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Two Smartphones: The Solution to Your Battery Problems

No smartphone battery lasts 24 hours of actual use. Sure, if you leave it in the corner of your room doing nothing for a day, it will survive, but no one buys a smartphone to leave it sitting there, Facebook notifications unchecked, Snapchats unopened, pithy Tweets untweeted.

My iPhone 7 Plus has a pretty decent battery life for a smartphone. It lasts for about 16 hours between charges if I don’t overuse it and stick it in Low Power Mode when it drops to 20%. But often, even then, it doesn’t have enough power to make it through the day. If I end up using it more than normal or have to do something in the evening, I’ll finish the day with a dead phone. So what’s to be done?

The solution isn’t more battery, it’s more phone.

At Review Geek, we got thinking about the problem, and we came up with a radical solution: use two smartphones. It might sound nuts (especially with the recent announcement of $1000 premium phones) but hear us out; it’s not just drug dealers and adulterers who can benefit from double phones.

Everything Syncs to the Cloud Anyway

Do you know what happens when I get a Facebook message? Every screen I can see lights up and dings start coming from all corners of my apartment. It’s the same when I get an email and only a little less intense when I get a text message.

Almost every app you use now syncs over the internet. Messages don’t just go to your iPhone, they go to your Mac and iPad too. I’m pretty sure you can now even check your emails on smart home connected toasters.

With WiFi calling, Skype and other services, you can even make phone calls on both phones. But who makes actual phone calls anyway these days?

Your phone is just a tool you use to access apps and the cloud.

The big point is that devices are now pretty interchangeable. They’re basically just dumb terminals for all your online accounts. It doesn’t matter whether you respond to something from your iPhone, your Mac, or your iPad; or perhaps from your day iPhone or your night iPhone.

There are one or two services that still don’t work everywhere (WhatsApp and Snapchat I’m looking at you) but for the most part, it’s possible to have two entirely interchangeable phones.

Smartphones are Cheap and Everywhere

While the dream is obviously to rock two iPhone Xs, that’s really not required. You can get by with any two smartphones (though it definitely makes life easier if they both run the same OS).

In fact, if you play your cards right, your cost can be downright trivial. When you upgrade to a new phone, rather than handing down your old one or flogging it on Craigslist, keep it and use it. Your second phone certainly doesn’t need to be top of the line; the iPhone 6 is still a great phone, even if it is a little long in the tooth.

On Android, the situation is even better. Phones like the Moto E4 cost less than $200 bucks new and work great. For less than the price of a Google Pixel 2, you can get two! Okay, the camera on the E4 seems like it came straight out of a Gameboy Camera unit, but aside from that it’s an awesome phone.

Buying two top-of-the-line smartphones is definitely the expensive option, but any two smartphones will solve your battery woes.

A Few Ways to Play It

So you’re considering it. Let’s look at a few of the possible ways you can roll with the two phone crew.

A Day Phone and a Night Phone: Having a day phone and a night phone is one of the simplest setups possible. You just have two identically set up phones. You use one until it gets low on battery then swap to the other. If you can carry them with you always, great. But if not, you just keep the night phone somewhere you’ll be passing before you head out.

An Indoor Phone and an Outdoor Phone: This one’s great if you work from home. You can have an indoor phone with a massive screen (like an iPhone 8 Plus or even an iPad) that never leaves your house so you don’t have to worry about the practicalities of carrying it. Whenever you go outside, you grab your outdoor phone. It’s something smaller with a protective case so it fits in your pocket and doesn’t get broken.

A Work Phone and a Personal Phone: The most traditional option on the list. It used to be a lot more common for people to have work and personal phones before the internet made it possible for work to take over every aspect of your day to day life. If you want to get some personal space back, it’s an option worth reclaiming. Have a work phone set up with all the apps like Slack that you use for actual work and a personal phone set up with WhatsApp and Snapchat. Whenever you’re working you use your work phone, whenever you’re not, it goes in a drawer and out comes the personal phone.

Making It Work

Obviously if you decide to go with two smartphones, there’s some decisions you need to make and hoops you need to jump through. Some of the things you should consider are:

  • Do you want both phones to have their own data plans? What about phone numbers? You could use Skype to forward all your calls.
  • Do you want them to be perfectly interchangeable or each serve a specific purpose?
  • Do you use a case with your phones? Maybe get a different colour one for each.
  • Are you using the same OS? You can swap between them but it makes life awkward.

There’s lots more you’ll need to do but that’s a start. Two phones certainly aren’t for everyone, but if you absolutely need to have your phone on all the time, it’s the best solution to the battery life problem that doesn’t involve bulky cases, hunting for plug sockets, or begging barmen to charge your phone.

Harry Guinness Harry Guinness
Harry Guinness is a photography expert and writer with nearly a decade of experience. His work has been published in newspapers like the New York Times and on a variety of other websites, including Lifehacker. Read Full Bio »