How to defend your Dell Streak's battery life

This guest article was written by Brett Kaminski.

Android-robot-military At least once a week, a post will pop up on the StreakSmart forums on increasing battery life, getting a second battery, or ways to find apps that are killing your battery. A quick search of the Android Market will lead to numerous apps that claim to increase your battery life . . . and that often don't do anything but waste more precious juice! This can lead to a lot of confusion.

Some people like to go the route of having a second battery, but let’s face it: that isn’t always practical. Inevitably you’ll forget to charge the back-up or forget to bring it with you when you leave the house.

To help this dreadful situation, I've put together a comprehensive system that is proven to make your Streak's battery last extremely long! This system includes some apps that are free and some that are paid but well worth the money. Some of them you may have heard of; others not so much.

I'm not going to just tell you about these apps and leave you to figure out how to use them on your own either. I'll tell you the exact settings to tweak so you can get the ball rolling on maximizing your battery right now.

In my opinion, the number one tool to fighting power loss is a good task manager. Jenn is definitely not a proponent of task killers and has written an article on her HTC EVO site that breaks down some information that you should take a look at before deciding whose "side" to be on.

I personally use Advanced Task Killer Froyo, which is free in the Market. This is the easiest app to set up hands down. Simply install, then go to your app drawer and tap the icon.

ATK
 
Once the app is loaded, hit the menu button and tap Settings. Scroll down to the "Auto Kill" section and select "Crazy" as the Auto Kill Level and "Every hour hour" as the Auto Kill Frequency. Once back at the settings menu, hit the back button once to get to the app’s main screen, make sure that "Advanced Task Killer Froyo" is not checked, then tap "Kill Selected Apps. Congrats! Advanced Task Killer is all set (and you've made Jenn cry).

The second thing to do on your Streak is to turn on the "Schedule Data Connection" function. This is likely one of the most powerful stock features on the device and is most commonly overlooked for real battery savings. This option can be found under: Settings > Wireless & Networks > Mobile Networks > Schedule Data Connection. If you're in the right place, you should be looking at this screen:

Data Scheduler

First, check the box to enable this option.

This next part is completely based on your personal sleep schedule. For example, I typically go to sleep around 12:30AM and wake up around 6:15AM, so my scheduled end time would be 0:30 and my start time would be 06:15 since the clock is in a 24- hour format. Set these times based on your own schedule.

Then, tap Cellular Data Timeout and select "15 Minutes." What this does is automatically turn off your mobile data connection after it's been idle for 15 minutes between the hours you set. Once outside of those hours, it will turn your mobile data back on.

You can now back out to the home screen and you’re all set!

The last and final app is SetCPU for Root Users, which is $1.99 in the Market, but free to users of the xda-developers forum. After using it for a bit, I highly recommend purchasing the "donate" version in the Market because it is so useful and it's important to support devs.

As it's name suggests, there is a caveat to this app; it requires root to function. I think most avid readers and forum users here at StreakSmart have already rooted their Streaks, but if you haven’t then you probably should, even if it's just for SetCPU. There is a quick guide on how to use GingerBreak to root your Streak here on StreakSmart, and many other tutorials in the forums and on the web.

Now assuming that your Streak is rooted, SetCPU is very easy to use! It lets you control your CPU settings, and there is even a custom scaling method for DJ_Steve’s StreakDroid called "smartass" that has Streak-specific optimizations. Once you have the app installed, launch it from your app drawer and make your way to the "Profiles" tab. Then check the box to enable profiles and enable notifications.

The next steps are very simple. Tap "Add Profile" and add these settings:

SetCPU Profiles 

The percentage sliders can be a little tricky but otherwise setting up the profiles is very self-explanatory.

With these settings your battery will drain a lot slower because it won't be using more processor power than it needs to, especially when the screen is off!

There are a number of other great apps to control your phones battery life (I could easily write tens of pages on Tasker because it is so infinitely useful), but what I've outlined above will definitely help you increase your battery life even under moderate to heavy use.

Some other great tips for keeping your battery going are to turn off the GPS and Bluetooth radios when they aren’t being used and of course to use Wi-Fi instead of mobile data whenever possible. Jenn has shared two other simple tips here. What apps or tricks do you have to prolong your Streak battery's inevitable demise?

This guest article was written by Brett Kaminski.

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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