This guest article is by John Lewis of PriceCollate.
When you go searching for a new mobile device you will usually take many things into account. You will consider the number of features that the device has and the speed of the processor. You will look at the amount of memory that the device gives you while considering the size of the device. Almost everyone will think about the price they are willing to pay for the device. All of these things are very important when choosing a mobile computer, but there is one other thing that many people fail to think about, but later complain about when it fails to work in the way that it is needed. That thing is the battery that these devices depend on. The batteries that are used in portable devices have improved throughout the years. They last longer, recharge faster and are much safer than what was used in the past. When you are looking at portable devices you will usually have a choice between lithium ion batteries and lithium polymer batteries. It is a good idea to look at these side by side to understand how they differ and what they offer their users.
How They Work
Lithium batteries use an anode that is made of carbon. The cathode is made of lithium cobalt oxide with an electrolyte gel. The battery is charged and discharged by the transfer of the lithium ions from the cathode to the anode. Lithium polymer batteries work in a similar fashion, but they include a separator that when it is exposed to an electrolyte becomes a gel. The lithium polymer batteries are put together a little differently because of the placement of the cathodes and the anodes.
Advantages of the Batteries
The lithium ion batteries are able to produce more energy. They are better for the devices that require more power to operate them. They are also cheaper to make and are more likely to be found in the less expensive devices. Lithium polymer does not have the same energy capacity that the other batteries do, but they are much smaller in size. This makes them better for the devices that are trying to be as small as possible. The higher cost can sometimes make these batteries something that is not worth using. Another advantage that the lithium polymer batteries offer is safety. A lithium ion battery can overheat and because of this they need to have what is known as active protection circuits to keep this from happening. This protection is not needed for the lithium polymer batteries. The lack of these circuits contributes to the smaller size of that type of battery. Another problem with lithium ion batteries is that they start to degrade as soon as they are used. This process limits the life of these batteries and at times they will get to the point where they are no longer usable unless they have been used.
The next time you are thinking about a portable device, ask about the batteries and find out what kind it is. It might be something to consider when you are making your purchase.