If you’re after a Samsung phone with a removable battery, you have very few options in 2020 – here’s everything you need to know…
Back in the day, many Samsung phones had removable batteries. It was kind of Samsung’s thing. But as the phone market matured, and battery technology got better, Samsung eventually did away with removable batteries on all of its major releases.
The last flagship Samsung phone to feature a removable battery was the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. The Galaxy Note 4 had a 3220mAh removable battery and the Galaxy S5 had a 2800mAh removable battery.
Do you have options in 2020, though? Are there any newer Samsung phones that come with removable batteries? As it happens there is; but again your options are pretty thin on the ground, as you can see below.
Samsung Phones That Have Removable Battery: A Guide…
Samsung Galaxy Xcover Pro
The Samsung Galaxy Xcover Pro runs Android 10, features full IP68 water and dust resistance, and has a 4050mAh removable battery. In addition to this, the Galaxy XCover Pro is MIL-STD-810G certified and can withstand drops from over 1.5 meters. Unlike ALL other rugged phones, however, the Galaxy XCover Pro’s design and finish are sleek and rather attractive – it’s not bulky in the slightest.
The Samsung Galaxy Xcover Pro launched in January 2020 and runs on Android 10. The Galaxy Xcover Pro is a “rugged phone” designed for outdoor use in the elements. But unlike other “rugged phones,” the Xcover Pro actually looks really good. It’s solid but not ugly (like 99.9% of the competition in this niche).
It’s not a flagship, though, so don’t expect Galaxy S20-grade specs. You do get quite a bit for not much money, though – its IP68 certified, has dual-cameras on the rear, 4GB of RAM, and, of course, a 4050mAh removable battery. And best of all? You get all of this for less than $500/£450.
Samsung Galaxy Xcover FieldPro
Released in April 2020, the Samsung Galaxy Xcover FieldPro is a bit of a weird phone. It runs on Android Oreo, not Android 10 like the Xcover Pro, and it features only a single 12MP camera on the rear, as well as 4GB of RAM and Samsung’s Exynos 9810 CPU.
It’s positioned as a mid-range rugged phone, so it’s cheaper than both the Galaxy S20 and the Galaxy Xcover Pro. Again, the key thing here is the Samsung Galaxy Xcover FieldPro’s 4500mAh removable battery. Not only is the battery huge in size, but it’s also removable.
For certain types of users, having this size battery, as well as the ability to remove it and swap in a new battery, is all they want from a phone. I think this is the entire reason Samsung made these phones. Talk about appealing to a niche demographic!
Samsung Galaxy S5
In phone years, the Samsung Galaxy S5 is ancient. Released in 2014, the Samsung Galaxy S5 was one of the most popular and best selling Android phones of 2014 and 2015. It had a killer design and, for the time, very impressive hardware and specs. It was a big deal, basically.
And one of the Samsung Galaxy S5’s main selling points at the time was the fact that it featured a removable 2800mAh battery. With a removable battery, you could hot-swap fresh batteries into the phone whenever the battery died, ensuring round the clock uptime.
The Galaxy S5 was also the last Samsung flagship to release to feature a removable battery. After this, with the Galaxy S6 and subsequent updates, Samsung began hermetically sealing the battery inside the phone’s chassis – and this did anger quite a few of its longstanding users…
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4, in my mind, was the first really impressive Note release, the one that properly put Samsung’s Galaxy Note range on the map. I owned one and ran it for almost 18 months back in the day. It was a killer phone back then.
Originally released in 2014, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 packed in a ton of awesome specs and features, including Samsung’s heavily update S-Pen stylus that really came into its own on this model. The Galaxy Note 4 ran on Android KitKat but got the Android Marshmallow update too.
And, like the Galaxy S5, the Galaxy Note 4 was the last Galaxy Note release to feature a removable battery. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 packed in a 3220mAh removable cell. Battery life on the Note 4 was great; you didn’t really need to remove the battery like ever – in most cases, it’d do a solid day and a half on a single charge.
Why Did Samsung Stop Doing Removable Batteries On Its Phones?
If you want to be a cynic, you could argue that Samsung stopped support for removable batteries in order to reduce the lifespan of its phones. If you had a removable battery, once that battery had reached its end of like, all you have to do is buy another one and your phone would run as good as new. No need to upgrade every 18-24 months.
Battery life degradation is the #1 reason why phones start failing after a couple of years. Each phone battery only has a certain number of charging cycles, and once these cycles are all used up, the battery life starts getting worse and worse until your phone is basically unusable.
That’s the cynical view.
The actual reason why Samsung did away with removable batteries on 99.9% of its phones is to do with design. In and around 2015 and 2016, Samsung really upped its industrial design. It wanted to beat Apple, so it knew it had to really jazz up its design language, adding in things like curved displays, premium build materials, and thinner and thinner designs.
If you have a removable battery, it makes doing any of the above a lot harder. You have breaks in the chassis, it’s impossible to make a phone water-proof (or, at least it was back then), and you have less freedom with the physical design of the phones. Just look at the Galaxy S5 and compare it to the Galaxy S8 – the difference is like night and day.
iPhones didn’t have removable batteries. This probably wasn’t a major reason behind why Samsung decided to stop doing phones with removable batteries but it is no secret that Samsung basically set itself the task of beating Apple in the phone market. And the only way it was going to do that was by designing phones that looked more modern and futuristic than Apple’s iPhone.
Looking at Samsung’s modern phones, and its most recent releases like the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy Note 20, I’d say Samsung has achieved this goal. Not only is Samsung the biggest smartphone brand on the planet, but it also makes some of the best looking phones too. For this reason, I think most people would forgive Samsung for no longer making phones with removable batteries…
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.