Wi-Fi. Cellular. Games. The more you use your iPhone, the more you're going to run down the battery. As advanced as the iPhone gets inside, there are still practical limits for the capacity of its internal batteries, and sometimes what comes with it simply isn't enough. That's where a device like Tylt's (opens in new tab) PowerPlant, a portable battery pack, can really make a difference.
The PowerPlant contains lithium ion battery cells which hold a 5,200 mAh charge - enough to completely charge up your iPhone twice, or to completely charge two devices once, simultaneously. At 2.1 amps and 5 volts, the PowerPlant is technically able to charge up your iPad, too, though the capacity is much less than an iPad can hold.
The PowerPlant integrates a built-in USB connection to charge a device that has its own sync cable, along with either an integrated Lightning, 30-pin Dock Connector or micro USB cable connected on a flexible arm that bends away from the body. I tested the Lightning version.
The universal USB charging socket and the micro USB input socket are both ensconced at one end of the PowerPlant, hidden beneath a port cover made of the same flexible material as the Lightning charging cable. Expect to plug it in overnight to recharge the PowerPlant: It takes about six to seven hours to fully charge after being depleted.
Clad in glossy black plastic with matte lime green accents, the PowerPlant is handsome and even a bit eye catching. Four green power status LEDs are hidden on one end of the device; depress a recessed button and see how much charge your PowerPlant has at a glance. (You also press that button to turn on the PowerPlant once you've connected your device for recharging.)
When you charge up the PowerPlant using the equipped micro USB cable, the power status LEDs will flash as the device tops off. Tylt says the PowerPlant can take about 500 complete charge cycles before it begins to lose capacity. (So if you run it down to 50 percent one day, recharge it, and then use 50 percent the next day, that'd be one full charge cycle.)
The PowerPlant measures roughly three inches long and about an inch and a half wide and deep, making it about the size of 4 AA batteries taped together in a brick. The weight is about 5.4 ounces.
Tylt's stuff is well made and looks great. The small size of the PowerPlant makes it super to stick in a bag or backpack for juicing up my iPhone on the go, though its square dimensions make it a bit awkward for a jacket or pants pocket. I love the integrated Lightning flex cable. It's one less thing to lose in my bag, and one fewer cable I need to keep with me to make sure my phone's at peak power.
Let me know if you have any questions about the PowerPlant - I'll be happy to answer them in the comments.
- $69.95 - Buy now
I still like the Anker Astro E5 15000mAh External Battery (at less than €40) best:
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I have the 30-pin version of the PowerPlant for my 4S. Incredibly happy with it and it has saved my butt a few times. One time I successfully kept three iPhones and a S3 going for an entire day at NYC ComicCon. Its an easy bet that I'll buy the lightning version when I upgrade.
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Looks a little bulky though... I go for long runs as training hard at the moment, and my iphone always dies on me, this would be really handy! Will certainly have a look at it.
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