Review: Griffin PowerDuo for iPhone and iPod Touch

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.

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Chad Garrett

Software trainer, blogger and mobile technology enthusiast living in the suburban Midwest.

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Reader comments

Review: Griffin PowerDuo for iPhone and iPod Touch

7 Comments

I got two of these combinations, one for me and one for the wife. No problems thus far not to mention it adds an extra cable to leave at work or in the car without having to make sure you bring your cable home to sync or power your iPhone.

Does the car charger work with Blackberries? Or more to the point, does the USB port function as a USB port so that I can use it for different type of recharging? Like bluetooth headset too, for example?
I assume so, but I can seem to find good info on it.

Why would you buy this? The 3G comes with 2/3 options out of the box. All what is added is the car charger. And maybe the extra charger cable, which you can then leave at work or in the car...

dear namesake and fellow tipb viewers....
I agree entirely with you Daniel, its nonsense for almost $40. They sell this item in their shop, thats why its on their home page, and surprise surprise, it got 5 out of 5! haha
Where is Brian? he's been a bit lazy lately.

If you purchase just a USB cable and a power adapter through apple, you're already at $50. This comes with both of those, plus a car charger.
If you ask me that is well worth it. Go find a car charger thats compatible with the 3G for this cheap (and thats not from ebay).
I got mine for $29 shipped by the way. So it was even more worth it to buy all of these. At least for me.
Seeing that I only had one cable to charge my iphone, which I had to bring everywhere if I wanted to do it.
And if they didn't have it listed in their store, wouldnt you have asked why it wasnt in there..?

or why not get a an inverter for the car for like $30 that has a usb port and then all you're problems are solved just walk with the usb cable. plus you can use the inverter with laptop, any other wall charger etc..
just a thought