The Seidio Innocell External Battery Pack for iPhone 3G is the latest accessory to try an mitigate the lack of a user-changeable battery. Unlike cases that strap on to your iPhone, or dongles that plug in to the bottom, the Seidio Innocell, available for $39.95 from the iMore Store, tries to find a compromise between the capacity and convenience: a good bit of power in a form factor that's fairly small and unobtrusive.
How does it do? Find out after the break!
The Seidio Innocell External Battery Pack for iPhone 3G is no frills in terms of both price and accoutrements. What you get is a small, light bit of plastic with a dock plug that looks pretty much like the bottom third of the iPhone. It would be nice if it included a USB or AC adapter plug. However, since unlike some other solutions, the Seidio Innocell actually contains a dock input of its own, allowing for seamless charging with existing iPhone cables, it's an understandable cost saving message.
Even the device itself is bare-bones: it's got a light to show when it's charging (red), when it's charged (green), and when it's giving over that charge to your iPhone (blue). In a bonus bit of design good-thinking, the Seidio Innocell includes a built-in speaker channel to make sure sound isn't distorted if you want to use your iPhone while you're recharging it.
Simplicity, thy name is Seidio Innocell. Just plug the unit into the bottom of your iPhone and it begins to charge. That's it.
Because Seidio took pains to make the Innocell look cosmetically like the iPhone -- it's literally made like an extension of the device itself, faux chrome-trim included -- it's easier to use it with your iPhone on-the-go than something like the RichardSolo. The trade-off is lower capacity, of course, with the small, inexpensive Seidio Innocell providing just enough juice to recharge your iPhone 50%.
In my tests, however, the Seidio slightly over-performed. From less than a quarter left, the Seidio re-charged my iPhone to just below full. Since it's my understanding that the final 15% is the most charge-intensive, the performance was impressive.
It's light to the point of feeling a un-real (what you want in a carry-around), re-charges your iPhone 50% plus (what might not be enough for hard-core conference/event goers), and does a pretty good job of walking the middle ground between case and dongle.
The one complaint I have is the lack of a dock-lock. While the design and fit is excellent, if I have to use it on-the-go, I want the security of knowing it's not detaching unless I detach it.