could stretch the battery.
Before I do that though, a little about the aesthetics. This battery is basically 2 standard batteries strapped together, so you are getting yourself some bulk right away. Have a look and see:
The standard 1500 mAh battery along side the Mugen 3600 mAh
Having a big fat new battery in place, a quick shake without the cover on to see how well it was seated, proved it was spot on as the battery didn’t drop or even slightly move. Great stuff. What is also needed though with an increase in battery size is an increase in casing size. This was my biggest concern and the difference is very notable.
The style is identical other than text and the depth of the hole for the camera lens and flash
However, although this picture isn’t the best angle, you can certainly see how much the casing stands up over the normal back cover
So, all that put back together, your Xperia PLAY will look like this:
Now if this was my Nokia N8 or an Xperia Arc or the likes, this would probably put me off considerably and move this battery to the draw for emergencies only, purely on its bulk. However on the PLAY, it could even be thought to improve the feel of the handset. I mostly felt this when I was gaming, as the whole unit itself felt more like a gaming device I was used to, the shoulder buttons that had felt a little close before, though clearly hadn’t moved, actually felt more comfortable. This was good! There was still the bulk in the pocket though, so is it worth it over the standard battery? That really comes down to how long it will last under pressure.
As I first started testing the phone life the increase didn’t seem to be as much as I was hoping to see from a 3600mAh battery. Although the phone very VERY slowly decreased in power over the week, this didn’t seem to be blasting the standard battery away. However, as I travel a lot, I put the phone through plenty of different scenarios and soon found a good pattern to really getting a long life from this battery because the more I used it the longer it outlasted the standard battery doing the same thing.
So when I played a load of games on the train from the Sheffield to London (a 2h 20min trip) along with some Social Media and Music playing, I was amazed to see a very minimal drop in the battery percentage. With the standard battery on the same regular trip I’d be half spent.
I often stay over in London too and in those cases with the standard battery I would have to plug in late evening without doubt. With the Mugen battery I didn’t even need to and it would still happily last the return trip up north with the day of business use in-between, more than doubling my former battery. A very positive outcome for those of you who travel a lot.
The true win came on a trip to the Lakes where I forgot my charger. Not an issue as even on 3 and struggling for a signal in the more remote areas, the phone battery finally ticked on to recharge needs a whole 5 days later! FIVE! And there are little me’s who want to play on it all the time and then me who also wanted to play on it so it was getting some use along with a load of photos being taken. (this the former Liverpool owners pad on Windermere, complete with Liverpool Flag on pole)
But is the fatness trade worth it? Why not, when this battery costs $99, just pick up a cheaper spare 1500mAh and carry that instead? That’s a good point and one I’d probably lean more towards if it made the phone bulky in a nasty way. But with the gaming side of this phone, the bulk works and I don’t need to power down the phone and swap the back casing off mid travels (which is good, because removing the back case on the Xperia is a pain as it unmounts the SD card but that’s a different conversation). As I showed the phone to the Xperia product manager, she agreed too that it gave it a very gaming unit feel and could be seen in a complimentary way.
I’m very pleased with the increase that you can get to this phone when using a Mugen Power Battery. If like me you travel a lot, it practically eliminates the need to take charging wires and spare batteries. I am confident too, that with the quality of the battery and Mugens history that its not going to explode in my pocket like some other non SE battery might. I don’t use it all the time however as sometimes, like on a night out, I don’t want the extra bulk in my pocket, so will put the standard battery back in, but most of the time now I’ll be sporting the fatty 😉
Amazing battery life, especially when using wifi, GPS, 3G, gaming, Music and other battery intensive activities.
Quality Make; Everything fits perfectly from the battery itself to the replacement cover
No need to take a spare battery on trips, swap and need to recharge all the time
The sturdy feel to the PLAY when gaming
What’s not so Good
The bulk increase as a phone (though this soon disappears)
The weight increase in the pocket
The somewhat annoying running in of the battery in the first place 😉
It’s got the itsnoel seal of approval if you are looking for a brilliant increase in battery life and a nice sturdy feel to your Xperia PLAY when gaming and not having to worry about dead phones on trips away is priceless.
If you are more concerned about having a fatty in your pockets all the time or are happy to carry more than one battery and have to swap your battery over or even carry a charger too, then stick with what you are doing. Just hope the hotel has more than one plug to use 😉
NOTE: Mugen Batteries are available for many handset types so please refer to their site for your handset
Check out some other PLAY posts with the tag cloud