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What I’ve Learned After My First 3 Days With the HTC Amaze 4G

Amaze 4G (image from T-Mobile.com)

Facebook for HTC Sense is killing my battery. The other day I bought a new phone because my old one broke. After I smashed it on the ground. I’ve spent a few days getting the new phone just about the way I like it. Along the way I had to solve one major problem that almost had me smashing another phone on the pavement.

Much has been written about the Amaze’s battery life. Most of it is not good. The Engadget review said, “Let’s not beat around the bush, though. In the rush to get this 42Mbps capable device to market a few rough edges were overlooked — namely, battery life.” They go one to say, ” … but whatever the culprit, expect a good three to four hours of action before hitting a productivity ceiling and plugging back in to your nearest outlet. A three-hour charge should get you back up to 100 percent and running — until the next three hours, that is.”

The Verge said, “Battery life was surprisingly dismal on the Amaze. I never once got a full day of use from the phone, and even after charging it fully it would lose its charge after only a few hours of normal use — web browsing, a few phone calls, and some camera use. Part of the problem is certainly due to T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network, which is a battery drain on any phone, but it’s among the worst I’ve seen on recent smartphones.”

My problem was much worse. For some reason, during the first day that I really tried to use the phone, it burned though its battery in less then 3 hours. I don’t mean 3 hours of intensive use. I mean 3 hours on standby with the screen off. And the phone got hot … really hot. Something wasn’t right.

I searched all over the web and many people were reporting similar issues with the Amaze and other HTC phones. For a full day and a half, every time the phone was turned on it heated up and burned through a battery in just a couple of hours. Many people reported decent battery life with the phone … but a couple of reports stuck out because they mentioned the built-in Facebook app as a problem. This one on HTC’s own message boards for example, and this one on Androidforums.

One thing was really odd … when I looked at the Android battery usage it showed that the Calendar app was using the bulk of the battery, second only to “display.” I searched this on Google and found several threads where people reported the same thing. This is one from the HTC site, and this one from XDA-Developers also mentioned the Facebook for HTC Sense problem.

So I took a look and, sure enough, Facebook for HTC Sense was running. I killed the process, deleted the account (Home -> Menu -> Settings -> Accounts & Sync) and rebooted. And my battery use dropped immediately. This morning I grabbed my phone off the charger and headed to work. And things were much better. After an hour and a half on the train with at least 45 minutes of web browsing, I arrived at work with 69% battery. The previous day I was already down to 11% at the end of the train and only 5% after my walk to work. What a dramatic improvement.

I decided to test the theory that this was a problem with Facebook on HTC Sense and not the regular Facebook app. So I downloaded the regular app and started it. The problem is that the Sense UI version seems so tightly integrated that when I started the regular app, it asked to authorize the Sense version. I hesitated at first, but eventually went ahead. And things are still working. On the ride home with some browsing and e-mail I still had 74% battery left. I’ve now been home for over 4 hours – and my phone has been off the charger for 6 and a half hours, and I still have 60% battery.

The Bottom Line

All I can figure is that during the initial setup of the HTC Facebook for Sense UI, something was corrupted and I experienced all the problems that people complain about in the  posts: phone never sleeping, radio constantly running, 3 hour max battery life. But deleting and reactivating the accounts seems to have cured all that.

So if you are having severe battery life problems with an HTC phone with their Sense UI- see if killing and recreating the Facebook account helps. It worked for me.

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