In modern electronic technology today, we heard the word Lithium Ion or Lithium Polymer battery in portable gadgets. In fact, all smartphones are powered by Lithium Ion or Lithium Polymer battery to keep it running and kicking. Some phones have better battery life than others, but which is better between Lithium Ion or Lithium Polymer type for smartphone batteries?

For instance, why some manufacturer put Lithium Ion or Lithium Polymer battery for their smartphones? Why didn’t they just put one type of battery? That’s what we’re going to tackle in this article, including its advantages and disadvantages.

 

Smartphone batteries: Lithium Ion or Lithium Polymer?

1. Lithium-Ion Battery

Lithium-Ion Battery, sometimes called Li-ion battery, Lion battery, or LIB, began its experimentation in 1912 and came onto market in 1970’s. But they didn’t get popular until they’re acquired by Sony in 1991.

These kind of batteries works like lead acid however they move Ions between anode and cathode and then electrons circulate through the conductive connection. 

Lithium-Ion batteries do not need priming when first used and it has low self-discharge rate between 1.5-2% per month.

However, Lithium-Ion batteries are  restricted in forms and are manufactured in either prismatic (rectangular) or cylindrical because they use a liquid electrolyte.

Lithium Ion Battery - Smartphone Batteries

The notable advantages of lithium-ion batteries are size, weight and energy density. These type of batteries are smaller, lighter and deliver more power than nickel-cadmium or nickel-metal-hydride batteries. Moreover, lithium-ion batteries can work in a wider-range of temperature and can be recharged before they are completely discharged without causing memory problem.

Lithium-ion batteries are widely use in mobile phones and other portable devices where size, weight and energy is important. Below are the characteristic of a Li-ion battery.

TypeSecondary
Chemical ReactionVaries, depending on electrolyte.
Operating Temperature4º F to 140º F ( -20º C to 60º C)
Recommended forCellular telephones, mobile computing devices.
Initial Voltage3.6 & 7.2
CapacityVaries (generally up to twice the capacity of a Ni-Cd cellular battery)
Discharge RateFlat
Recharge Life300 – 400 cycles for 100%
Charging Temperature32º F to 140º F (0º C to 60º C)
Storage LifeLoses less than 0.1% per month.
Storage Temperature-4º F to 140º F ( -20º C to 60º C)
Disposal
  • Can be recycled by dropping them off at any of our over 7,200 stores nationwide.
  • Should be recycled through your local RadioShack store.
Other Notes
  • Typically designed to be recharged in the device rather than in an external charger.
  • The chemical construction of this battery limits it to a rectangular shape.
  • Lighter than nickel-based secondary batteries with (Ni-Cd and NiMH).

 

2. Lithium-Polymer Battery

Lithium polymer battery, also known as lithium-ion polymer battery, short as LiPo, LIP or Li-poly is a type of rechargeable battery in a pouch format(soft, flat body, such as those used in cell phones). These batteries we’re invented in 1970’s following the development of  lithium-ion and lithium-metal cells.

Lithium Polymer Battery

These type of batteries provide a discrete advantage over Lithium-Ion Battery in terms of cost, durability and flexibility. A Lithium polymer battery can be mold into different shape to fit in a wide range of electronic devices. It is important for battery manufacturers to develop new designs with great energy as cell phones become thinner over time.

The main advantage of Lithium polymer battery is that it can be mold into different sizes as they please which gives the manufacturers the freedom in developing new design for smartphones batteries.

Another advantage of these batteries is that the self-discharge is much lower than nickel-cadmium or nickel metal hydride cells.

Below are the characteristic of a Lithium polymer battery.

TypeSecondary
Chemical ReactionVaries, depending on electrolyte.
Operating TemperatureImproved performance at low and high temperatures.
Recommended forCellular telephones, mobile computing devices.
Initial Voltage3.6 & 7.2
CapacityVaries depending on the battery; superior to standard lithium-ion.
Discharge RateFlat
Recharge Life300 – 400 cycles
Charging Temperature32º F to 140º F (0º C to 60º C)
Storage LifeLoses less than 0.1% per month.
Storage Temperature-4º F to 140º F ( -20º C to 60º C)
Disposal
  • Can be recycled by dropping them off at any of our over 7,200 stores nationwide.
  • Should be recycled through your local RadioShack store.
Other Notes
  • Typically designed to be recharged in the device rather than in an external charger.
  • Lighter than nickel-based secondary batteries with (Ni-Cd and NiMH).
  • Can be made in a variety of shapes.

 

Wrap up!

As you can see in this comparison, there is no big difference between the two. Although Lithium Polymer can be shaped in various sizes while Lithium Ion is limited to rectangular or cylindrical shape.

I hope this article gives you some important ideas of what are smartphone batteries are made of. If you have any comments and feedback, please feel free to post it below. Thanks!


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