Samsung missed an opportunity with the S4’s extra battery kit

Samsung is one of fewer and fewer companies to actually make batteries in their phones removable, and it’s in my opinion a great feature to have. Heck, I just put in a brand new extended battery in my S II, replacing the one that has seen charges at least daily for the past 1.5 years. Being able to simply go to a local store and pick up a new battery for a reasonable price made it well worth it to refresh the battery in my phone, even if it hasn’t degraded too much in that time. Then, you have the added bonuses of being able to carry spare batteries.

While the extended battery isn’t available for the latest S-series phone, there is a spare battery kit. On top of not being larger than the original, the kit contains both an external charger and the battery, and is meant as a second battery rather than a replacement. A lot of thought seems to have gone into making the charger as small and portable as possible, acting as a storage case for the battery as well- contrary to a lot of external battery chargers that are designed to be stationary.

All in all it seems like a decent accessory, but also one that wastes a nice opportunity to improve the usability aspect a lot. For me at least, having to power down a phone to swap the batteries is the biggest reason why I would hate having two batteries. I don’t actually need a second battery to begin with, but if I had a phone that didn’t last through the day or used my phone too much for any phone to do so, I think I would actually prefer a bulky external battery pack over a spare battery, just to avoid having to power it down. So, why do you need to power down the phone to swap batteries?

s4 battery kit

Frankly, it doesn’t seem like it would take space technology to make batteries hot-swappable. If you look at that external battery charger, you wouldn’t have to make it much bigger to fit in a small internal battery in the charger itself, as well as a retractable charging connector. Then all you would need is to make the phone capable of having its battery removed while USB power is present (not sure if it does already), and you’d be set. Use the external charger as a carry case for the battery, and when you need to swap the batteries, use the charger’s internal mini-battery to power the phone just long enough to swap the batteries. As a bonus, the charger could tap into the spare battery and charge other devices if needed. 

Samsung is obviously more about features for the average consumer than anything else, and in that regard, finger hovering and whatnot makes for better commercials than a smarter spare battery system. Still, I think such a feature would sell well to those who use spare batteries to begin with.

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.

3 thoughts on “Samsung missed an opportunity with the S4’s extra battery kit

  • August 14, 2013 at 11:37 pm
    Samsung Wireless charger

    I follow your train of thought, and those are some valid point and great ideas.
    But I think the “opportunity” is to sell us accessories, and Samsung knows how. First, give it a removeable battery, second, sell you a spare battery with a functional gimmick..Sold.
    If I am looking for a spare battery, I need a way to charge it without having to swap back to the dead battery to charge it in my device. It is a constant cycle of restarts to keep more than one battery charged if you don’t have a second battery charger. (My device shuts down when I remove the back cover)
    It is easier to carry a spare USB cord and a rechargeable battery pack.

  • August 15, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Doesn’t the battery pack need to be attached to the phone?! Hmm, tough decision. Lol

    • August 17, 2013 at 9:28 am

      Well, to be honest…I have a spare phone battery, which is why I know what a PITA it is to keep a second battery charged.
      My wife cannot remove the back of her phone and change the battery without help, so I gave her the battery pack. But her battery lasts all day, and we have only used the battery pack when the power was out.
      I have a spare USB cord I use for a boost at work if I need it.
      I kind of assumed the phone would be sitting idle if it was plugged into the battery pack, but the USB cords are long enough to use the phone while plugged in.
      Just to clarify.


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