LG_G5_Battery

Your guide to buying a mobile phone with removable battery

A mobile phone with removable battery makes it easy to swap in a new battery at will. Here’s what you need to know.

If you’ve been using mobiles since the pre-smartphone era, the concept of a phone that didn’t have a removable battery might seem like a mystery. Back when mobiles could do little more than call, text or maybe just play Snake, the battery was a wholly removable and replaceable part.

Since then, the emergence of smartphones has seen a significant divide, with many smartphones offering removable batteries, but far from all of them. What’s more, in the premium space there has been a definite switch towards phones that have fully sealed frames, which means fully sealed, non-removable batteries.

Apple has been the most notable proponent of the sealed battery approach, with every iPhone model to date, including the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus featuring sealed batteries.

It was for a long while a point of difference between market leaders Apple and Samsung that the latter’s premium phones had removable backs and batteries, but since 2016 Samsung has flipped over to using sealed batteries in phones such as the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge.

Amongst the big name players, the only standout premium phone that still allows you to flip out the battery is the LG G5 and with the launch of the LG G6, even LG has dropped removable battery technology.

Why do phone makers produce phones with sealed batteries?

The most prominent reason why manufacturers make sealed battery phones is that it allows them more room to specifically style the phone. In a device as thin as a smartphone, every part of every millimetre counts. Including not only the battery but also the necessary contacts to allow a battery to be removed hundreds of time adds bulk and complexity. By comparison, a phone with a sealed battery, and in many cases a completely sealed frame allows manufacturers to keep their designs extremely thin.

Some manufacturers also cite worries with third party batteries as a reason to switch to a sealed battery design. There have been cases where poorly manufactured third party batteries have caused issues with some handsets, so it’s not an idea entirely without merit.

Can I put just any battery in my smartphone?

Aside from the obvious questions of a suitable fit, it’s well worthwhile ensuring that if your phone does support a removable battery that your replacement properly matches your exact phone model. This is true whether you’re using it to extend daily battery life or as a full scale replacement for an older battery that just won’t hold a charge any more.

Ideally you should opt for a genuine replacement battery rather than a third party model. While third party batteries will be cheaper, as a consumer you have no real facility to assess the quality of a third party battery, and may encounter significant issues with warranty repair or replacement, especially if a battery mishap causes actual damage to your phone.

My phone doesn’t have a removable battery. What power options do I have?

If you’re using a phone that doesn’t have a removable battery and you’re finding it hard to get through the day without your phone battery conking out, you do have some options open to you.

The simplest and cheapest (where practical) approach is to ensure that you’ve got a charger with you at all times and can leave your phone on charge when you’re not using it. That’s not always practical, however, so it may be wise to invest in an external battery pack. These come in a variety of sizes and capacities.

A battery with a higher capacity -- anything above 5,000mAh or so -- will be able to recharge most phones multiple times, but will be heavier to carry, whereas a small lightweight 1500-3000mAh battery will be easier to transport but provide less overall charge. If you do opt to go down that route, remember to pack a cable with the battery, as many do not supply one, especially if you’re using Apple’s iPhone with its proprietary Lightning connector, or any of the newer phones that use a USB C type connection.

It may also be worth contacting your phone’s manufacturer to see if they offer a battery replacement service for your handset. Within a reasonable timeframe this should be a free service under Australian consumer law. There’s no specified timeframe for that kind of thing, because goods have to be "fit for purpose" and battery failure should count against that, but for any phone older than 12 months you may find that they request payment from you for this kind of service.

As a guideline, Apple provides a one year warranty on the battery component of an iPhone, after which it charges $119 for a replacement battery plus $19.95 shipping if you can’t get to an Apple store. It’s important to note that as with any major phone service, you should back up your entire phone’s storage externally before sending it in, as battery replacement typically wipes the phone, and in some cases vendors may provide you with a substitute device in any case.

What's my best option for a premium handset with a removable battery?

In the budget space you've got plenty of choices, but when you play in the premium market you've essentially got just the LG G5 at this point in time. That's as much a function of its modular design as anything else, but if it's important to you and you want high-end performance, it's your best bet.

Samsung Galaxy S5
DWI (Digital World International)
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
Kogan
LG G5
DWI (Digital World International)

Jeremy Cabral

Jeremy is a publisher for finder.com.au, he is also a personal finance all-rounder specialising in: Credit Cards, Savings Accounts, Personal Loans, Home Loans & Online Shopping.

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32 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    maaenApril 10, 2017

    Is there a possibility for governments of the world to demand ALL manufacturers to make phones with removable batteries so that the consumer has a choice as to when to retire their mobile phone ?
    I cannot understand how most of humanity remains silent whilst these manufacturers carry on with selling phones with sealed up backs and then just accept their lot as they go about buying new phones because they seemingly have no options left….what about the second hand market dying a death because not many people would buy phones with sealed up backs and glued-in and nearly dead batteries?
    I would love a well considered answer and a possible ground swell of a revolt from sensible folks around the world to change this amazingly stupid situation….of embedded imprisononed batteries.

    • Staff
      ArnoldApril 26, 2017Staff

      Hi Maaen,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      Unfortunately, we don’t have much choice regarding this matter. The manufacturers decide what they put on the mobile phones, this includes irremovable batteries. You have valid points but sadly we don’t have control over these things.

