A picture that supposedly shows the LG G6 was leaked to Business Insider on Thursday, and it seemingly reinforces the rumours that LG will ditch the removable battery as a feature.
Removable batteries were a signature feature on Android smartphones that used to be a major selling point against the iPhone. Yet, if the picture and the rumours are accurate, it means that we won’t be seeing removable batteries on future flagship smartphones. The removable battery is likely dead.
Here’s the picture:
Why is this happening?
Well, removable batteries are no longer a selling point.
Why is that the case?
There are two reasons for this: Smartphone batteries continually improve, and smartphone owners prefer to have better-looking phones and more unique features.
Smartphone makers seemingly can’t make flagship smartphones with premium designs and materials while keeping removable batteries as a feature, and smartphone users generally prefer premium designs and materials. For example, Samsung phones used to have plastic backs because they had removable batteries, but they looked ugly, especially compared to the iPhone’s premium design. There’s no doubt that the Galaxy S5, below, looks hideous compared to any iPhone ever made.
So, in 2015, Samsung decided to ditch the removable battery in the Galaxy S6 in favour for its beautiful premium glass and metal design. It couldn’t have both.
Despite the outcries from Samsung and removable battery loyalists, the sacrifice paid off, and the Galaxy S6 helped propel Samsung’s ailing smartphone business into the mega-success it is today.
It became clear that removable batteries were no longer mattered if it meant sacrificing a premium design.
Looks and water-resistance matter
Out of the big Android smartphone makers, including Samsung, HTC, and Motorola, LG is the final holdout that makes removable batteries for its phones, most recently the G5 and V20 smartphones. Perhaps LG is getting rid of removable batteries because the G5 generated low interest, as reported by the Korea Times, and the V20 didn’t fare much better, either.
One reason for their lacking appeal is that competing smartphones had better designs and features, like water resistance, which is only possible with a unibody design.
When choosing between the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the LG G5, it’s easy to see why one would go with the S7’s gorgeous glass, water-resisting unibody design over the G5.
The G5 is mostly made of premium metal, but LG had to make the removable bottom — which allowed you to swap battery packs — out of plastic. As a result, the G5 had an unsightly seam where the metal body meets the plastic removable bottom. And the plastic bottom had a plasticky look to it, which didn’t match the rest of the metal body.
The V20 had a flimsy removable metal back, which also added an ugly seam. As a result of these removable parts, neither phone is water-resistant.
With the G6’s seemingly beautiful glass and unibody design, LG could make the choice a lot harder for customers. Yet, the verdict is still out whether or not the G6 will be water-resistant.
A legacy feature that doesn’t matter anymore
Battery life on smartphones is still relatively poor, but it’s getting better, so swappable, removable batteries still have some merit. That said, they’re somewhat redundant.
Right now, it’s just as easy to carry around a small external battery and charging cable to give your phone extra juice when it’s running low — you can find them on Amazon anywhere between $10 and $15. Yes, it means carrying around an extra cable, but it doesn’t seem to bother those who use external batteries.
And so, with that, we hope the removable battery rests in peace. It was great once, but we need to get rid of it so our phones don’t have to sacrifice their designs, or water-resistance, for some extra juice.