Let’s kick off the year with a gear review, but a slightly unusual one. I’ve been struggling a bit with extender/charging options for my iPhone. While I love the iPhone (mine’s a 3G), it’s battery life is not great, especially if you use the Internet or GPS. I’ve tried a number of battery extenders that use ordinary batteries, but they don’t seem to be powerful enough to recharge the iPhone.
I saw the TeckNet iEP387 7000mAh USB Battery Bank on Amazon for a modest £23 and thought I’d give it a go. It’s a neat little package, marginally bigger than an iPhone and weighs a very reasonable 177g. It has two USB outputs. The input is a micro USB for charging but no three pin plug is provided. This is not a problem for me, as I have a USB three pin plug for my Kindle. On the top plate there is a silver push button to initiate a charge. It also lights up the four blue LEDs which indicate the battery charge level.
The advantage of a device like this over a battery caddy is that I can not only charge my iPhone but my Kindle and my SatMap as well. It takes about 8 hours to fully charge the battery pack from flat. A full charge will re-charge the iPhone three or four times. Not only that, it re-charges it remarkably quickly. It’s a shame I can’t recharge my camera as well.
Overall, I think it’s a neat device. For a relatively modest cost it is a great way of ensuring that you won’t run out of juice for your electronics on multi-day trips.