Five ways to make your BlackBerry battery last longer

Never get caught short again

How long will your Research in Motion (RIM) BlackBerry battery last? That depends on a wide array of factors, starting with the device model you're using, your proximity to cellular towers, and how often you're talking on a call, sending messages or surfing the mobile Internet.

But regardless of whether or not you're constantly using your BlackBerry 8830, BlackBerry 8700G or Blackberry Curve 8300 in the city or in the sticks, you can learn tricks to squeeze every last bit of juice out of your device.

For instance, you can make sure all your unused connectivity options are disabled, your notification settings are optimised for extended battery life and your screen backlight is only as bright as you need it to be.

We recommend carrying an extra BlackBerry battery along whenever possible, or better yet, an extended-life battery, so you don't get caught in the dark even if your main power supply dies. But these tips can help extend your battery life even if you have another at the ready.

1. Set connectivity options wisely

Wireless connectivity options such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth eat up BlackBerry battery life when they're on but aren't in use, because they constantly try to connect to networks or devices.

Even leaving on your device's FM radio when you're not using it drains battery life, because it's communicating with cellular towers to determine if you're still in range of the network and to update various services or applications.

Not all BlackBerry devices have Wi-Fi, in fact only a few of them do, like the BlackBerry 8820 and the new BlackBerry Pearl 8120, but most new RIM devices have Bluetooth support, and the vast majority have cellular radios.

To turn off one or all of these options, go to your device's icon screen and click the Manage Connections icon. (It looks a bit like a camera tripod with a few halos around the top.)

From there, you can deactivate all connectivity options by hitting the Turn All Connections Off option, or turn individual connections on and off by checking or unchecking the boxes next to each. One caution: the cellular radio enables your device to make and receive calls, as well as view web pages and transfer data, so you won't be able to place calls or surf the web when your radio is turned off.

If you enter an area with poor or no network coverage, turn off your radio unless it's absolutely necessary, because it will drain battery life trying to reconnect with the network.

You can also set your device to automatically shut down at night (or other little-used times) and turn itself back on, to save battery life. To do so, go to your device's icon screen and click the Options icon. (It looks like a spanner.) Then click Auto On/Off, select whether or not settings should apply to weekdays, weekends or both, and choose stop and start times.

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Al Sacco

PC Advisor (UK)

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