HTC ThunderBolt: Three tips for extending battery life

The HTC ThunderBolt is fast, but it's also a battery hog. Here are three tips to help you extend the life of your ThunderBolt's battery.

The HTC ThunderBolt is Verizon's first 4G LTE smartphone. It's big, it's fast, and it's a battery hog. TechRepublic's Jason Hiner dubbed it the "Ferrari of smartphones". In his real-world testing, Jason got about four hours of battery life out of a single charge--when using the phone's 4G capability.

Wanting to see the hardware inside HTC's power-hungry device, I cracked open the ThunderBolt for this week's TR Dojo Teardown. I also asked TechRepublic members if using the phone's killer feature (access to Verizon's 4G LTE network) worth sacrificing battery life.

Most loved the speed, but lamented the lackluster battery life. So, here are a few tips to help you stretch your HTC ThunderBolt's battery life.

1. Disable unnecessary Wi-Fi and 4G when not in use.

If you're not in an area with a Wi-Fi network or 4G coverage, turn these radios off to conserve battery life.

To turn off Wi-Fi, press Home, then Menu, and then Settings. Select Wireless & networks and make sure the Wi-Fi option is unchecked.

To turn off 4G, open the phone's dialer and enter *#*#4636#*#*  . This will open a hidden setting menu. Select the "Phone Information" option and and scroll down to the "Set preferred network type:" drop-down menu. If "CDMA + LTE/EvDo auto" is selected (the default setting), the phone will automatically choose the connection that provides the best speed--3G or 4G. By selecting "CDMA auto (PRL)," you can force the phone to only use its 3G antenna. (Thanks to CNET's Android Atlas for this tip.)

2. Disable always-on mobile data

Not enabling always-on mobile data will require you to manually refresh applications that send and receive online data, it can also extend battery life. To disable always-on mobile data, press Home, then press Menu, and select Settings. Press Wireless & networks, select Mobile networks, and then uncheck "Enable always-on mobile data".

3. Kill unnecessary tasks

Letting a bunch of tasks run in the background, can run down your ThunderBolt's battery. Luckily, there are apps like Advanced Task Killer Free, which allow you quickly kill any or all running tasks. TechRepublic blogger Jack Wallen uses this app to extend his Android phone's battery life. "I actually place a shortcut to this tool on my desktop so that a single press will kill any unnecessary tasks that are slowly chomping away at my battery life," Jack wrote.

More battery-saving tips

These three tips are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to maximizing your phone's battery life. You can tweak the device's display and UI configuration or change the sync settings. For more tips on extending the battery of the HTC Thunderbolt and other Android devices, check out these resources: