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There’s nothing like a long travel day to turn your fancy smartphone into an expensive brick. As processors get faster and phones get thinner, finding a phone that even lasts a full day of exploring remains a challenge.
Fortunately, if you’re sick of seeing the battery icon turn red by mid-afternoon, you do have a few options. Whether you’re on a budget, need something that can handle bad weather and hard pavements, or are after a premium phone that doesn’t compromise on longevity, we’ve got you covered.
Here are five of the best smartphones with great battery life in 2019, all of which will get you through even the lengthiest long-haul flight without breaking a sweat.
Want to know more? Here you go!
- Best Overall: Motorola Moto G7 Power
- Best From a Flagship Phone: Huawei Mate 10 Pro
- Best for Handling Whatever You Throw at It: Cat S41
- Best for Keyboard Lovers: Blackberry KeyOne
- Best for Durable Security: Blackberry Motion
Best for Long Battery: Motorola Moto G7 Power
The Motorola Moto G7 is our top budget smartphone pick overall, but when it comes to battery life, it’s the even-cheaper Moto G7 Power that takes the crown.
The huge 5000mAh battery inside the Power is two-thirds larger than the one in the regular G7, and it shows in daily use. Coupled with a lower-resolution screen, you’ll typically get two days of regular use out of the device. That’s better than anything else worth owning in this price range.
The phone’s Snapdragon 632 chipset is a solid mid-range performer. Paired with the phone’s 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage (4GB/64GB if you buy the international model), you’ve got an impressive, inexpensive device that’s well-suited to the demands of travel.
There’s a headphone jack, and a micro-SD slot that lets you add up to 512GB of additional storage. Fast USB-C charging is also available via the included 15W charger, and there’s a fingerprint scanner on the back of the phone.
Unfortunately there’s no official water resistance rating, although a special coating does at least provide some protection against rain and splashes. The phone is also a bit on the heavy and chunky side, and while the camera is fine in good lighting conditions, it struggles a bit at other times.
While that will push some buyers back towards the Moto G7 instead of the G7 Power, it’s not a given. If long battery life is more important to you than camera quality or screen resolution, the Motorola Moto G7 Power is very much the phone to buy.
Best From a Flagship Phone: Huawei Mate 10 Pro
Want exceptional battery life, but don’t want to compromise anything else to get it? Buy the Huawei Mate 10 Pro.
This device has all the hardware you’d expect from a premium smartphone in 2019, including a powerful Kirin 970 chipset, vibrant 6″ display, and one of the best dual-camera setups out there. It comes in two varieties, with either 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, or 6GB/128GB. The phone is water and dust-resistant, with a stylish metal and glass design.
That Kirin 970 chipset is quite efficient, and when coupled with the large 4000mAh battery and smart AI features that tweak apps based on your usage, you end up with a device that lasts a long time between charges.
You’ll easily get two days of normal usage out of it, and it’ll get back up to nearly 60% after just half an hour on the included charger. That’s impressive for a powerful, feature-packed flagship phone like this.
Pricing is on par with other high-end Android devices, so if you’re in the market for a premium smartphone that’ll get you through the day no matter what, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro should be at the top of your list.
Best for Handling Whatever You Throw at It: Cat S41
If you want a phone that can deal with all the rigours of travel, and doesn’t need charging every night after doing so, check out the Cat S41. It’s not slim or lightweight, and it won’t be winning fashion awards any time soon either. Instead, it’s a seriously rugged smartphone that’ll handle anything from drops to drowning, and come back for more.
With 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage (plus a micro-SD slot for adding more,) and a bright 5″ display, the basic specs are about what you’d expect. The IP68 rating, though, means it can handle being submerged under six feet of water for an hour, or a drop from head height onto concrete.
Thanks to the 5000mAh battery, coupled with that relatively small screen and mid-range processor, the phone lasts nearly 16 hours on rundown tests, and two days in the real world. It has fast charging built in, and you can even use it to power up other devices, with a threshold to ensure it still has enough juice left for itself.
The downside of this phone is its camera. Unless you’ll only be shooting in bright, sunny conditions, you’ll want to take most of your photos with something else. For the money, Cat really should have done better with this.
Still, if you’re not bothered by the poor photos, and know you’ll be heading to places where conditions are rough and charging sockets are few, you could do a lot worse than the Cat S41.
Best for Keyboard Lovers: Blackberry KeyOne
While Blackberry will never dominate the corporate market like it did a decade ago, the once-iconic brand hasn’t disappeared completely. If you’re after a business-focused device with a useful keyboard, strong security, and great battery life, check out the KeyOne.
The phone has a premium feel, with an anodised aluminium body and grippy, textured back. The 4.5″ screen is bright and colourful, and its size is deceptive — with no on-screen keyboard, there’s as much useful space as most larger phones, at least when you’re typing.
It’s the time between charges we’re here to talk about though, and the 3505mAh battery doesn’t disappoint in that regard. It should easily last through a long-haul flight or rushing around the city for hours, and with light to moderate use, you’ll often get well into the next day before reaching for the charger.
The keyboard doubles as a touchpad, which is the perfect way to keep fingerprints off the screen, and the camera is fine, albeit not best of class. 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage are enough for all but the most demanding of users. There’s also a 3GB/32GB model, if you’re looking to save a bit of money.
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Best for Durable Security: Blackberry Motion
If you’ve got fond memories of your old Blackberry, but don’t feel the need to go back to a physical keyboard, check out the Motion.
The water and dust-resistant metal body is strong and solid, with an anti-scratch screen coating and rubberised back that won’t easily slip out of your hand. The fingerprint sensor works well, and while the 5.5″ 1080p display doesn’t stand out, the brightness and colours are perfectly adequate.
The battery life is the phone’s best feature, with the 4000mAh cell rated to last 32+ hours. In the real world, it’s not uncommon to get two days of use out of it. When you do need to juice it back up again, the supplied Quick Charge 3.0 USB-C fast charger soon gets you back to 100%, and there’s a Boost mode for even faster charging.
Other aspects of the phone aren’t quite so exciting, though, with a midrange chipset and average camera. If you’re hoping for blistering performance and great photos, you’re best looking elsewhere. For those who want great battery life in a durable device, coupled with Blackberry’s focus on security, however, the Motion is well worth a look.
Images via rawpixel (main image), Asus (Zenfone 3 Zoom), Huawei (Mate 10 Pro), Caterpillar (Cat S41), Blackberry (KeyOne and Motion).