Power Grab

Given their fast processors, radio reception and transmission, high-definition screen display, and the audiovisual decoding that they deliver; it's quite a feat that iOS devices provide these services for hours on a single charge. howerver, even the iPad's longer battery life is not enough for some power users. Fortunately, independent developers offer some innovative solutions to this dilemma. This article reviews a few of the best.

Energizer AP1201 for iPhone 4

$69.95; www.energizerpowerpacks.com/us

ap1201Energizer's AP1201 is a durable silicon case that houses a 1500-mAh rechargeable battery capable of delivering an extra 5 hours of talk time and 200 hours of extra standby time to the iPhone. The case is slightly thicker than other iPhone 4 cases I looked at, and its extended base is heavier-the added bulk is an inconsequential tradeoff when compared to the added battery life it provides. Four status lights on the back of the case indicate the state of the AP1201's charge.

The iPhone 4 slips into the case and connects to the case's battery via a dock connector. To recharge the battery, you connect the case to the USB port of a desktop or laptop computer using an included USB cable. You cannot use the iPhone's power adapter with the AP1201. However, you can charge both the iPhone and the case's battery with this arrangement.

Energizer Inductive Charger

$89.99 charger, $34.99 sleeve; energizer.com/inductive

Energizer Inductive ChargerIn the lade 1800s, Nikola Tesla dreamed of deliering electrical power wirelessly and even built a prototype of the technology that lit up a bank of 200 light bulbs, 26 miles away. In the early 21st century, we're starting to see commercial applications of this idea. One is the Energizer Inductive Charger, which is able to recharge specially designed battery packs wirelessly. The system includes a charger pad that transmits the energy and a sleeve that slips over your iPhone. To charge your device, simply lay the iPhone/sleeve on the charger pad, and the pad's magnetic field does the rest.

The initial outlay of this convenience is on the pricey side, but the convenience it provides is very satisfying. The sleeve i tested was designed for the iPhone 3G/3GS, but a version for the iPhone 4 should be available by the time you read this.

Energizer Energi To Go XP18000

$179.99; energizerpowerpacks.com

EnergiToGoAs this product and the two previous ones demonstrate, Energizer is more than a Manufacturer of disposable batteries. The XP18000 is an 18,000-mAh external rechargeable battery that you can use to power or recharge your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and a wide variety of portable electronic devices. This product extends the use time between recharges dramatically. For example, iPad owners can get a whopping 15 to 17 extra hours of Web browsing and movie watching.

The versatile Energi To Go makes its debut at a time when iPad owners, already impressed by the long lasting charge, are seeking to extend their usage even further

IDAPT i4 Universal Desktop charger

$59.99; idaptweb.com

idapti4IDAPT i4 lets you power and recharge the iPhone, the iPod touch, and a variety of other small electronic devices. The small base fits easily on your desk and connects to any standard Edison plug outlet. It has three charging ports on the top surface that accept tip adapters for a variety of devices. In addition, it has a USB charging port on its left edge. IDAPT i4 ships with six tip adapters, including one for the iPhone/iPod. You can purchase additional tips for $9.99 each.

The IDAPT i4 helps to eliminate the clutter of separate chargers and cables. The developer offers tips for just about every mobile device out there. You can use it to charge your iPad by connecting it to the USB port, but a cable is involved and you have to lay the iPad next to it on the table. The next product is probably bettery for iPad users

Griffin Technology PowerDock Dual

$59.99; griffintechnology.com

powerdockdualtMany people own both an iPad and an iPhone or iPod touch. They end up playing musical chairs with power cables and crowding their desks with multiple charging cradles. Griffin Technology's Power Dock Dual eliminates the problem by providing you with an attractive stand that accommodates two devices; an iPad and an iPhone or iPod touch. the base also features a large, basin-like depression to hold your pocket change, car keys, receipts, and other loose items. Unfortunately, the clear plastic bracing supports are rather close together and don't leave enough room for devices in thick cases. the base is fairly stable, but you'll need to exercise a little caution when inserting or removing your devices. This is especially true for the iPad, which is held in portrait orientation and is a bit too heavy. Because of this, it's possible to accidentally tip the base over.

Minor criticisms aside, the PowerDock Dual is an efficient and attractive way to manager your device recharging needs.

Huge Capacity Solar Charger and Battery

$199.99; thinkgeek.com/gadgets/travelpower/e193

solarbatThis amazing solar charger/battery combo can store enough surrent to power or recharge multiple electronic devices-even laptop computers. It comes complete with a carrying bagthat accommodates the charger, cables and, the 15 laptop adapters and 14 mobile device adapters. The bag has enough room to carry the iPad as well.

The 20,000-mAh battery can be charged via the solar cell, a standard power outlet, or a cigarette lighter adapter. Accessing the power is easy; simply connect the mobile device with the battery using the charging cable.

This charger/battery combo is twice as thick as the iPad but roughly the same heigh and width. Its high-capacity battery delivers long-lasting performance, and the variety of adapters makes it a very versatile solution for those with multiple mobile electronic devices.

Kensington PowerBack Battery Case with Kickstand and Dock

$99.99; kensington.com

Kensington PowerBack CaseThe PowerBack is a giant sleeve with an embedded battery to power the iPad. Similar in concept to the Energizer AP1201, the PwerBack is recharged via a separate USB cable that ships with the device. The PowerBack's heavy construction features a kickstand that props up the iPad in three different positions. While the PowerBack qualifies as a case, it lacks a front cover and provides no protection for the iPad's display. However, it's an excellent solution if you like to watch movies or have to make long presentations or many short ones. PowerBack was designed specifically for the iPad and is one of the most well integrated solutions available.

Power when you need it

As iOS devices evolve and become more and more capable devices, we end up relying on them more and more. Because of this, we need to power them for longer periods of time. The solutions I've discussed in this article not only make it easier to recharge your device, they help extend the time between recharges. These are some of the most useful and cutting edge designs available today. While each has its strengths and weaknesses, all of them deliver what they promise-more power for your iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad!

A look at some top energy accessories for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad
March-April 2011
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