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How-to: Get better battery life from your HTC Droid Incredible

IMHO, the HTC Droid Incredible is the Android device to beat, for the time being. Despite having a smaller display (albeit with the same resolution), no kickstand, and no 4G in comparison to Sprint’s new HTC Evo, the Droid Incredible shares the same 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 8MP camera, and Android 2.1, to name a few features. Oh, and Verizon’s kick-ass 3G network. And, while nothing to write home about, it seems to edge out the Evo in battery life as well.

With that said, the Droid Incredible’s battery life is not great. Still, the Droid Incredible will make it through a full day of normal use under the default (Android 2.1 with Sense) settings, but just barely.

Having owned and operated a Droid Incredible for just over a month now, I’ve figured out some tips and tricks to extend the life of the underwhelming 1300mAh battery that comes standard. First let’s explore some tips, aka things you can do to squeeze more life out of your Droid* without third-party apps/battery upgrades, in no particular order:

Disable the ‘Automatic brightness’ setting by going to: Settings > Sound & display > Brightness > uncheck Automatic brightness.
Add the ‘Power Control’ widget to one of your 7 home screens to more easily toggle on/off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, Sync, and Brightness (low, medium, and high).
Turn off key sounds and haptic feedback: Settings > Sound & display > Audible touch tones; Haptic feedback.
Use a static Wallpaper instead of a Live Wallpaper.
Use less Widgets (which constantly update in the background), and more shortcuts.
Sync less frequently: Settings > Accounts & sync > choose less frequent updates for weather, Twitter, etc.
Kill unnecessary apps running in the background: Settings > Applications > Running services > select what you want to stop (advanced users only).
Use the awesome ‘Battery use’ app to diagnose what exactly is draining your battery.

All of these suggestions will most certainly improve and increase your battery life. Basically it is a matter of management and education. The more you understand what is using your battery, and how the Droid Incredible operates, the better your ability to squeeze more juice out of the measly 1300mAh battery.

However, even taking all of the above into account, there are still a couple more ways to increase your Droid Incredible’s battery life that involve third-party solutions.

Update: I’ve stopped using Task Manager (below) entirely; Lifehacker offers good reasons to avoid task killers.

Use a Task Manager app. There is no shortage of available Task Manager/Task Killing apps, both free and paid, in the Android Market. I’ve only tried three, two free ones which I can’t remember (obviously they left a lasting impression), and the free one which I currently use: Task Manager by Apollo Software. I’m guessing there are just as good, if not better options out there, but I find Task Manager has nearly doubled my battery life. While most of the program is automated, it is important upon first use to add some of the necessary running services that it offers to kill to the ‘Ignore list’ so that you still get regular updates and notifications for things like email, Twitter, etc (see below).

Finally, the most obvious of all options, get a new, larger capacity battery and/or a spare. OEM HTC batteries can be purchased from HTCpedia, a third-party vendor, including the stock 1300mAh battery, a 1500mAh battery that really should have been included from the start, or the pending 2150mAh extra capacity battery, which requires a new, bigger battery cover. There is also a 1750mAh third-party option (with the same footprint as the 1300 and 1500, therefore you don’t need a new battery cover) that seems to get good reviews.

The above tips and tricks should, if orchestrated correctly, have very little impact on your overall Android experience and device usability, while keeping battery drain to a minimum. Sure, it would be nice if you could have everything under the sun running all at once, but it just isn’t realistic with a device such as the Incredible with so much horsepower under the hood, such a large, beautiful display, and such an underwhelming (1300mAh) stock battery.

There you have it, folks. Lots of ways to cut down on battery use. Here’s to longer battery life and getting more out of your Droid!

*Although this post caters specifically to the Droid Incredible, I’m guessing most all of it is equally applicable to the HTC Evo, and any other HTC Android device running 2.1 with Sense, for that matter.