Hardware Review: WirelessGround Extended Battery for Samsung Epic 4G

WirelessGround recently released some extended batteries for some of the newer phones, and they were kind enough to send us over a couple to check out. I got to spend some time with their battery for the Epic 4G. This 3500mAh battery definitely extends the life of your device, but is it everything they advertise it to be? Read on…

Let me start of by saying that I REALLY pushed my phone for a few days to determine how effective this extended battery is. Naturally, no good test is reliable without a “control,” so I pushed my phone to the limit one day on the regular battery. A typical day’s use for me at work is streaming Pandora all day, while adding on top of that taking my turns at the few multiplayer games I play — notably, WordFeud and UniWar. Couple these in with frequent text messaging and checking email and Facebook, and my phone gets a pretty good workout during my 9-5.

So how does the regular battery handle this effort, compared to the extended battery? Day 1, on the regular battery, I started streaming my music at 7:30 sharp, and got a “low battery” warning indication almost exactly 4 hours later, so at 11:30 I stopped streaming the music and just used it for a few texts until it actually died about noon. The next day, with the extended battery, I actually didn’t start streaming until about 10:30 (busy morning), and at 5:45 I got the low battery warning message. Now, it’s worth nothing that this is about the time I left work, so I stopped streaming my music, and it got me through the rest of my evening, finally shutting itself off about 8:30. So with the standard battery, I got about 4 hours of intense usage until “Low battery”, then getting another half-hour until the battery was fully dead. The extended battery nearly doubled that effort, giving me a solid 7 hours and 15 minutes of intense usage until “Low battery,” but then giving me nearly another 3 hours(!) of casual usage after that.

Now, here at TalkAndroid, we like to be thorough, so I repeated the test the following two days, but downloaded the “Bat Stat Widget” so I could trace some real numbers throughout the day. How did the second set of days compare? Comparably. I started streaming at 7:54 both day (odd coincidence), and the battery life degradation went as follows:

    Day 1: Standard battery

  • 7:54 – 93%
  • 9:56 – 55%
  • 10:47 – 40%
  • 12:10 – 15% – Low Battery Warning
  • 12:34 – 5%
  • Total use: Just over 4.5 hours

    Day 2: Extended battery

  • 7:54 – 96%
  • 11:34 – 57%
  • 12:52 – 40%
  • 2:52 – 15% – Low Battery Warning
  • 3:55 – 5%
  • Total use: Right at 8 hours

So the results were pretty consistent, with me getting nearly twice as much battery life out of the extended battery as the standard battery. But, what’s the price? In this case, I don’t mean the actual cost in dollars (though in this case, it’s a reasonable $59.95), but I’m talking in terms of bulk. While the Epic 4G may be pretty svelte for a phone sporting a physical, slide-out keyboard, it’s still the bulkiest of the Galaxy S line. What kind of heft is added with the extended battery? Judge for yourself by the pictures below.

As you can see, the battery itself is, predictably, about the twice the thickness (maybe just a tad more) as the standard battery.  What does this do the phone’s footprint when installed?

Yeah, it adds some bulk.  It’s not so much the added weight (which is barely noticeable) as the bulge.  WirelessGround makes it clear on their site that it “Adds only 3-4mm to your device,” which seems about right.  The problem is, when you’re dealing with a phone that’s only 14mm thick to begin with, you’re adding nearly 1/3 again in bulk when attaching this battery.  So that IS a tradeoff.

So, bottom line: Is this extended battery worth it?  For many, the answer will be “yes.”  My day-to-day usage simply doesn’t merit an extended battery, because I have a charger at my desk at work, in my car, at my computer, and by my bed.  My phone can be plugged in pretty much anytime I need it to be.  However, there have definitely been cases where this would have been very useful.  Anytime you might be attending an event (like, for example, if I had been one of the guys on site at CES this past week) where you may be taking lots of pictures and video and don’t have the luxury of being next to a charger all day, this will be a must.  In fact, you might want both the standard AND extended batteries, in that case.  Or, for those of you whose jobs just don’t have you next to a charger all day but you have consistent need of your phone, this battery could be just what you need.  I have a hard time imagining it won’t get you through a typical workday, regardless of what line of work you’re in.  So MOST of our readers will have at least a rare occasion where you’ll want this battery, and when that occasion comes, it delivers.  It carries a little extra heft, but extended batteries nearly always do.  It delivers on its promises though, and let’s face it — if you’re considering an extended battery, you need one that can take whatever you can throw at it.  This one can do it, if you don’t mind the added bulk.

  • Aros

    As much as I would love to have this, it would not fit into my clip case from what I could tell. i love this case to much to make the trade off for a bigger battery considering I have the same access to my chargers as you do. Although it would be nice to have the extra wireless time.

  • http://www.ocondesign.com Mario

    Thanks. I burn through my battery by mid day. I’m sold on a bigger battery

  • Thoy

    I like your review, very thorough n detailed descriptions. I dnt care about the size bt I care about how long or dependable. Like how long will it last afta multiple charges. I have read some after market batteries catch on fire, is it true?