By Louis Senecal on Sun, 03/28/2010
I recently got to test out the Richard Solo 1800 Battery pack (with cable) as well. I want to thank Richard|Solo for sending over the review unit for me to test out. I have heard a lot of good things about this product and now I had the opportunity to see if these good things were true. This product can be used with the iPhone, iPod Touch and other iPods with the 30 pin connector. I used this battery in conjunction with my iPod Touch, and while I did not have any trips to go on during my review period for the last three weeks, I only used this battery pack system local.
First off, let me tell you what comes in the package with the 1800 mah battery. There is a cable that connects your Apple Product to the battery, a car charger plug (with dual USB outlet), a wall plug, and a retractable cable that connects the battery pack to one of the charging plugs. These are packed in two smaller white boxes in the main box, along with the instruction sheet.
The size of the battery is pretty slim and light. I currently have a Speck Candyshell case on my Touch and the battery is about the same thickness as that. Width and height wise, it is smaller than the Touch. Let’s take a look at the battery itself now.
On the front of the battery there are two buttons. These buttons are for a built in flashlight and a built in laser pointer. There are also three LED lights that tell you what the current charging activity is.
1-Top light: This blue light tells you that you are charging your device
2-Middle light: This green light flashes when you are charging the battery pack alone. It turns solid to let you know the charge is complete.
3-Bottom Button: This red button starts flashing when you are charging your device and the battery packs gets low. The battery pack will auto shut down for protection before it goes to a complete discharge.
On the back of this product, there is an on/off switch. This switch only controls the power for the light and laser. The unit will still charge and recharge a device with the switch turned to the off position.
In between the LED lights near the buttons, is a female mini USB connector. This is where the retractable cable gets plugged in.
On the opposite end is a male mini USB connector. This is where the cable goes to connect to your device.
From the pictures below, you can see one of the places at my house where I charge my device. I have a place upstairs where there is a power outlet on the lower wall under it. The retractable cable worked perfect here when I was recharging the battery pack and the device together.
They seem to have put a lot of thought for this battery design as well as the accessories you get with it, such as the dual USB car charger. But how did it work? Did it live up to my expectations? These are the real questions.
I charged my device via the battery pack most of the time. There were a few times when I charged my device and the battery at the same time. Most often though, it was charging the battery itself and using that as my power source. This also came in handy when I was playing some games and needed the extra power so I could keep on going.
The FAQ’s in the instruction sheet says it will provide 1.5 times the charge of your device and it will take approx 90 plus minutes to charge it up. This seems to be pretty accurate based on my below recordings and findings.
When my iPod Touch got to 9% or 10% of remaining internal charge left, I hooked it up to the battery pack. It took 2 hours to get to a 95/96% charge. I removed the battery pack at that point because it seemed like that is where the charging slowed down or stopped. I was able to do this exactly twice on a full battery pack charge. Towards the end of the second charge, the red flashing indicator light did come on and did shut the battery pack off. (Note that this was with the iPod turned off for the two hours).
It definitely performed as Richard Solo had said. To me, it was like getting two full extra charges based on my general every day uses. For the times I brought it with me, it was no problem packing up the cables and battery, as they do not take up a lot of space.
What I also like about this product is that there is a lot of cable flexibility. You not only have the retractable cable to use depending on your power outlet locations, but the cable that connects to the device itself gives an added benefit. You can plug the headphones in still, as the jack is not blocked. You can also still use the device and not have to hold any battery packs at the same time while it’s charging. As stated before, I was using a Candyshell case with my Touch. The battery pack connector fit just fine on there.
This link here will bring you to the product page which also has a video demonstration as well. Check it out.
I can only directly compare this to one other battery pack I have used previously. I did own the Mophie Juicepack for a short time. I ended up selling that because the Mophie did not provide a full protective casing for my IPod when it was being used. With the Richard Solo, I can use almost any case I want and then hook up the extra juice as needed. There is also not any bulk, so the 1800 can be packed away easily for a trip, whether just for the day or more.
The price of the Richard Solo 1800 with cable is $69.99. This may seem high but think about what comes with the package and the fact that this will also power your iPhone, iPod Touch and most iPods with the same cable.
For my comparison purposes, The Mophie Juicepack for the iPod Touch is $79.95 and only powers that device. If you want it for the iPhone, depending on Mophies’ model, it will cost you between $79-$99. For a family such as mine who have multiple portable Apple devices, you can see where this Richard Solo 1800 with cable would come into play. This makes economic sense to me. After being able to spend time with this product for a few weeks now, I can definitely see why people have had such high remarks for it. If you are looking to purchase an external battery pack, consider to include the Richard Solo 1800 (with cable) as part of your potential purchases, when you are doing your research on what will fit your needs.