AH Tech Talk: How Important Are Replaceable Batteries And MicroSD Cards?

Samsung have announced the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge to much fanfare this weekend. The new Galaxy S6 models are based class leading components offering higher performance and lower battery usage compared with previous generations. The S6 will need it because not only does it have a smaller battery compared with previous models, but for the first time with a Galaxy flagship device, the battery is embedded and can't be user-replaced. Another traditional Samsung benefit - a microSD card slot - has also been deleted from the specification list. It took Samsung several years to embed the battery but now Samsung believe the S6 offers the right battery life to be able to do this. No explanation has been given for the drop in microSD card support but the new memory within the S6 is significantly quicker than a microSD card.

Let's talk about the replaceable battery first: how much does this matter? That, of course, depends on the customer. Some individuals always buy a device and one, two or three spare batteries. These road warriors may spend a long time away from a battery but can always swap in a new, fully charged, battery when necessary. Another camp of people might like the chance to buy an extra battery, should they be planning an extended trip away from a power charger. And a third camp have never replaced a battery and are not bothered about doing so.

When it comes to removable storage, the main advantage of having a microSD card slot is that it means there's less point in picking up the higher capacity models. These almost always have a significant price premium to the smaller models that's significantly more than the cost of an equivalent microSD card slot. Yes; adding microSD storage to Android is not quite the same as having more internal storage but for media, there's no significant impact. Even better, the addition of that memory card slot means that you can replace the card if you need to. Perhaps you might have one microSD card full of music, the other of movies and the third, pictures. No slot means less flexibility and increases the need to be buying the higher capacity model of the range. This is important for Samsung because it means they can charge a hefty premium for the larger capacity models, which is great for margins.

How important is being able to replace your battery and add additional storage? From my perspective, I have always liked the idea of being able to buy another battery and swap it in, but I've never bothered with the fuss of needing to swap the battery. I have, however, used microSD cards and it's a nice to have, but here again I would not be so much bothered. Over to our readers: how important is a replaceable battery to you? How important is the ability to add cheap additional storage? Let us know in the comments below and if Samsung's decision could persuade you not to buy the new S6.

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About the Author

David Steele

Senior Staff Writer
I grew up with 8-bit computers and moved into PDAs in my professional life, using a number of devices from early Windows CE clamshells and later. Today, my main devices are a Nexus 5X, a Sony Xperia Z Tablet and a coffee cup.