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Review: Seidio Innocell External Battery Pack for iPhone 3G

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!

What's in the Box

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.


How it Works

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.


Final Thoughts

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.

Pros

  • Simple and easy to use
  • Over-performed in my tests
  • Uses standard dock port to charge
  • Low price-point

Cons

  • May not provide enough charge for super-users
  • Should lock to dock connector

TiPb Rating

The iPhone blog 4 Star Review

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Review: Seidio Innocell External Battery Pack for iPhone 3G

6 Comments

Very nicely made product. At least it looks great! Nice form fitting design. Hope it works out well. Wonder if they will make an Innocase that will fit over the combined form?

Looks good. What about attaching with a case on? Does my phone need to be naked to work with this device? How long does it take to charge the iPhone and battery pack while they are connected to each other? Great review.

the mophie charger is way better. doubles ur battery life and fits like a slim cover. this thing looks like it'll snap off or something. the mophie charger is way more expensive tho. around a bill, but i say u always get what u pay for. check out vid reviews of the mophie charger on youtube. plenty of people out there love it.

I like the look of this battery pack, and the fact that it is light, however I believe that most people would want something that could double the life of your iPhone. Also, if I am not mistaken, there are battery attachments similiar to this one which are compatible not only with the iPhone 3G, but also with the 2G, the iPod, and the Touch.

We have tested this battery pack out in some drop tests to see if it compromises the screen or phone at all. We found that it severely compromised the dock connector and rendered some of the phones useless. As long as you don't drop your phone, it is asthetically good looking and will give you that extra boost on the go

I picked up an external battery called the Primo at Phonesuit. It works great as a backup when I'm running low on iPhone power. The price is low at $35. This is one of the smallest backups I've seen.Here is the link: iPhone Battery Pack.