Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Google Nexus 5 battery woes trouble users .......

NEW DELHI: Though it is nearly a year old, LG-manufactured Google Nexus 5 is still ranked among the best value-for-money smartphones in India. However, a number of those 1.72 lakh in India who have purchased the smartphone since its launch in November 2013 are bitter about Nexus 5 developing serious battery problems within a few months.

One of our colleagues has been using Google's Nexus 5 for over five months now. She often charges her phone by connecting it to her laptop when at work. Over time, the battery life of her smartphone has rapidly degraded. She has to plug in the charger at least thrice in 24 hours.

A few days ago, when she connected her Nexus 5 smartphone to her laptop in order to charge the battery, her phone's charging duct heated up. "When I tried to remove and re-plug my smartphone, I noticed that the USB and charging duct of the phone had become really hot and a strong burning smell was coming out of the charging port," she told us.

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"I immediately switched off my smartphone and waited a while for it to cool down. Approximately 30 minutes later, I tried to connect it to a colleague's MacBook Air and the same thing happened— the charging duck heated up again and the burning smell continued."

In order to save her phone from any further damage, she switched it off. When she took it to a nearby LG service center, the person in-charge inspected the phone and told her that there was has been a 'short-circuit' in the charging duct that caused the heating up and the burning smell.

"Since the warranty doesn't cover such 'incidents', I had to pay to get the part replaced," she told us.

Emails sent to LG and its PR agency for their clarification on Nexus 5 battery woes did not even elicit a response.

Her's is just one among the many battery problems faced by Nexus 5 users we spoke to. Though not all complained of a similar issue, some Nexus 5 buyers complained that within a few months, the battery stopped charging beyond 50-60% even while the phone is plugged in overnight. Yet others said that the battery charge goes down from 100% to 35-40% within a couple of hours.

Mukti Lamba, an actuarial analyst, told us, "My Nexus 5 takes a lot of time to get fully charged... what's worse is that it gets discharged within a couple of hours of being fully charged. Charging via USB is very slow... In short, it has to remain on charger for around 16 hours a day."

Bhavna Sharma, Gurgaon-based manager in a content firm, too has been facing similar problems with her Nexus 5. She told us, "I am facing quite a lot of battery issues. The battery discharges very quickly. I have to charge my phone at least 3-4 times a day."

Jai Virk, marketing professional at a Mercedes dealership, said that his Nexus 5 also needs to be recharged at least thrice a day. He also said that apps crash 4-5 times a day on his phone and the phone restarts automatically 10-12 times a day. Since the phone is a gift from his mother, he is reluctant to change it, but said that unless the upcoming Android L update fixes things, he will be compelled to buy a new phone.

Daksh Bahuguna, a Goa-based industrial designer, told us, "My Nexus 5's battery lasts only about 5-6 hours on regular usage. I have even faced the problem of battery draining out completely overnight and me waking up to a switched-off phone. The charging time varies between 45 minutes to 4 hours sometimes. I have to charge my phone at least twice a day, if not three, before hitting the sack."

Google Nexus 5 users who are facing these battery problems say that their work suffers on a regular basis due to the smartphone's battery woes, and this erratic battery defeats the purpose of having a smartphone.

However LG India claims that the number of people coming to service centres regarding Nexus 5 battery issues is "very small".

Google India, on its part, claimed in an emailed comment that the company has "not heard of anyone facing issues with the Nexus 5 battery life".

Notwithstanding the ignorance feigned by Google and LG, the problem does not seem to be limited to the Nexus 5 model sold in India alone. There are many Nexus 5 users who have complained about battery issues on various internet forums.

A Reddit user going by the screen name Wesssy wrote: "I can't figure out why my battery life is so bad, even with using BetterBatteryStats, GSam Battery Monitor, and Wakelock Detector. Today's battery has 46% remaining, with only 56 minutes of screen on time."

On an Android Central forum, another user named PBC said, "Over the past few nights, I've noticed my Nexus 5 has been draining its battery like a sieve. Literally upwards of 30-50% overnight, with the screen off. Last night, I turned off WiFi before I went to bed at around 10 pm and shut down any apps in the multi-task window that were open (not sure if that does anything), battery was at 59%. Woke up around 5, checked the battery, and it was at 17%."

A large-scale Nexus 5 battery problem first cropped up in March this year with the release of Android 4.4.2 update for the phone. After the release, "mm-qcamera-daemon" process drained the battery life by keeping the phone's camera turned on even when it was not in use, thus consuming resources via CPU cycles.

Android 4.4.3 patch for Nexus 5 was meant to fix this issue, but it was reported that some units still suffer from short battery lives. It is now said that Google is readying a final fix for this issue with the Android 5.0 (Lollipop) build that is likely to be released next month.