The phone itself, I love. I gotta be upfront about that. The 4" AMOLED screen is awesome, the touch screen is as good as th iPhone's (I had an iPhone for two and a half years prior to getting this). Being able to run everything I want in the background, real-time, is brilliant. On top of that, the 16gb of built-in storage, along with the 16gb micro-SD card I've added means I've got all the music capability that I require, as well. And the Android Music Player is actually pretty damn good: I find it's more intuitive as far as building playlists on the phone. Apple really has to stop streaming people towards doing that on iTunes on their PC and make it more functional on the phone itself.
What's interesting, for me, is that while I had an iPhone 3G, and updated to the Captivate, idioglossia has gotten herself an iPhone 4, so I can make direct comparisons between the three devices.
And where the iPhone 4 blows both the 3G and Captivate away?
idioglossia does not go easy on her phone: she managed to blow a gig of data in the first four days she had it. She's using it for media and games a lot, which means the screen is on constantly. Despite that, she's getting a solid two to three days out of a charge. I only got about twenty-four hours of real usage out of my 3G and, sadly, the basic 1500Mah battery in the Captivate only stood up to about ten hours of hard use.
That ten hours on the captivate has improved to about fifteen to eighteen, now that the battery is conditioned after a few weeks of use, but, still, that's not quite enough. I know for ryestar, it was a deal breaker.
So, early on, I started looking for a replacement battery. I found a few Hong Kong Knockoff's on ebay: $12 for two batteries (1500Mah, same as the OEM Samsung) and a plug-in charger with a USB port (so I can charge a battery out of phone, and plug the phone in too to charge in-phone).
And it's not bad. But when I turn the phone off to swap batteries, I have to restart all my services, and then kill any that auto-restart that I don't want running as a power drain.
But it works.
However, I'd been watching the Seidio.com site: and they were showing a 3000Mah battery as "in development". About two weeks ago, they had it for sale, for $69.99 USD, plus shipping. I ordered it, and $78.64 CDN (shipping and exchange included) I had it in hand.
Instructions are to charge it for eight hours on first charge, and when the charger or phone shows "charging complete" let it sit on the charger for an additional three hours. I assume this is conditioning, so, I did that: basically it just charged overnight.
As you can imagine if you've every seen a higher capacity replacement battery for a different cell phone, this is a thicker, chunkier battery. Because of that, it comes with a replacement cover. The Captivate is a pretty sexy little phone: it's very thin. Because of the screen size, and thinness, I've actually worried about flexing the phone in my pocket. So, I wasn't really worried about a little extra thickness.
With the 3000Mah battery, and replacement cover, in place, it's definitely chunkier. But the cover is a really nice piece. It's soft-touch plastic: the best equivalent I can think of is the non-reflective dash material that Audi and BMW use in their cars. It's matte-black, and has a pretty nice texture too it. It adds about 8mm to the thickness of the phone. Considering the phone itself is only about 12mm thick, normally, this is a noticeable difference. Because of the design of the phone, you end up with "overhang" at the top and bottom(there's a bezel on the back at top and bottom, so those areas aren't "thickened" by the battery cover.
Oddly, the phone actually fits my hand better with the thicker cover in place: it's more palmable. It's definitely not as pretty as the slim, carbon-fibre-esque cover the phone comes with though. Actually, there's a little indent (where the external speaker is) that they've enlarged somewhat on the new cover. When talking on the phone, or browsing, this is perfectly placed for my fore-finger to hold the phone. No one likes having a non-standard, over-sized cover on their phone, but five-stars for design on this one. They didn't cheap out on it at all, and there's some actual ergonomic thought gone into it.
I admit, this is an unscientifically-measured, seat-of-the-pants review. Times and data volumes are approximate, and I'm not paying a huge amount of attention to whether or not it's on HSPA or 3G, or even Edge. It's fair to say that 90% of the usage is on 3G or HSPA though.
Another item I was worried about was heat. Both the OEM Samsung 1500Mah and the knock-off 1500Mah batteries get very hot under heavy load (like, say, downloading 300megs+ in five minutes). This 3000Mah does not, so far. I'm not sure if it's actually not getting hot, or if there's enough air flow under the replacement cover that it's disipating faster, but I'm not feeling the heat through the cover the way I had done previously. Obviously, the other potential is that the new cover doesn't transfer heat, and acts as an insulator, but I'm going to assume that's not the case.
|Battery||Samsung 1500mah||Seidio 3000mah|
|FullTime Apps||PodTrapper, Dolphin, Facebook, Seismic, @mail client, Gmail Chat, Greader Pro*||PodTrapper, Dolphin, Facebook, Seismic, @mail client, Gmail Chat, Greader Pro*|
|Screen Time||1hr 20min @ 75% brightness||4.5+ Hrs @75% brightness|
|Voice Usage||20 minutes||45 minutes|
|Recharge Time||2:25pm (8hrs)||3:25pm (33hrs)|
|* apps all set to grab updates every ten minutes|
All in all, after bonking the battery away, not worrying particularly about usage, and turning pretty much everything on, I get a full day's usage out of it. I've still got the original battery, and cover, as a spare, but I don't honestly thing I'll need it.
Basically, I'll give the Seidio four stars, here's your basic pro's and con's:
Battery life is excellent
Build quality is fantastic
well designed backplate replacement
good materials for the backplate
Customer service: order was at my door inside of ten business days.
Price. eighty bucks is still a chunk of change for a cellphone battery.
Size: despite the excellent materials and design, it still makes the phone MUCH thicker, and that will be a serious concern for some people.