iPhone Battery Comparison Review

Author: BigBoss  //  Category: General

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.

Rating: Excellent

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.

Rating: Good


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.

Rating: Poor.

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20 Responses to “iPhone Battery Comparison Review”

  1. Inazuma Says:

    BigBoss. The incase Powerslider does not come in 2G flavor. I even emailed them about it and they will not make 2G Power Slider.

    Just FYi so you can edit above.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    You published this 2 times.

  3. reznor9 Says:

    nice review… I have the kingston power pack… is an okay cheap solution… charges about 2/3 of the battery if left alone and cost me $30 at best buy. You cant sync to iTunes with this plugged in.

    I may purchase one of those incase power sliders. I have been on the fence about it.. I currently am using the incase slider on my 3G, and the powerslider seems to be made of the same soft touch material… and I really like that.

  4. johnny0 Says:

    I have the Richard Solo 1800 — I easily get a full recharge from it. In fact, I typically plug it in when I hit 10-20% power remaining and can get two recharges out of it. Could you be getting mixed up with the original Richard Solo battery?

  5. Craig S Erickson Says:

    You missed the Mophie Juice Pack, from Mophie. Much like the InCase, but it leaves the top somewhat unprotected and near the bottom, there are two green open areas.

  6. Mason Says:

    You missed the absolute best bang for the the buck: iPower!

    Only $28 at dealextreme with free shipping. I have one and it works exactly as described. It is supposed to be 2400mah, which I can’t verify, but it does more than double the life of my iphone 3G. Syncs easily and consistently, charges easily and consistently. It’s a bit clunky, but no more so than any of the others. I never even bother to remove it.

  7. BigBoss Says:

    I am not getting mixed up. I have been very careful and spent several weeks testing to present my review.

  8. BigBoss Says:

    I have ordered one to test out. Will amend the review when I receive it.

  9. Cretu Says:

    You forgot about the Mili power pack, its very close to the incase but has a better battery life and better design.

  10. BigBoss Says:

    Indeed. This looks more like the Fastmac than the InCase. It doesnt provide the same level of protection. It looks sleeker than the fastmac, but not as “cool” as the InCase and also seems like it has the dock issues that the incase has.

  11. Mason Says:

    I’m glad you will do this! I am very happy with the product.

    Note that in other parts of the web you may see reviews for the “Brando iPower.” Brando is just a reseller who marks up the product more than dealextreme.

    The only issues I’ve had with it:

    1) It does not seem to sync with knock-off iphone/ipod cables, only original Apple cables. But the knock off cables are still fine for charging.

    2) The little rubber footpads came off. Not a big deal since I removed them to tighten the little screws anyway.

    3) The little speaker is tinny, but so what! I didn’t buy it for the speaker and it’s louder than the built in one. None of the others even have a speaker.

    4) The “flash” is dim, but so what! I didn’t buy it for the flash and it is bright enough to help me see in a very dark room. Not useful at all as a flash.

    My wish would be if a manufacturer would put in an amplified antenna. I saw that crappy griffin case with an antenna built in, so I know it could be done right. If someone put in a 1-3db antenna, with a powered boost even, that would be fantastic. The batteries are big enough they could even put in a large telescoping antenna.

  12. johnny0 Says:

    Your results are different from mine.

    I ran the following test today — I completely discharged my iPhone battery until I got the lightning bolt / plug icon. I attached my Richard Solo 1800 and I got to a 100% charge in just under two hours. During the charge time I still used my iPhone for email (three accounts, 15 minute check) over 3G and a few calls. I then discharged my iPhone again and got up to 10% charge before the RS shut itself off.

    I’ve had mine for about four months and have never not seen a full charge. Other reviews show the same:

    http://daringfireball.net/2008/11/richard_solo_1800

    If you are only seeing a 75% charge you might want to return the unit for a replacement.

  13. JimmyC2956 Says:

    The mophie is similar to the incase, but has 1800 mAh instead of Incase’s 1330 mAh

  14. Anonymous Says:

    Lucky bastard. U get to test out all sorts of toys :)

    Is there any battery pack of any sort that is a pass through and allows the standard charging cable to charge both the battery and the phone simultaneously or one then the next automatically?

  15. Garet Says:

    FYI: The Incase Power Slider is on sale right now at bestbuy for $79.99. Just ordered one myself. Thanks Big Boss!

  16. Bernie B Says:

    I agree totally. I just got a Richard Solo 1800 and never did a full discharge of the iphone test until I read your review. So after draining the iPhone to the red lightning bolt, I charged my iPhone with the Richard Solo 1800 and after about 1 1/2-2 hours I was at a full recharge (with the red light flashing on my Richard Solo to recharge it). It is a great product, the only disappointment is I have to take my iPhone out of it’s silicone/rubber like case to charge it with the RS 1800. The flashlight is decent but I find yours (BigBoss) even brighter! (LOL). Bossman, how do i toggle my email accounts in SB Settings? There used to be a toggle switch in Bossprefs but nothing in SBSettings. Please help.

    Thanks BB, you’re the man!

  17. killerboychile Says:

    Hi dude, about energy support, check “powermonkey”
    Is great and can give to my Iphone 3g 2,5 times full charge…..

  18. qnc Says:

    Thanks, great review.

  19. 100%FreeIphone Says:

    really nice post.

  20. DavidH Says:

    BIG BOSS! This post, in part, started my search for a portable means to recharge the iPhone while on the run. After reading many reviews of many devices, I decided on a just mobile gum pro (http://www.just-mobileonline.com/products_chargerseries_9.html). It received good reviews by iLounge and others. It has worked well for over a year on my iPhones (3G and 3GS), and on other devices that recharge via USB. It deliveres 5VDC 1000mA. I would highly recommend it, except…

    I was recharging my 3GS last night while wrapping presents, and clicked the headphone controller to start listening to something on iPod, and … nothing. I fished out the 3GS, and it was dead. It showed the empty battery with a sliver of red on the bottom, and it had entered its shut down or sleep mode. I hooked it up to an Apple “plug in” recharger all night, and it did not recharge. I went on irc iPhone chat (irc%3A%2F%2Firc.osx86.hu%2Fiphone), and a couple of OPs were very critical of my having used an external battery, like I was a retard. So, I must admit I am mystified, and am wondering whether I should limit all recharging to Apple approved products.

    On a separate subject, the 3GS won’t charge or get out of sleep mode, except for DFU mode, which is the only time iTunes will notice the 3GS. However, an attempt to restore fails with an alert message using the code 3014. Right now, my only option is to head to the Genius Bar and hope they don’t somehow discover that the 3GS is jailbroken. With luck, I’ll walk out with a new or factory restored 3GS. But, if you have any ideas …

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