Thursday, June 25, 2009

Rebooting fixes everything

Great phone; terrible battery

Over Christmas of 2008 I got a new cell phone. I had been using a Sanyo Katana, a sweet phone in how tiny it was, but lacked every possible feature outside of making a phone call and texting. Being with Sprint for quite a few years, I qualified for a new phone and after searching, I picked up an HTC Touch Pro. It's kinda like an iPhone, but it runs Windows Mobile Pro 6.1 and has a full QWERTY keyboard that slides out. It is, simply, beautiful.

One major flaw in the HTC Touch Pro is the battery life. It sucks. Plain and simple. When I first got it, after 10 hours of light usage (a few text messages each hour), it died. Looking online for help, this appeared to be a common problem--everyone said they got about 10-14 hours of battery life and then it goes kaput. Using the GPS feature, the phone got about 34 minutes of use tops. It was incredibly pathetic and destroyed almost all usefulness of the phone.

Then I found a post on a forum explaining that it's a "known" (i.e. not officially acknowledged) flaw of Windows Mobile--whatever the battery is at when it boots up the first time is what it marks as "full." The feature is actually one with good intentions, as it tells the phone to stop charging the battery even if it's plugged in, thus preventing destruction of the battery caused by overcharging. The downside is companies ship batteries with about 33% battery life, so when the salesman takes that battery out, puts it in your phone and turns it on, your phone connects that 33% charge with "fully charged" and sets the marker. Therefore, instead of getting 2-3 days of use out of your phone per charge, you get half of one.

A hard reset of the phone fixes this, instructions for how to do so can be found online (it involves holding the volume down button, the enter button, and hitting the reset button simultaneously). It wipes the phone of all data--including the battery marker--and defaults it to the initial bootup. Do this when the battery is near dead, then charge it for 8 hours while the phone is off, and voila--the phone puts the fully charged marker at 100%.

Last week my phones battery life just started sucking again. Like, back to initial bootup sucking--10 hours of use and it's already saying "please recharge." I figured I'd have to do another hard reset but didn't want to do so yet, so I waited until the battery was actually about dead, did a soft reset (hit the button on the bottom of the phone), and then plugged it in. Miraculously this seems to have fixed the problem. My phone has been off the charger and on for nearly 11 hours and battery still reads at over 90%.

My phone is useful again. I'm happy.

(For anyone who owns an HTC Touch Pro and you're getting crappy battery life, try this:
  1. Backup your contacts/photos/program install files
  2. Run the battery to dead
  3. Charge the phone for 3-4 minutes
  4. Take the phone off the charger, turn it on and perform a hard reset
  5. Leaving the phone off after the reset, charge the phone for 8 hours
  6. Take it off the charger, restore your files, and enjoy
Hope this helps. The HTC Touch Pro is a truly remarkable phone; the battery is the one major flaw. This doesn't fix it completely--it'd be nice if it lasted for a lot longer [like the 400 hours it says it should last in the manual]--but it makes the phone significantly more useful.)

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