iPhone Battery Pack Showdown

10 11 2008

By Jonathan at 12:23 PM

iphone_dead1

Anyone who owns an iPhone can testify that the battery life on both the 1st and 2nd generation is horrible. When you are going from using smart phones that lasted a week to a phone that must be charged every night, it takes some getting use to. My previous Nokia Communicator would easily last an entire weekend of heavy use on a single charge. We here at The Tech Lunch have found three options to help ease your power issues.

Our picks for the best battery extenders are the Power Line Encore, the Mophie Juice Pack, and the Richard Solo 1800. All three options will get you through a weekend on a single charge.

41dwartljol_ss400_The Power Line Encore is a combination charger and power pack. A single unit will charge and power up to two USB devices. It features a flip out power plug and a user replaceable battery. It has an easy to read full, half and empty power indicator. A nice addition to this battery extender is that it can be used with pretty much any USB devices, not just Apple products. The Encore works great as both an at home and on the go charger, as well as an emergency battery backup for your favorite USB gizmos. I would not recommend it for use as a iPhone battery backup, because of the long iPhone cable which connects the device to the phone. With some regular use, you may find your cable getting tangled or caught on near by objects. On multiple occasions while using the charger I would suddenly find my phone yanked from my hands due to the cable getting caught, which is never a pleasant surprise. As a result of these less than pleasant experiences I highly advise against using any type of cabled batter extender, at least not for electronics currently in use. A cabled extender does have one advantage, you are not constantly holding up the weight of the battery. You can pick up the Power Line Encore for around $30 at Amazon.

mophie-juice-packThe Mophie Juice Pack serves as both a case and a iPhone battery extender. You might remember our original review of the Mophie Juice Pack. It is available for both 1st an 2nd generation iPhones, but it is not interchangeable. Two separate models make this option less attractive if you are considering switching in the future. Unfortunately the separate models are a necessity, because the case fits very snug and conforms to the phones original housing. The case is obviously not designed as much for damage protection as it is for extending battery life. The front and top of the phone are still completely exposed, leaving some of the more vulnerable areas of the phone at the mercy of it’s environment. Despite this the Juice pack is still perfectly fit for everyday use. Nothing hangs off of the phone, ready to break off in the event you drop it, and the Juice pack is comparatively non-bulky allowing for unencumbered phone use, also adding a nice feel to the phone. An Apple style charge meter is easily readable on the back. Charging is as easy as charging your iPhone, because the device charges using the same standard iPod cables as the phone itself. You can pick up the Mophie Juice Pack at Mophie’s website. Both Juice Packs sell for $99.

rs1800_led_laser_rs001lrg1The Richard Solo 1800 is the perfect companion for the weekend warrior. The new Richard Solo works with both generations of the iPhone, plus most iPods. It has an interchangeable support connector, which adds strength to prevent bending while in use or in your pocket. Due to the 1800 almost doubling the length of the iPhone, it was at first awkward to use. After continuous use you will get used to it, but you might get some funny looks as you walk down the street. In addition to a battery extender, it features an ultra-bright LED light and a laser pointer, both of which can come in handy when on a business trip. The 1800 includes a home, auto, and retractable USB charging cable. It is the perfect accessory for any road warrior and with all of its features, it is the best value. The Richard Solo also added the most additional batter life out of the three extenders tested. You can pick up a Richard Solo 1800 for $69.95

Conclusion
Encore: Best travel charger, but horrible battery extender due to the tethered atmosphere of the device. Cheapest of the Three, at $30.
Mophie Juice Pack: The best everyday iPhone battery extender. The most expensive of the three devices at $99. The easiest to charge. Easiest to manage while in use, but no additional accessories included.
Richard Solo 1800: Best Value at only $69.95. Best solution for the weekend warrior. Offers the most features and the best additional battery life. Best Solution as an occasional battery extender.

EDITORS CHOICE: Mophie Juice Pack and Richard Solo 1800

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