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How-to: Get better battery life from your Galaxy Nexus

As smartphones continue to evolve – bigger displays, faster processors, higher speed data networks, etc. – one things remains the same: the need for ever-longer battery life. The good news is, however, there plenty of ways to squeeze every last ounce of power out of your device’s battery without too much hassle.

So you’ve got yourself a shiny new Galaxy Nexus. Congrats! It’s a beautiful device with an enormous curved glass display, plenty of processing power, the latest and greatest version of Android, and access to one the U.S.’s fastest 4G networks, VZW’s LTE. All of these features are great and make for a (generally) wonderful device.

The catch? Like all high-end smartphones, if you’ve got the display’s brightness ratcheted up, have notifications turned on for a bunch of apps, and are constantly surfing the web and/or making/receiving phone calls, odds are your Nexus will barely last a business day.

So, how can you maximize battery life* without significantly impairing your Nexus’ usability? By actively managing the settings in each new app you install (i.e., turn off unnecessary notifications, decrease notification frequency, turn off sound effects, etc.) AND, more specifically, by adhering to the following tips:

Add the ‘Power control’ widget to one of your 5 homescreens to easily toggle (on/off) Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, Sync, and Brightness (low, medium, high, and automatic).
Keep the display’s brightness below 50% (it’ll still be plenty bright) by going to: Settings > Display > Brightness.
Turn off unnecessary sounds / vibrations: Settings > Sound > ‘Touch sounds’ / ‘Screen lock sound’ / ‘Vibrate on touch’.
Use a static Wallpaper instead of a Live Wallpaper.
Use fewer widgets (which constantly update in the background), and more app shortcuts.
Always use WiFi (instead of 4G/3G) at home and work, or anywhere you have access: Settings > WiFi > ON.
Turn off new WiFi network notifications: Settings > WiFi> (menu button) > Advanced > Network notification.
If you really need/want maximum battery while away from WiFi, turn off 4G: Settings > More… > Mobile networks > Network Mode. Quickly access these settings with this app (creates a shortcut).
Sync only what is necessary: Settings > Accounts & sync > uncheck any items that don’t need regular syncing.
Kill unnecessary apps running in the background: Settings > Apps > Running > select what you want to stop (advanced users only).
Diagnose what exactly (display, wifi, apps, etc.) is draining your battery: Settings > Battery.

Finally, the most obvious of all solutions: buy Samsung’s higher capacity Galaxy Nexus battery. The extended battery bumps mAh from 1850 to 2100, providing roughly 13.5% more uptime per charge. More importantly, while the extended battery requires a new back plate, the size difference is barely noticeable in comparison to the stock cover and battery making it a no-brainer.

Implementing (some or) all of the tips above should have very little (negative) impact on your overall Android experience and device usability, while keeping battery drain to a minimum. And of course, if you know of any other battery-saving tips or tricks, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.

*Nearly all of these tips are applicable to any Android device.