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My iPhone is now approaching three years old, and as much as I love it and could never go back to life without the internet at my fingertips at all times, it is less than ideal in some respects. One of the biggest problems for me is the iPhone's battery life. I have an iPhone 3G and I spend a lot of time using it. It does seem to me that the iPhone can last forever when it's just on standby, but as soon as it's being actively used in an app or call, the battery levels drop quickly. Thoroughly disappointing!
After a little while of dealing with either a phone that dies towards the end of the day or carting my charger to work and back, I happened upon the Kensington Mini Battery charger while looking for solutions. I had seen other battery packs and was put off by their size (what's the point in having a spare battery charger the same size as the phone itself? Hardly convenient!), however I found this product to be far more satisfactory in that sense. I was also really pleased that this spare battery could be used on-the-go - there's no need to be near a wall socket or a PC to recharge my iPhone, so it gives a lot of freedom over just having a spare charger.
I purchased the spare battery for about £17 at the time, and I have to say that for a while I was really pleased with my buy. The spare battery worked great. There were some areas in which it could have been improved - for example, it's slower to charge than the iPhone (my iPhone can take a full charge in half an hour - the spare battery takes up to two hours), and it doesn't hold the equivalent of a full charge. It's only ever enough to 'top up' your iPhone power levels, it doesn't refill it completely. Despite this however, it served my purposes well as all I wanted was a way to improve the length of time my iPhone battery lasted during the day.
Despite my general satisfaction with the product, I must admit to thorough disappointment in the end. The spare battery stopped receiving a charge after a few months. It can be plugged in all night and still only show one bar of power. For £17 I would hope for better quality than this.
My biggest gripe with the ipod touch is its battery life which if I am watching videos and surfing the internet using wifi is nowhere near long enough for me when I am out of the house. For example I travel a lot to Spain and if I watch videos on the train to the airport, listen to music whilst waiting for my flight and then videos on the plane by the time I land my ipod has run out of juice.
I have mains charger and of course the usb cable for charging but a lot of the time it isn't practical or even an option to use them so when I seen an article about the Kensington mini battery pack in a magazine I decided to buy myself it.
The mini battery pack is such a handy little gadget that will allow you to charge up your ipod or iphone wherever you may be meaning that you will never again have to worry about draining the battery.
It is an external lithium-ion battery that you charge through a usb cable that comes supplied.
The idea is to basically make sure you carry the fully charged battery around with you wherever you go so you can just pull it out when your battery hits about 20%.
It's really easy to use as all you need to do is plug it into the ipod or iphones dock connector which is the bit that you normally plug in your apple data transfer cable.
Once you fit the battery it will immediately start to charge your ipod/iphone and the good this is that you can continue to use it whilst it is charging.
There are three little lights on the battery that let you know how much power it has left which is great if you forgot to charge it as then you can see roughly how much of a boost your going to be able to get.
According to Kensington you will be able to get 30 hours of music playback, 6 hours of video and 3 hours of talk time for the iphone from a fully charged battery. In reality it is a little different from these advertised times but it is still quite good. I find that the battery can charge my touch for approximately 4 hours of extra use so if you take that figure and guess what you will actually get from the iphone it still makes it a worthwhile purchase I think.
And as it is so small you won't notice you are carrying it around with you all the time so it is also extremely practical.
As you can see I think this is a great little product so you must be wondering why I am giving it such a low score? Well the reason for this is that for an ipod touch owner this charger is pretty much unusable. The reason being that the charger actually covers the headphone socket so that when I connect it I cannot use it so the whole reason of me getting it so I could use my touch whilst out and about becomes invalid.
I was furious when I realised that this was the case and couldn't understand why it was advertised as a charger for the ipod and iphone that you could use whilst still being able to listen to music and videos. Headphones are a pretty basic requirement of being able to use your ipod.
I still think it would be a great product if it weren't for this little fact and If you have an iphone where the headphone socket is located in a different place then this would be ideal.
I paid £25 for this battery which if I could use it I wouldn't think was a bad price for something so handy.
If I learnt anything from buying this it was that I should always make sure and do my research before parting with my cash.
Kensington (http://us.kensington.com/) are a very established company, who sell all sorts of products ranging from iPod accessories, computer RAM and keyboards.
Kensington already sell and manufacture a couple of batteries for the iPod and the iPhone. One of which is insanely large, and looks more like a laptop power adapter than a portable accessory. Defeats the whole point, doesn't it? You can see the full range of batteries over at http://us.kensington.com/html/16239.html.
The battery I'm going to be reviewing today however, is actually designed very well. It's small! According to the Kensington website, the battery is approximately 2.3" in length, 0.38" in height and 1.69" in width, which is about 5.5 centimetres' by 2.5 centimetres. It's also very light, weighing in at just 0.10lbs.
The package contains the 1000mAH battery, which is wrapped and concealed inside a black case. A retractable USB cable to charge the rechargeable battery is included too, which means you can either charge the battery through your computer, or an appropriate USB wall charger (sold separately). On the device itself, there is a small LED battery meter which displays the remaining power level, which is a 'nice' feature.
Kensington claim that their battery extends the battery usage of the iPod Nano (third generation) by up to thirty hours for music or six hours of video. I do not own a third generation iPod Nano, therefore I cannot comment on the performance. I do however own an iPhone; which Kensington claim adds 3 hours of talk-time to. Through my own experience, I have found that the battery performs well; providing me with around two and a half hours of extended battery time, which is just half-an-hour under the specified time.
Obviously, you can also use the Kensington battery for prolonging the enjoyment of listening to music or watching videos on your iPhone. The way you use the battery is completely up to you; which shows the products versatility.
The Kensington's Mini battery pack suggested retail price is approximately twenty-five pounds, which is about fifty dollars. I'm sure you could find a used, or brand new one on eBay for a fraction of that price however.
For me, I don't find twenty-five pounds an appropriate price for this device, but I know nothing much about the manufacturing which went into it. Would I recommend it? Of course. It's there when you need to make that extra call or want to finish that movie. The inclusion of a free one-year warranty is a plus too!
Kensington do a couple of batteries for the iPod and iPhone. One of them is very large, which I fail to see the point. Why carry a mobile device, then add something almost the same size.
However, this battery is quite small, about 5.5cm by 2.5cm. It is also very light, weighing just 0.10lbs. The package contains the 1000mAH battery, which is wrapped in a lovely black case to match your iPhone. You get a USB cable to charge the device. So charging is done via a computer or a suitable USB wall charger (I use my iPhone one).
Kensington claim this extends the battery of the iPod Nano (3rd gen) by up to 30 hours for music or 6 hours of video. I have no experience of this, but I have used it with my iPhone. Kensington claim an extended talk time of 3 hours. This is pretty accurate. I charged the battery pack for 4 hours, then ran my iPhone juice all the way down. I then used my iPhone for 2.5 hours on calls with this battery attached, before it ran out.
Of course, you can also use this to extend battery life on the iPhone for music and videos, but I don't see the point of this. I paid £25 on ebay for mine, for the sole purpose of keeping in my glove box of the car, so if I run out of battery and NEED to make that call, I can.
Whether you deem the £25 value for money depends on your needs. For me it is almost worth it, though I would like to see this at under the £15 mark, at this price they would sell a lot more.