Thursday, December 23, 2010
Posted by Doug Raeburn in "Apple iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad" @ 08:36 AM
The MyPower from Tekkeon is a battery case that is claimed to be the lightest such case for the iPhone 4. It has several unique features that distinguish it from its direct competitors, the most important of which is a replaceable battery. And it fits better in your pocket than other cases that I've tried. It's available for $74.95 at Amazon.com (affiliate link) in black, red or white. Additional Ultra Slim Battery Modules are available from Tekkeon for $24.95, regularly $39.95; Ultra Power Modules are $49.95.
Shortly after I got my first iPhone (a 3GS), I was given a Mophie Juice by a friend of mine. While I appreciated the functionality, I had been using a slip case which added very little bulk and weight, fitting nicely in my pocket. The additional bulk and weight with the Mophie made the 3GS feel heavier in my pocket than I liked, so I ended up not using it and going back to the slip case. I bought a 3GJuice instead (a module that plugs into the bottom of the iPhone) to handle low battery situations. I'd only use it when the iPhone was on my desk, since the phone plus the charger was a little bulky as well.
When I got my iPhone 4, I found that the battery life improvements were satisfactory, so I kept the 3GJuice for emergencies and didn't give anything like the Mophie a thought. Then the review team received information about a Mophie alternative from Tekkeon called the MyPower. It seemed more trim than the Mophie and offered some interesting features. So I decided to give it a try.
Figure 1: On the bottom of the MySpace unit, you see the Micro USB charge/sync connector, the charge indicator light and the On/Off switch.
The first thing I noticed was the size. The MyPower added no more bulk on the top and sides of the iPhone 4 than did the slip case that I had been using... the case adds .05 inches to each side and the top. Switches and connectors are housed in the bottom of the unit, so the length is increased by just under 1/2 inch. The battery itself is in the back of the unit, which adds just under 1/4 inch to the depth. As for weight, with the standard battery module (the Ultra Slim) the MyPower adds just under 2 ounces.
Figure 2: Compare the size and weight of MyPower to Mophie.
If you check out the dimensions in the above table, you can see that the standard MyPower (with the Ultra Slim battery module) adds less bulk and weight to the iPhone than does the Mophie Air. Now, this isn't a total apples to apples comparison, since the MyPower's Ultra Slim battery is rated at 1200 mAh vs. the Mophie's 1500 mAh. So to get the MyPower's more svelte dimensions, you're giving up 20% battery capacity.
Figure 3: The battery module is the component at the top of the picture.
But there's more to the battery story. The MyPower's battery is replaceable, so you can carry a spare. So ultimately, the MyPower can supply far more power for the iPhone 4 than can the Mophie Air, depending on how many spare MyPower batteries you wish to buy and carry. In addition, the MyPower's replaceable battery design makes it possible to offer a high capacity battery rated at 2200 mAh (the Ultra Power). Referring once again to the table, you can see that with that battery, the MyPower provides just shy of 50% greater battery capacity than the Mophie Air, with comparable weight and a mere .03" additional thickness. And you still can carry spare batteries if you prefer. Even with just the included Ultra Slim battery module, I can power my iPhone 4 through an entire work day of moderate use with the MyPower's battery with power to spare and not use the iPhone's battery at all.
The MyPower has an extensive list of useful features:
- Powers the iPhone, doesn't charge it. You can use the MyPower until it's drained and then the iPhone battery will take over. This is similar to the Mophie design.
- eSwap technology - This is their name for the replaceable battery feature. You can carry additional batteries and switch between the Ultra Slim and Ultra Power as desired.
- Serves as a protective hard shell case.
- Pass-thru Micro USB port syncs and charges iPhone.
- All iPhone controls are easily accessible.
- On/Off switch.
- Dual color charge capacity indicator shows remaining power at a glance.
- Advanced lithium polymer battery technology.
- Contoured edges and a silky slip-proof finish make the iPhone 4 more comfortable to hold.
So does the MyPower pass the Pocket Test? Yes it does! I've been carrying my iPhone 4 in the MyPower for about 2 weeks and it feels no different in my pocket than just the phone in its slip case. I haven't tried a Mophie Air for the iPhone 4, but as I stated earlier, the one for the iPhone 3GS made the phone feel very bulky in my pocket. Tekkeon makes the claim that the MyPhone is "the lightest battery case available for iPhone 4" and the specs bear that out. But it's also the most "pocketable" battery case for iPhone 4 and that's my #2 priority for such a product, right after the fact that the MyPower more than doubles the iPhone's battery life. As soon as I return the review unit, I'll be placing my order.
Doug Raeburn is a Data Architect specializing in data warehousing. He lives in Lannon, WI.
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