      Hope this information helped.

      Cheers,
      Arnold

  2. Default Gravatar
    DeadhoundNovember 12, 2015

    Is there any environmental difference between removable and non-removable batteries?

    • Staff
      AlexDecember 1, 2015Staff

      Hi,

      From an environmental perspective it will depend on a few factors, most notably what you do with the device and battery when you’re done with it. The batteries themselves tend to be the same in terms of chemistry, but how you recycle them will have the most significant impact.

      Regards,

      Alex.

  3. Default Gravatar
    motorolaOctober 22, 2015

    do any motorola phones have removable batteries

    • Staff
      BrodieOctober 22, 2015Staff

      Hi there,

      Only a few select phones out Motorola’s current line have a removable battery. For example, the Moto X Style has a removable battery but the Moto X Play does not.

      Hope that helps,

      Brodie

  4. Default Gravatar
    rounitroyOctober 4, 2015

    I want to buy a phone under 10k,which one will be good, is Asus Zenfone 2 Laser ZE500KL good to buy?please suggest..

    • Staff
      BrodieOctober 7, 2015Staff

      Hi there!

      The Asus Zenfone 2 Laser is a good phone. However, as you’ve landed on this page, I assume you’re looking for a handset with a removable battery, which the Zenfone 2 Laser does not have. If you’re looking for a handset with a removable battery, we’d recommend something like an LG G4 or Samsung Galaxy S5.

      Thanks,

      Brodie

  5. Default Gravatar
    RajMay 16, 2015

    I wanna buy a 15k to 20k phone…
    And I am confused between xperia t2 ultra and xperia z ultra…
    Please suggest me..
    Or let me know any other good smartphone in this range.

    • Staff
      BrodieMay 18, 2015Staff

      Hi Raj,

      The Xperia T2 Ultra is the more recent phone and offers a few upgrades like a 13 MP camera (as opposed to an 8MP camera) and a bigger battery.

      Hope this helps,

      Brodie

  6. Default Gravatar
    PeterMay 16, 2015

    why don’t sony make some phones with removable batteries and others with non removable to accommodate all potential buyers. imagine that viewing the specs of a phone, one may be really satisfied, but when it comes to non removable battery, all the morale disappears. l had loved a sony phone but its non removable battery chased me away to samsung. Some of us value the convenience more than the design.

    • Staff
      BrodieMay 18, 2015Staff

      Hi Peter,

      Manufacturers make phones with non-removable batteries for a number of reasons. The battery can be directly connected to the circuit, negating the need for flimsy contacts. Sealed batteries don’t need as much shielding as an exposed battery, making more room inside the phone. It also means the inside of the phone is not exposed, reducing the risk of water and dust damage.

      However, you’re right. It would be nice if they offered an option for those who prefer removable batteries.

      Thanks,

      Brodie

  7. Default Gravatar
    ChandanMay 5, 2015

    thanks for reply…
    i known many smartphones are also available in market with removable battery but i want to know how can replace my smartphone (with non-removable battery) after warrenty because i want go with xperia z ultra/t2 ultra /t3 or htc desire 826/820/816/816G or samsung galaxy E7/A7 otherwise xperia C3 dual (last option). so talk about non-removable battery replacement after warrenty.

    • Staff
      BrodieMay 6, 2015Staff

      Hey there Chandan,

      It really depends on the phone you end up going with. For example, Sony have authorised repairers who will replace your battery without voiding your warranty whereas Samsung and Apple replace batteries for a cost after the warranty expires.

      Hope I’ve helped,

      Brodie

  8. Default Gravatar
    ChandanMay 5, 2015

    i want to purchase a smartphone in next 3 days , but i an confused about battery because at this time maximum brand like sony/htc/samsung etc come with non-removable battery & 1 year warranty . if i will purchase any smartphone from good brand then may be phone will be work properly but in case battery will not work after warranty period then ……

    what can i do with my smartphone? ,
    how can replace my smartphone ?,
    how much the cost of replacement charge ? ,
    or
    wasting money every time at the time of service.

    • Staff
      BrodieMay 5, 2015Staff

      Hey there Chandan,

      A lot of mobile phones these days have a sealed unit with no removable battery. As you’ve pointed out most batteries only have a 12 month warranty, after that you’re expected to send the handset away and pay for a replacement battery. If this is an issue, there is always the option of a Samsung Galaxy S4 or S5– both phones feature removable batteries and can be easily replaced at a small cost.

      Hope I’ve helped,

      Brodie

  9. Default Gravatar
    March 26, 2015

    Htc have non removable battery but I want to know that if any damaged in battery then from where I get the battery for HTC 820 please say me

    • Staff
      ShirleyMarch 27, 2015Staff

      Hi Priyam,

      Thanks for your question.

      It’s probably best to take to your service provider to see what options they can provide you.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  10. Default Gravatar
    PriyamMarch 25, 2015

    Can you say me that which mobile is better between 150.00 to 220.00

    • Staff
      ShirleyMarch 26, 2015Staff

      Hi Priyam,

      Thanks for your question.

      Please note that finder.com.au is an online comparison service and is not in a position to recommend specific products, providers and services.

      You can compare a range of mobile phones on this page.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

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