Best phones with a removable battery and alternative solutions! (August 2019)

Years ago, it was relatively easy to find a flagship Android smartphone with a removable battery. With the recent trends of unibody designs and all-glass construction, though, it’s getting increasingly difficult to find any phones with a removable battery, let alone good ones.

As of now, there hasn’t been a flagship smartphone with a removable battery from any major manufacturer since the LG V20, which dropped in 2016. Since then, removable battery die-hards have needed to head to the mid-range and budget sectors to find the phones they want.

Editor’s Pick

However, it’s now so difficult to find new phones with replaceable batteries that we were able to round up just four devices from major manufacturers released in the past year. Those devices are listed out below.

Keep in mind that there are multiple limitations to each device, including global availability, network compatibility, design/form factor, not to mention the fact that each of these phones is pretty weak when it comes to specs. Unfortunately, these are the best options left.

After checking out the phones below, continue reading further down the page where we give some tips on how to live without a replaceable battery in your phone.

Best phones with a removable battery:

  1. Samsung Galaxy Xcover 4S
  2. Nokia 2.2
  1. LG Tribute Empire
  2. Nokia 1 Plus

Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best phones with a removable battery regularly if new devices launch.

1. Samsung Galaxy Xcover 4S

Samsung Galaxy Xcover 4S

The Samsung Galaxy Xcover 4S is an iterative update to the Xcover 4, which launched in 2017. Like its predecessor, the Xcover 4S is sold as a “rugged” smartphone for folks who work or play in areas where a delicate smartphone would be impractical.

Essentially, the phone looks a lot like Samsung Galaxy flagships of yesteryear, such as the Samsung Galaxy S5. Samsung even used to release “Active” versions of its flagships that looked a lot like the Xcover 4S.

This phone is kind of like a Samsung Galaxy S5 Active, but running Android 9 Pie.

However, specs-wise, this is no flagship. It has a relatively small HD display will certainly leave much to be desired, and its camera system won’t make you a star on Instagram. This phone should be seen as a bare-bones affair that will get the most basic of work and play done — and that’s it.

Thankfully, there are some positives about the device, namely that it comes with Android 9 Pie, has a microSD slot, and has an IP68 rating against water and dust. The price isn’t half-bad either since you can get one brand new for under $500.

Keep in mind that the Galaxy Xcover 4S will only work on GSM networks, which means it won’t work on Verizon, Sprint, or any of their subsidiary brands in the U.S.

Buy Samsung Galaxy Xcover 4S

Samsung Galaxy Xcover 4S specs:

  • Display: 5-inch, HD
  • Chipset: Exynos 7885
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32GB
  • Rear camera: 16MP
  • Front camera: 5MP
  • Battery: 2,800mAh
  • Software: Android 9 Pie

2. Nokia 2.2

The Nokia 2.2 from various angles.

The Nokia 2.2 is the second-best smartphone launched this year with a removable battery. It has a touch of modern design — specifically with the waterdrop-style notch on the front — as well as Android One based on Pie, which means frequent software updates are in the bag.

Specs-wise, it’s no powerhouse, but it will get the job done. As with the Samsung Galaxy Xcover 4S, this phone isn’t appropriate for a power user but will easily perform all the basic things one expects a smartphone to do.

The Nokia 2.2 is your best bet for getting a phone with a removable battery that will feel ‘normal.’

Honestly, the best thing about the device is the price: you can get a new Nokia 2.2 for about a quarter of the cost of the Galaxy Xcover 4S. The Xcover 4S does have some distinct advantages though, such as a better camera system, a better processor, and that IP68 rating. But if you can deal without those advantages, the Nokia 2.2 is a solid choice.

The Nokia 2.2 is also a GSM-only phone, which means it won’t work on Sprint or Verizon.

Buy Nokia 2.2

Nokia 2.2 specs:

  • Display: 5.7-inch, HD+
  • Chipset: Mediatek MT6761
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32GB
  • Rear camera: 13MP
  • Front camera: 5MP
  • Battery: 3,000mAh
  • Software: Android 9 Pie

3. LG Tribute Empire

LG Tribute Empire

The LG Tribute Empire features a removable battery. However, specs-wise, it makes the Galaxy Xcover 4S detailed above look like a bonafide 2019 flagship.

