Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Quick Battery Drain on the Kindle Touch 3G

Now that I've had time to put some more miles on my Kindle Touch 3G as a travel reading device, I've noticed that the battery sometimes gets depleted pretty quickly, even when I'm not using it. There are a couple of possible reasons for that.

One is leaving the Kindle on and closing the cover. That's a real no-no if you then stuff it in a bag, as I learned with the Kindle Keyboard. Until the device goes into sleep mode, any pressure on the cover could press keys and cause it to stay on and possibly do page turns. I know that happened with the Kindle Keyboard because I'd turn it on and find it was on a different page than where I left it.

Accidental key presses can happen with the Touch also, because of the Home button on the front. Every it gets pressed, the Home screen is refreshed, even if you're already on the Home screen. Of course, the solution is to manually turn the Kindle off with the power button when you're done reading. It's become a habit and now I turn the Kindle's off even when I'm just going to set it down.

The other cause of battery drain appears to be the 3G connectivity. I've noticed that when wireless is on and I'm in an area with little or no 3G service (and no Wi-Fi), the battery often loses half its charge in one day without ever being turned on. The answer is to make sure wireless is off if you'll be out of 3G and Wi-Fi range for long periods of time and don't have an easy way to charge the Kindle.

As a charter pilot, one of the places I often fly is Grand Canyon West, on the far southwest rim of the Grand Canyon. Cell coverage is marginal there and the Kindle Touch has no 3G or Wi-Fi connectivity. I'm usually at Grand Canyon West for about four hours at a time and I've noticed that the Touch loses about half its battery charge in that time- and I usually only read for an hour or two.

By the way, I haven't noticed such quick battery drain on the Kindle Fire. This is probably because there are no buttons on the bezel to be pressed by the cover, and also that the current Fire only has Wi-Fi, not 3G.

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