NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Smartphones have gotten so much smarter these days, with all kinds of cool new features. They are really mini computers.

But the battery life continues to be awful.

One of the lessons from the Boston Marathon bombings is that all of us should make sure we have working smartphones when we are out and about.

Sree Sreenivasan, tech expert from our partner network CNET and Columbia University’s chief digital officer, is here with some tips and gadgets for us to know.

We are talking about ways to improve battery life.

But first, we should mention that the year’s most anticipated phone until this point comes out later this week and beyond, depending on your carrier. The Samsung Galaxy S4 has an even bigger screen and specialized software and you are going be hearing a lot about it.

But it’s that screen that’s responsible for a lot of battery issues. Here are some tips for extending the life of your battery and getting more out of your phone.

The first tip is to reduce the brightness on your screen to 50 percent or less. This will save you a lot of battery life. So, get to know and access your screen brightness settings.

The second tip is to turn off the GPS, Bluetooth, Wifi when you don’t need them. It’s tempting to leave them on, but that means they are constantly searching for signals even if you aren’t going to use those features.

The next tip is to turn off all apps you aren’t using. On both Android and iPhone, there are ways to completely close out apps so they aren’t running in the background. For iPhone, double tap the home button and then hold down any app to see a series of minus buttons – you can then turn off the apps.

There is also a tip for just Android users. Check out the free Deep Sleep Power Saver app, which puts your phone in a kind of deep sleep when it knows you aren’t using it.

There are also accessories to extend the life of your phone.

They include the Mophie case, Mophie Juice Pack, and a car charger. Even if you don’t own a car, you might want to carry a car charger because you can plug it in in a taxi. But most useful of all is this Mophie case, which, in essence, doubles your battery life.

LINK: 5 Ways To Charge Your Phone In An Emergency

We also have the list of longest lasting smartphones, by battery.
1. Samsung Galaxy Note II
2. Samsung Galaxy Victory
3. Motorola Droid Razr Maxx
(source: Laptop Magazine)

All of those phones had at least 6.5 hours in the magazine’s harsh battery test. The iPhone 5 came in at seventh place.


Sree Sreenivasan is CBS2′s technology expert, appearing every Wednesday morning at 6:50 am to discuss ways to save you time, money and aggravation. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook  and on his personal siteE-mail your questions with “CBS New York” as the subject line.

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