With a paltry 2GB of RAM, a teeny 16GB of internal storage, and an already-outdated version of Android on board, the LG Tribute Empire is like a mid-ranger from five years ago. It does have a fingerprint scanner on the back, though, which at least adds a bit of security.

If you absolutely need a CDMA device, this is literally your only option for 2019.

To make things even more difficult, the LG Tribute Empire is not very accessible: it’s a Boost Mobile or Sprint exclusive, which means you’ll be tied to one of those carriers. It’s technically possible to use the device on Verizon but the hoops you’d need to jump through to make that happen would likely be more trouble than it’s worth.

On the plus side, the LG Tribute Empire is incredibly cheap: its starting price is just $100.

Buy LG Tribute Empire

LG Tribute Empire specs:

  • Display: 5-inch, HD
  • Chipset: Mediatek MT6750
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Storage: 16GB
  • Rear camera: 8MP
  • Front camera: 5MP
  • Battery: 2,500mAh
  • Software: Android 8.1 Oreo

4. Nokia 1 Plus

Nokia 1 Plus

The Nokia 1 Plus goes even further down the specs ladder than the LG Tribute Empire. In fact, the specs on this device are so low that it needs to run Android Go, the bare-bones edition of Android that is designed to use certain Go-ready apps.

Granted, the Nokia 1 Plus is designed to cater to a specific audience, namely developing markets where there are people who have never used a smartphone before due to the high cost-of-entry. The Nokia 1 Plus and other Android Go devices are designed to offer the bare minimum of the Android experience at a price point that rarely goes over $100.

This is an Android Go phone which means it is designed to run ‘lite’ versions of Android apps.

In other words, this phone has a removable battery but you are going to need to make some serious specs and feature sacrifices to use it.

As of now, the easiest way to get ahold of this device is to buy it in the U.K.. There, the device is relatively easy to get from multiple retailers, including Argos. Since it’s a global device, it will not work on CDMA networks such as Verizon or Sprint.

Buy Nokia 1 Plus

Nokia 1 Plus specs:

  • Display: 5.5-inch, qHD
  • Chipset: Mediatek MT6739WW
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Storage: 8GB
  • Rear camera: 8MP
  • Front camera: 5MP
  • Battery: 2,500mAh
  • Software: Android Go (Pie Edition)

It’s time to move on from removable batteries

Samsung galaxy phone removable battery

As the list above makes clear, if having a removable battery is an essential aspect of your smartphone purchase decision, you’re going to have a tough time finding a modern phone to use. At this point, the easiest thing to do is simply accept that and start looking for other ways to keep your phone from running out of juice.

Luckily, there are plenty of options for that now. The most obvious solution is to buy a portable battery pack to top-off your phone’s battery when you see it’s dropping down. We have a whole list of terrific battery pack options here.

Obviously, waiting for your device to charge won’t be as fast as swapping out the battery. However, many modern phones have fast-charging capabilities, so charging your battery isn’t nearly as slow as it used to be.

Read more: How fast charging really works

Similarly, you could also invest in a phone with wireless charging. If you did that, you could dock the phone or lay it on a mat while you are at your desk and it will charge as if it were plugged in. This will give your phone little bursts of juice throughout the day and hopefully prevent you from running dry.

Another option is battery phone cases, which are protective smartphone cases with an extra battery built-in. Depending on the make and model of your smartphone, there might be dozens of different cases for you to try out which could literally double the amount of juice you can get out of one charge.

Finally, many manufacturers include battery optimization features within their version of Android. OnePlus and Samsung both have very flexible battery optimization settings in OxygenOS and One UI, respectively, that could help you prolong your battery life. Of course, you’d need to sacrifice some features for this to work.

Unfortunately, these are the things you’re going to need to do going forward as the idea of a removable smartphone battery slowly fades away.

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