Tech, Autos, & Gear in Layman's Terms Since 2006

86

January 2, 2012 • Reviews

MiLi Power iBox 8000mAh Battery Charger Case for iPad 2 review

IMG 6777 1

Just before CES last year Judie and I both purchased a 7″ Samsung Galaxy Tab in order to blog on the fly. At the time both of us were already pretty heavily invested in iOS but the first generation iPad’s lack of a camera made it problematic for blogging. Add in the fact that, at the time, iPad blogging apps were rather limited in functionality and you begin to see the problem we faced. Unlike the iPad, the Tab had a decent enough camera and blogging from it worked rather well. As such, it solved many of the issues and was the right tool for our time in Vegas. (You can, of course, draw your own conclusions from the fact that we both got rid of the Tabs within a month of the show ending.)

Fast forward a year and much has changed. The iPad 2 has a camera. It isn’t great but it does work well enough for a quick picture or two on the go. In addition, iCloud means you can take awesome pictures with the iPhone 4s and they will show up on the iPad within seconds. Mix in the fact that there are actually some decent blogging apps now and you start to get a picture of what we will be using to blog at CES 2012.

Still there is an issue I expect we will still face… battery life! Our mobile devices get a huge amount of use during the show as they continually search for signals in an area of historically terrible connectivity. Yes, with so many trying to get on the network iPads and iPhones run down faster than a child drinks a Slurpee. The iPad gets good battery life but it is no match for a day at CES. That’s where the MiLi Power iBox 8000mAh Battery Charger Case Back Cover for iPad 2 might come in handy. Our friends at Xengadget sent one over for us to check out so let’s take a closer look.

IMG 6783 1

The Hype:

World’s first Apple Certified battery and protective case for the iPad 2. 8000mAh battery nearly doubles the battery life of your iPad 2: Power iBox fits like a second skin for the iPad 2 all the while providing protection and power without adding bulk. Equipped with an 8,000mAh lithium polymer battery, the Power iBox packs enough charge to double iPad 2’s battery life. Its low profile casing provides durable protection against drops or mishaps while its silver finish and stylish design adds personality to the iPad 2.

IMG 6781 1

The Reality:

Let’s get this out of the way immediately. The MiLi Power iBox 8000mAh Battery Charger Case Back Cover for iPad 2 is big and heavy. It adds a huge amount of bulk to the iPad 2 and it takes a tablet that is already heady enough and makes it even heavier. At the same time, it does have an 8000mAh battery! Heck, the iPad itself only sports a 6500mAh battery so this more than doubles the battery capacity of the tablet. The iPad itself offers “up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music”. The Mili Power iBox offers up to 10 hours of video, 15 hours of data usage and 10 hours of music. Together that means that, depending on the activity you are performing, you will get in the range of 20 hours of runtime or more. That will keep you going pretty much all day with power to spare.

Specifications:

Battery: lithium polymer

Capacity: 8000mAh

Input: DC5V/2.1

Output: 10W DC5V/2.1A(max)

Charging time: 5 hours

Dimensions: 256 x 196 x 15.2 mm

Weight: 12.7oz (360gram)

IMG 6816

If you use one of Apple’s SmartCovers and a protective backing designed to work with it the Power iBox will immediately be familiar. It covers the back, bottom, top and one side. The left-hand side however is exposed so that the SmartCover can magnetically grab onto the iPad 2.

IMG 6818

The Power iBox is “Made for iPad” which means, among other things, that it has the traditional 30-pin connector. Getting the iPad 2 into the Power iBox was, initially at least, a bit of a challenge however. The iPad first gets positioned so that the dock connector is lined up with the 30-pin connection. Then the iPad is slipped into place. All that was easy enough. Actually snapping the iPad into the case so it STAYED in the case took some time and a bit of pressure to click it into place properly. Once it was done however, the iPad stayed put.

Features:

World’s first Apple Certified battery and protective case for the iPad 2

8,000mAh Lithium Polymer battery capacity doubles the life of iPad 2

Power button with press to start charging

4 LED indicator lights to display how much life is left in the Power iBox

One-year manufacturer’s warranty

Controls are kept to a bare minimum with a power button in the lower left and charge indicators next to it that only appear when turned on. Beneath the power button is a microUSB connector for recharging the battery. On the other side of the battery case are cutouts for the speaker.

IMG 6823

And as you can see, the SmartCover works as well with the Power iBox as it does with any non-battery case that is designed for the cover.

IMG 6824

And when the cover is placed on the iPad’s screen the tablet is completely protected. It makes for a nice package except…

IMG 6825

Did I mention “the MiLi Power iBox 8000mAh Battery Charger Case Back Cover for iPad 2 is big and heavy”? Yes, an 8000 mAh battery takes up a fair amount of space and has a noticeable amount of weight. That could combine to make the Power iBox a brick. In order to help avoid that MiLi designed it with a slightly thinner portion (about 1/4 of the case) that is more easily held. It gives the Power iBox a bit of an odd look but it does actually make the case easier to hold.

IMG 6827

Another look at the way in which the SmartCover connects to the iPad. As you can see, while the side of the iPad is exposed and vulnerable when the SmartCover is not in place, it is completely protected when the Power iBox AND the SmartCover are used together.

IMG 6832

And the controls remain fully accessible despite the thickness of the Power iBox.

In short, the MiLi Power iBox does exactly what it promises. It protects the iPad, lets you use Apple’s SmartCover and more than doubles the battery capacity of the iPad. Because it adds significant size, weight and bulk to the iPad it certainly isn’t for everyone. If, however, you need to use your iPad for an extended period of time, will be using it extensively and won’t be near an outlet This might be the PERFECT solution for you. I can’t see using it every day but during a trip it could come in more than a bit handy.

I’m not yet sure if I will be using it at CES but it certainly is something I will think about bringing along next week.

You can learn more and order yours here on the Xengadget storefront.

MSRP: $139.95

What I Like: More than doubles the battery life of the iPad 2; Fits the iPad 2 perfectly; Allows for use of the Apple SmartCover

What Needs Improvement: Heavy and bulky; A bit difficult to get the iPad 2 into the battery case initially

6 Responses to " MiLi Power iBox 8000mAh Battery Charger Case for iPad 2 review "

  1. Anonymous says:

    Does the Micro USB charger charge the iPad as well, or only the external battery?  If it does also charge the iPad, does it charge the iPad first and then the battery, or the battery and then the iPad?

    • Anonymous says:

      With the battery off, plugging in the microUSB charges the iPad so there is clearly passthrough charging going on. But here is the interesting thing. When you plug it in and the battery is off the indicator lights seem to indicate that charge is going to BOTH the iPad and the battery. That would suggest to me it is not one or the other and I, personally, would like it all going to the iPad before the battery starts to charge.
      Sent from my iPad

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks for the info!  Do you happen to know if any old micro USB charger will work with this or if it is specific to the device?  I so dislike the iPad’s heavy duty charging requirements, and it would make this more worth it if I can then charge the iPad with a simple generic micro USB charger, rather than having to have an iPad specific charger all the time.  

        • Anonymous says:

          I’ll check later. I actually was charging it with the USB port on my MacBook air. The company includes a cable but no wall charger… Something that I’m seeing become standard practice and find annoying.
          Sent from my iPad

          • Anonymous says:

            Argh!  I dislike that too, but it does hopefully mean that it will be pretty compatible with pretty much any USB AC Adapter, which does make it a bit more attractive.

  2. Bryan Eley says:

    That’s a really clever accessory.  But you’re right Dan, that increases the overall weight by a fair amount!