As much as I love my iPhone 3G I am the first to point out that it has some serious short-comings. The biggest for me, by far is battery-life. I use my iPhone a lot. I do use my Touch whenever possible so as to save the iPhone’s battery but even with that I never make it through the day without having to charge the 3G at least once.
That makes having an external battery a neccessity. Quite frankly, I don’t leave home without one of my external batteries charged and waiting. Fortunately there are a growing number of battery options from which to choose. We have previously reviewed a number of good choices such as the Mophie Juice Pack and the Mili powerPack. Today we’ll take a look at two of the lesser-known offerings. The Tekkeon myPower for iPhone and the Konnet Tekkeon myPower for iPhone.
Tekkeon myPower for iPhone
Tekkeon makes an excellent number of external device batteries. Their myPower All has been a godsend a number of times over the past few eyars. I was interested to see that they had released an iPhone-specific battery (although it will work with other devices- more on that in a bit.)
myPower for iPhone doubles your iPhone battery life while protecting your iPhone in a sleek sleeve. A rechargeable lithium polymer battery, this innovative device powers your iPhone on the go, and acts as a dock, enabling you to sync and charge iPhone. And myPower for iPhone minimizes your charge time, enabling you to charge both batteries at the same time.This lightweight battery includes a USB cable for connection to your computer or USB power adapter, and myGuard screen protector for your iPhone 3G. An easy to read capacity indicator provides the power level in the battery, so you’ll never be powerless.
I was most interested in the myPower for iPhone because it came with a leather covering rather than the synthetic materials found in all the other options. The specs are impressive-The 1500 mAh rechargeable lithium polymer battery can be charged in 3 hours on its own and will charge both the battery and the iPhone in about 6. The battery significantly increases talk time to about 5 hours on 3G and 10 hours on Edge. Internet use also increases significantly wit the battery providing 5 hours on 3G and 6 on Wi-Fi. To round things out, the battery adds 7 hours of video playback and 24 hours of audio. That’s a pretty nice bump in run-time.
The device weighs 2.5 oz and wraps around the iPhone protecting everything but the screen. It has the features we have come to expect in a full-body iPhone battery. It automatically syncs and charges iPhone, it can simultaneously charge the iPhone and the battery and it discharges first so that you can use the iPhone with the battery and then remove the iPhone and have a full charge left on the go.
As noted this battery is designed with the iPhone 3G in mind but it works with other iPods including the iPod classic (80GB and 120GB), the iPod touch, 2nd generation and iPod video (30GB). (It should be noted that, like other full-body cases it will cover the the iPod Touch’s audio jack.)
The case is well built and rather light. It does what it says and it does it well from a functional perspective. It is, however, rather boxy and doesn’t have the fine finish I have come to appreciate in some of the other external batteries. I was drawn to it because I love leather cases. If you do too it is a fantastic (and I believe the only) choice. If, however, you aren’t into leather there or other, choices to be found in a large and growing market.
What I Like-
Adds lots of battery life
Smart discharge means the battery is used first leaving the iPhone’s charge full as long as possible
Charges and syncs iPhone while in case
Works with many other iPods
What Needs Improvement-
Covers audio jack if used with iPod Touch
A bit boxy and rough around the edges
For more information visit the Tekkeon website. It can be purchased directly form the company HERE for $79.95.
Konnet’s PowerKZ takes a different approach from the Tekken PowerAll for iPhone’s rough leather by wrapping your iPhone in an eternal battery that is most obviously plastic.
KONNET PowerKZ was developed to extend the enjoyment of all aspects of the iPhone user experience. PowerKZ has a built-in backup battery in an innovative protective case especially designed for both iPhone and iPhone 3G. The backup battery nearly doubles the battery power of the iPhone. The durable and light weight molded case has the added feature of LED charging status and capacity indicator of the backup battery. The case designed with a special rear retractable stand enabling the user to set the iPhone on a flat surface to showcase videos and photos in landscape format. The deliberate placement of all openings and cut-outs coincides with the iPhone’s buttons.
The specs on the battery are impressive. It offers an 1800mAh Li-Polymer Rechargeable Battery. This is significantly more than the Tekkeon PowerAll, the same as the Mophie Juice Pack but still shy of the 2000mAh of the Mili powerPack. It offers complete protection of the iPhone minus the screen and features an auto cut-off after 20 seconds of non-use.
Functionally the PowerKZ does what it needs to do. It protects the iPhone while adding significant battery-life. Unfortunately, from an aesthetic perspective it is not at the top of the heap. It looks good but feels somewhat cheap.
The seams fit together well but the buttons, which allow access to the volume and power buttons, feel as if they will fall off at any moment. Near the bottom are holes for the speaker and microphone, as well as four red-LED power indicators and a button to check the current charge and turn the battery on and off. Like the Mili powerPack the LED indicators are positioned for easily seeing how much juice is left. (The Mophie has the LED’s inexplicably on the back.)
Unfortunately, this is another exampe of the fit and finish ebing a bit of a disappointment as the plastic used for the LED covering is of a slightly different shade of white. I’m color-blind and even I saw the difference.
Unlike most other external batteries the PowerKZ includes a full iPod Dock Connector rather than the far more common mini-usb. This is a fine idea until you realize that the battery is too large for the Apple universal cradle and, thus, requires you to use the Apple cable rather than the more universal mini-USB. On the bright side, however, the position of the PowerKZ’s port makes it a perfect match for the company’s two iPhone cradles. (A review of them is forthcoming the summary of which is- I like them a lot!)
The case/battery features grilled cut-outs for the mic which sound like a great idea but, unfortunately, seem to muffle sound when the speakerphone is used.
Perhaps the best, most unique feature of the PowerKZ is the inclusion of a kickstand so that the iPhone can sit on a table in landscape for watching movies etc. This is a feature I have not seen on other external batteries and one that i like a lot. When not used the kickstand sits almost entirely flush with the case and clicks into place so that it will not accidently open. When opened it feels substantial enough to withstand a good deal of somewhat careful use.
What I Like-
Covers the entire iPhone with the exception of the screenIndicator lights on the front to quickly check chargeKick-stand for watching movies built into the batteryToward the high end of capacity for this kind of battery
What Needs Improvement-
Fit and finish are a bit disappointing
Mic and Speaker “grills” reported to muffle sound on receiver’s end during call
Among the more “device-specific” of these external batteries.
It can be purchased through Amazon for $79.99 although it is currently out of stock.
A black version comes in a “rubberized” material and may offer ad different sense of finish. Details on it can be found HERE.