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Li-ion or li-po: which smartphone battery is worthy

Smartphone batteries determine the longevity and usability of the smart phones. Understand the pros and cons of different types here.

smartphone battery
Image: Pexels

The lithium-ion, or Li-ion, battery technology has traditionally been the power cell of choice for mobile devices like smartphones and many other portable electronic devices.

On the other hand, most contemporary smartphones now come equipped with lithium-polymer (Li-poly) batteries, which are an alternative that is suited for a broad range of consumer electronic devices. Lithium-ion batteries are less likely to cause overheating issues.

It is helpful to understand the benefits and drawbacks of both of these battery technologies since the lifespan and safety of batteries are a concern that is important to certain clients. 

The following comparison of lithium-ion and lithium-polymer batteries will provide you with the necessary information you want.

Difference between Li-ion and Li-Polymer batteries

portable battery charger on hardwood floor
Image: Kevin Raposo / KnowTechie

The presence of a different kind of biological electrolyte between the negative and positive electrodes is the primary differentiation that can be made between lithium-ion batteries and lithium-polymer batteries.

A lithium-ion battery has an electrolyte that is a liquid. In contrast, a lithium-polymer battery has an electrolyte that is dry and solid and has the consistency of a gel.

The difference between a lithium-ion battery and a lithium polymer battery may be segmented into a few key categories outlined in the following paragraphs.

Pricing

Lithium-ion batteries come out on top when pitted against lithium-polymer batteries for performance. The cost of a lithium-ion battery may range from 2$ per unit up to 4$ per unit.

On the other hand, the cost of a lithium polymer battery begins at roughly 7,500 Indian Rupees (INR) per unit, but it may go as high as 2,50,000 Indian Rupees (INR) per unit.

Lifespan

There is no retention impact in lithium-ion batteries, which contributes to the lithium-ion batteries’ longer lifetime than lithium polymer batteries.

In addition, lithium-ion batteries have a considerably longer lifespan than lithium polymer batteries.

On the other hand, lithium-ion batteries decline in their storage capacity as they age. A half or 0.5 charge/discharge cycle would be defined as charging your phone from 50-100% and then discharging it back to 50%before charging again.

The battery lifespan varies from one battery type to the next, even when using the same technology (Li-ion or Li-Po).

According to Nextgenphone, your iPhone’s battery time helps your phone work efficiently and even longer and prevents your iPhone’s battery from draining too fast.

If some factors are causing it to drain fast, you can check the solution provided online to assist iPhone and android users in the best way.

aukey battery pack in pocket
Image: Aukey

Versatility

Compared to lithium-ion batteries, lithium-polymer batteries provide a greater degree of adaptability in various settings. There is no limit to the number of various forms and dimensions that lithium-polymer batteries may be manufactured in.

In addition, lithium-polymer batteries may be shaped in various ways and can be employed for an extensive range of applications.

High power

Batteries made of lithium-ion and lithium-polymer are used for high durability and power applications. However, lithium-ion batteries are more efficient and common than today’s lithium-polymer batteries.

This is because they have larger power levels, enabling them to be suitable for enormous usage. It is an important factor to consider, given the rarity of lithium-ion battery overheating issues that might lead to the iPhone’s battery drainage too fast.

Durable and lightweight

Lithium-ion batteries are robust and powerful, but Lithium polymer batteries are far more lightweight than lithium-ion batteries; lithium-polymer batteries are becoming an increasingly popular option.

Leakage is less likely to occur with lithium-polymer batteries because of the robust construction of these batteries.

Compatibility and portability

Compactness is a feature shared by lithium-ion and lithium-polymer batteries. On the other hand, lithium-poly batteries have a smaller and more streamlined construction, making them more portable.

Also, when it comes to compatibility, lithium-ion and lithium-polymer batteries are both useful in their unique ways and suitable in various contexts.

While lithium-ion batteries are appropriate for use in electric vehicles, lithium-poly batteries are more suited for mobile phones.

Safety features

A significant number of customers and manufacturers prioritize the reliability of a battery’s safety features.

Lithium-ion batteries are more prone to fail under extreme conditions compared to lithium-polymer batteries. The two opposing materials that make up these batteries may swiftly come into contact with one another.

On the other hand, in comparison to lithium-ion batteries, lithium polymer batteries are more risk-free because their electrolyte is less prone to leak.

Self-discharge

The lithium-polymer battery life cycle is more condensed, but these batteries conserve less energy than their lithium-ion counterparts of comparable size.

On the other hand, lithium-polymer batteries are safer, can be charged quickly, and have low self-discharge.

This indicates that these lithium-polymer batteries will not discharge significantly even if they are left unused for a considerable amount of time.

Is one option more preferred and better than the other?

anker powercore battery pack
Image: Matthew Hughes / KnowTechie

The advantages and disadvantages of lithium-ion and lithium-polymer batteries are comparable. In general, the benefits of a lithium-ion battery include:

  • A higher power density.
  • The absence of what is known as the memory effect (which occurs when batteries become more difficult to change over time).
  • A cost that is much lower than that of a lithium-polymer battery. 

According to Wired, “Lithium-ion batteries are highly efficient. They fit unimaginable quantities of power into such a little compact.

But lithium-ion batteries are intrinsically unstable, suffer from the effects of age, and present a potential risk. Anybody following the current tale of a specific smartphone brand being barred from planes may have witnessed it for themselves.

If the barrier between the positive and negative electrodes is ever broken, the chemical reaction that takes place has the potential to result in combustion (fire).

Since Li-ion batteries are becoming more widespread in consumer gadgets, several companies have looked for ways to save expenses by taking shortcuts.

While there is no need to worry about the safety of excellent batteries, you should exercise extreme caution when purchasing batteries from unknown manufacturers.

On the other hand, lithium-polymer batteries are often durable and flexible, particularly regarding the size and form of their design. This is especially true when compared to traditional lithium-ion batteries.

They are also very lightweight, have an exceptionally low profile, and have a decreased likelihood of suffering from electrolyte leakage. 

However, lithium-polymer batteries also have their drawbacks, including the fact that it is substantially more expensive to produce them and that they do not have the same energy density nor the same longevity as lithium-ion batteries.

Conclusion

Li-ion is superior if the objective is a battery that lasts longer throughout the day, throughout the years, and requires less space.

Li-Po is superior if a battery with rapid charging, high power output for demanding applications, a flexible form factor, and low weight is desired.

Lithium-polymer is gradually replacing lithium-ion in the smartphone market due to its better safety, form factor adaptability, and weight characteristics in high-end and mid-range handsets.

However, more cheap designs and phones with very high cell capacity are expected to continue using lithium-ion battery technology for the foreseeable future.

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Chris has been blogging since the early days of the internet. He primarily focuses on topics related to tech, business, marketing, and pretty much anything else that revolves around tech. When he's not writing, you can find him noodling around on a guitar or cooking up a mean storm for friends and family.

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