The iPhone battery is one of its weak points. Luckily, several after market add-on batteries exist. I have bought many of these batteries and am writing a review and comparison of each. Below is an extensive comparison of 5 addon batteries for your iPhone and recommendations on each.
One thing that all batteries have in common. While attached, the iPhone thinks its plugged into a power source; because it is – the battery. The reviews will compare the batteries ability to charge the device, ease of use, and extra functionality. I have ignored the specs provided by the manufacturers and am providing my experience instead as I have tested these well. Let’s get started.
Incase Power Slider
This battery is also a nice, protective case. The case is beautiful, sexy, and sleek. It’s comfortable to hold and not too bulky in the pocket. Check out the pictures:
The iPhone in the case is about twice as thick as the iPhone alone:
Let me stress again, the battery feels really nice to the touch. Anyways, the battery has plenty of power and can charge the iPhone from totally dead to fully charged about 1.5 times. The case fits snugly
so you must specify 3g vs 2g when you purchase and currently comes for the 3g. The case can sort of fit on a 2g, but doesnt feel as snug. I do not recommend for the 2g. The Incase battery is not cheap at $99 but is excellent regardless of the price. You can purchase it directly from Incase. The battery passes USB through to the computer while hooked up so you can sync while the iPhone is in the case.
The downsides to the battery:
It has a mini USB charging port. While it does come with its own USB cable, you will not be able to use this in any dock. This poses a problem for occasional use. Most people want the iPhone in their dock when on their desks. This means you would remove the iPhone from the case to do so. On top of that, you would then need to plug the case into another power connector to charge. This becomes an annoyance so you may not do so meaning that the battery will not be charged when you finally do want it. So, only get this battery if a dock is not important to you and you plan on leaving the iPhone in the case all the time.
Pros: Sexy, sleek, great charge, good protective case for iPhone, pass through to computer for sync, does not block camera.
Cons: Does not work with iPhone cable, cannot dock.
Fastmac TruePower Sliding Case Battery
This battery is also very powerful and, like the Incase, can charge the iPhone 1.5 times. The battery is larger than the Incase battery and does not feel nearly as sexy. However, if looks and feel isn’t important to you, this battery has some other advantages over the Incase. It has a flashlight built into it, and it can sit in a 2g dock and charge. It also passes through to the computer so you can sync with the device hooked up.
The battery is pretty thick, and while it is not any thicker than the Incase battery, it feels much thicker in use:
Still, having the ability to keep the device in the 2g iPhone dock is pretty nice. (No, it won’t fit in a 3g dock). Also, it should be noted that you can use the same battery for a 2g and 3g iPhone so you can buy one and share. The battery also uses the iPhone standard cable to charge.The battery unit is also expensive at $99 direclty from Fastmac. Note: sometimes they sell the 2g version for $79. Get that as they are the 2g and 3g is the same!
One thing to note is that since the battery fits in the dock, and you can sync through it, it is likely that you will leave it in your dock and slide your iPhone in and out of it when you do not want to use the battery. That is good because it means when you do want to use the battery, the battery is always charged and ready to go. This is the opposite case with the Incase where you will probably want to charge it separately.
One more note: I lost some signal strength while in this case. Perhaps something about the battery actually blocks signal. Only use if you have strong signal.
Pros: Great charge, computer sync, standard cable, flashlight, can sit in 2g dock, same unit for 2g and 3g iPhones so you can share, does not block camera.
Cons: Big and ugly. Not good protection as a case. Signal strength drops.
The iPhone Portable Power Station
This battery is a somewhat cheaply made device from Tawain, Hong Kong, or China. However, it’s still a pretty good device. The 3g version does not pass through to the computer for sync. The battery provides about 1 full charge to the iPhone and that’s it. The battery does not provide much protection as a case unless you use the rubber sleeve that comes with it. However, if you use the sleeve, the iPhone is very hard to remove from the battery, and I found the sleeve to be quite annoying. (It’s in the trash can now). The power station back is solid plastic and not at all sexy compared to the incase. The backing blocks the camera so you will not be using the camera while it is in this case. The 2g and 3g versions are separate so you must specify which you want when you order.
The portable power station has a couple unique features, however. First, the iPhone can sit upright in it as it will double as a dock. This is very handy espeically while in a hotel room or such.
Another benefit is that you can turn the iPhone on its side and watch a movie without having to hold the iPhone up using the battery:
So while the battery isn’t nearly as cool as the incase and not nearly as well made, it is a bit more functional. The power station can be found all over the web for around $39.00. Even if it’s not as well made, you could buy 2 of these for the price of one incase.
Pros: Cheap, decent battery power, doubles as a stand and a dock.
Cons: Ugly, not made well, blocks camera, does not pass through for sync.
Rating: Good (would be great if it wasnt so poorly made)
Richard Solo 1800
The Richard Solo 1800 is different than the other batteries as it does not double up as a case. Instead, it’s a decent option to leave in your car or such so that you can plug it into your iPhone, charge it up, and remove it when you’re done. The battery provides about 75% of one full charge. The battery also works as a passthrough to the computer, but like the Incase, takes a mini USB connector. But that’s ok as the iPhone is not in a case with this battery.
The battery has a light and a laser pointer built in.
Also, you can plug the battery into the back of your iPhone dock and leave your iPhone in the dock on your desk! This is actually pretty important. For a battery that you will not be using all the time, you want it to be charged when you do want to use it. By leaving it permanently attached to the back of your dock, it is always charged and ready to go when you grab it. Unfortunately, you cannot sync through it so this is only useful if you don’t care about syncing.
The battery comes with a clip, one for 2g and one for 3g to help support the device so it doesn’t wobble around while connected to the iPhone’s power connector. However, even with these clips, it does move around a bit – enough to worry me that perhaps over time the iPhone power connector would become loose. I wouldn’t use the battery while using the iPhone much.
The battery can be gotten at Richard Solo’s web site for $69.95.
Pros: Small, convenient, always charged (if you don’t need sync), one battery for both 2g and 3g, fits in back of your existing dock.
Cons: Not much juice, expensive for what it is, wobbly in the iPhone even with the plastic supports, does not pass through for sync.
Recommendation: Great if you don’t want a case.
Mobile power Station:
The mobile power station is like a cheap richard solo battery. It’s small and light, but does not hold much of a charge. I have never gotten one of these to charge more than 1/3 of my iPhone. The device is cheap and would work in case of an emergency, but that’s about it. These little batteries can be found all over the web, however, with varying quality.
Like the Richard Solo, these can fit in the back of your dock. However, most will not pass through to the computer for sync (although some claim to, I have not owned one that actually did). You can get these for as cheap as $29.99.
Pros: Very small, very cheap
Cons: Very little battery power, no sync, not made well.