This phone breakthrough could finally help solve the problem of short battery life

Mobile smart phone on wireless charging device on dark neon red and blue color background. Icon battery and charging progress lighting on screen.
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

When looking at our best phone battery life list, the longest-lasting players have one thing in common — massive batteries. But often, these batteries bring bigger form factors and heftier weights with them. For some phone users, that's a trade-off worth making if it means their device lasts as long as possible. 

The engineers over at Xiaomi have been working on new battery technology that aims to deliver additional battery life out of the same volume. 

Per PhoneArena (opens in new tab), Xiaomi announced via Weibo (opens in new tab) that it had created new smartphone battery technology that will deliver 10% additional battery life out of a pack of the same size. Xiaomi has done this in a novel way. Instead of pushing for some breakthrough form of amassing more energy in lithium-ion cells, the company has shrunk the control circuit, allowing for additional room for more battery. What this means is that the space for a 4,000 mAh battery pack can now fit 4,400 mAh. 

Xiaomi battery comparison

(Image credit: Xiaomi)

A smartphone battery is more than the lithium-ion pack. It also incorporates connectors for the motherboard as well as a board to help regulate the power. Think of the board as the brain for the battery. It protects the battery from overcharging, over-discharging and over-drain, all of which can lower battery life in the long term. Figuring out ways to condense all this tech is how Xiaomi was able to pack in more material. It's fair to assume that other phone manufacturers will attempt to do the same thing. 

Now, 10% might not seem like a massive jump in battery life, but it's still a significant amount. For the Samsung Galaxy S21, this could mean an additional hour of battery life. 

Apart from more cramped circuitry, Xiaomi also announced something called the "fuel gauge chip," which aims to intelligently charge batteries to ensure the longest life possible. Much like adaptive charging found on the Galaxy S21 and Google Pixel 6, this will potentially use AI to learn a user's charging habits. For example, it might slowly charge to 80% overnight while a user is sleeping, and in the last hour of sleep, top it off at 100%. Keeping a battery at a constant 100% could be bad for overall health. 

Unfortunately this technology is unlikely to make it to the upcoming Xiaomi 12, which had its camera array recently leaked. Hopefully we'll see these denser, smarter batteries appear on future flagship Xiaomi phones in the not too distant future.

Imad is currently Senior Google and Internet Culture reporter for CNET, but until recently was News Editor at Tom's Guide. Hailing from Texas, Imad started his journalism career in 2013 and has amassed bylines with the New York Times, the Washington Post, ESPN, Wired and Men's Health Magazine, among others. Outside of work, you can find him sitting blankly in front of a Word document trying desperately to write the first pages of a new book.