Sometimes just having the default sync cable is not enough. If you use an iPhone 3G, that sucker's battery dies very fast and waiting till you get home/work to charge it just doesn't cut it in certain situations. So, I have been on a quest, a quest to find a great car charger that can double as a general charging/syncing cable. Well, I think I have found it, the Griffin PowerDuo [available now in iMore Store!

Read on for the full review!

Design

The Griffin PowerDuo is comprised of three parts: the power block, USB cable and cigarette/12V accessory charger. Let's first look at the power block.

The power block is solid with retractable blades that fold flush into its body. Nothing quite beats the size of the new iPhone 3G's power block, but the blades on the PowerDuo are hidden within the body, preventing them from possibly bending or breaking, adding value.

The 12V cigarette/accessory charger works as advertised. You simply pop it in to the 12V port in your vehicle and it charges the iPhone. What is particularly great about this adapter is that it has a fuse that can be replaced should the charger go bad due to some sort of surge... very cool. 

Finally, the last peice of the puzzle, the USB cord. This cord is very versitle; it has the iPod 30-pin connector on one end and a standard USB male connector on the other. This allows you to use the cable in a few different combinations:

  • 30-pin connector-->USB-->computer
  • 30-pin connector-->USB-->power block
  • 30-pin connector-->USB-->12v adapter
This versatility makes this iPhone accessory indispensable in my opinion! No matter where you go, you can charge your iPhone.

Daily Use

My routine with the iPhone goes something like this: I get up in the AM and sync my iPhone and check for any app updates. During this time it charges in the dock. Often, this does not give me a full charge due to lack of charging throughout the day. Next, I hop in my car and as I drive to work I use the 12V accessory charger component. I drive about 45 minutes to work, and by the time I get to work, the iPhone is fully charged (I also make the most of my time and listen to awesome podcasts such as the Phone Different Podcast while it is charging).

Once I arrive at work I use the device during the day with 3G on (yeah, no accessible Wi-Fi for the Chadman at work I am afraid... something to do with security...). So, as needed I can then charge my iPhone two ways; either by plugging the iPhone into my HP laptop with the supplied USB cable, or plugging the USB cable into the power block and plug it into the wall.

After work, on the ride home, it is the reverse of my morning; I charge in the car as needed.

Pros

  • Power block blades fold flat for storage
  • Works with AC outlets from 100V to 240V
  • 12V car charger works in your vehicle's cigarette lighter or 12V accessory socket
  • Has replacable fuse to protect from surges (NICE!!!)
  • LEDs change color for charging status at a glance

Cons

  • The PowerBlock is large, could be smaller

Overall

 5 Star Rating

I can't recommend this combination enough. I very pleased with the quality and versatility of this accessory, and I can proudly say I use it every day.