EE counter 4G battery drain with 'Power Bars'

ee power bar© EE Limited

EE will give away portable chargers called "Power Bars" to all their customers, almost for free.

When the "EE Power" scheme launches, customers will need to text in to receive a code, which can be used in store to claim a Power Bar.

Research commissioned by EE found half of UK smartphone users are keen to have more ways of charging their phone in public, with 60% of people saying their batteries don't last a full day.

Larger phones tend to have bigger batteries and last longer, but as manufacturers continue to pack more features into smartphones, the too short battery life problem is here to stay.

EE's solution will go some way to solve the problem, effectively doubling battery life for their customers when out and about.

"Charged at all times"

Texts will cost 35p but other than that, the scheme is free for EE customers, including those on Pay As You Go who've been with EE for three months or more; non-customers can still take part but it'll cost £20.

The Power Bar's not a bad looking device and with a capacity of 2600mah, it holds enough to charge a smartphone once.

ee power bar

They're rechargeable, taking around four hours, and even more handy, EE stores are keeping a stock of fully charged ones which can be swapped over as many times as people like.

It's a good idea, and EE say it'll keep customers "charged at all times", but much of the convenience comes from being near an EE store.

So for customers who aren't near an EE store they're not so convenient, and so far there's no mention of sending the chargers by post.

For non-EE customers it might be worth considering one of the other portable chargers on the market, which can cost less than £20 or hold more than one charge.

4G drain

With 4G now standard for EE, they've acknowledged batteries are worked harder than on 3G-only connections.

This is partly because of the kinds of activities people do - it's much easier to get carried away streaming TV and film on the move with speeds more than twice that of 3G.

EE also noted that video streaming and social media, both notorious for battery drain, account for 50% of their customers' data use.

A phone frequently searching for a network drains batteries quicker so moving in and out of areas with 4G is also a problem.

Rather than turning off 4G, there are a few ways to stretch out battery life when out and about.

Some apps can drain battery very quickly, so it can be worth not using the worst culprits on the go, or deleting them altogether if they're not needed.

Reducing screen brightness and unnecessary notifications will also help conserve precious battery life.

Solving frustration

Of course having an extra charge means the freedom to use more features and take advantage of 4G.

So it'll be interesting to see if other providers offer their own version of the Power Bar, particularly BT who've just launched their new 4G network using EE's infrastructure.

EE have also announced the launch of wi-fi calling this week, helping solve another frustration: calls dropping out inside buildings and in rural locations.

They've beaten Vodafone to the mark - they plan to launch wi-fi calling "soon". Like Vodafone, EE's wi-fi calling doesn't require an app but is only available on a very limited range of phones to start with.

However they're rolling it out to more models so that an estimated five million EE customers will have access to the service by summer 2015.

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