FastMac has a whole slew of products for Mac and Apple electronics. From iPhones to MacBooks, their product range is truly epic. For the iPhone user looking to increase their time between charges, they have the TruePower iV extended battery and portable charger.
In simplest terms, the iV is a 3100mAh external battery that attaches to your iPhone in order to provide a ready source of juice when necessary. in contrast, the internal iPhone 3G battery is rated at 1150mAh so at least from the numbers it would appear as though the iV gas roughly 2.7 times the amount of juice. We shall see if the power lasts 2.7 times longer in a moment, but first let’s talk about the design of the iV.
The iV features all-black, rubberized plastic construction and includes some inherent abilities not seen with many other packs out there. First, in addition to the standard iPhone docking collar on the bottom of the iV, it also includes a standard USB port which allows you to charge USB devices from it. Also, the iV features a VERY bright LED designed to illuminate those photos, which most iPhone users know need a lot of light to properly expose. These are extremely useful features and are enough to add sufficient counter-balance to the iV’s biggest flaw: its large size.
Unlike some other models out there, the iV is big (the size needed to accommodate its high-capacity battery) and adds about an inch to the height of the iPhone and an inch to the depth. This makes it difficult to tote around and iV would be smart to figure out a way to add a belt-catch to the unit. The other design flaw in the iV is the method in which it attaches to your iPhone. With the iV, the iPhone slides into the top of it as if it were a cradle you would see on many portable speaker systems on the market. This means that the iV does not offer much in the way of protection and does not lock your iPhone into place the way a sliding case would. For me, being an extremely clumsy individual, I require a case which will protect my phone during its inevitable falls from my buttery fingers.
So if you can withstand the increased size of your iPhone and the fact it is not as protected as with other cases and battery packs, you will find that the iV pleasantly will increase your usage by about three times its normal amount. I can get about a day of use from my iPhone 3G with a moderate amount of talking. Of course, this amount decreases dramatically when using the iPhone for its 3G connection and gaming capabilities, but I digress. I slid my fully-charged iPhone 3G into the iV and began to go about my day. The beauty of this system is that once plugged into the iV (and with the iV being turned on) it allows the iPhone to siphon power not from its internal battery, but from the iV’s. When the iV finally runs out of juice, the iPhone will still have its full-charge left to go about its business. At the end of the work day, I cuddled up to my PC for some Brother’s in Arms: Hell’s Highway and checked the LED battery indicator on the iV. The cool-looking lights lit up in sequence from left to right, illuminating three of the four LEDs. So, I left everything as it was and went to bed. The next morning I got up and checked the indicator: two LEDs illuminated. Thus, I went about another work day with an average amount of phone usage.
At the end of this, the second, day the iV displayed only a single LED illuminated and I figured it was not long for this world. Apparently, sometime during the night the unit powered down and the iPhone 3G’s internal battery took over as when I awoke the next morning the iPhone 3G displayed nearly a full battery. After disconnecting the two devices I brought my phone to work for a third day in a row without charging it via USB cable or AC adapter. Finally, near the end of this third work day the iPhone battery was so low I knew it was soon to die at any moment.
After three continuous days of normal usage, without recharging, I am sufficiently sold on the iV’s iPhone battery life-extending capabilities and can recommend it hand’s down as a solid performer. It definitely has some work to be done in the way of its form factor but if you are looking for battery life first and form second, the iV is for you at $99.95 dollars for the iPhone 3G/iPod Touch designs and $79.95 for the original iPhone form-factor.