Hands-on review: Enercell Portable Power Bank for iPod, iPhone

Radio Shack set up shop at Pepcom at CTIA Wireless 2011 this year, toting along several cell phone power packs from its Enercell line. Here's a hands-on review of the Enercell Portable Power Bank for the iPod and the iPhone.

Radio Shack set up shop at Pepcom at CTIA Wireless 2011 this year, toting along several cell phone power packs from its Enercell line. Here's a hands-on review of the Enercell Portable Power Bank for the iPod and the iPhone.

SET-UP

There isn't really much of a set-up process for a gadget accessory like this. The Enercell comes with a charge of about 75% straight out of the box, so all one has to do is plug in the iOS device and the green LED lights should shine. (If it's not charged up, just plug in the built-in USB cable to a computer or plug.)

And while this isn't entirely important, bonus points for the packaging design that simply clicks open. Everyone hates the plastic packaging around electronics that are so difficult to open and always seem to incur cuts on one's hands.

USE

The Enercell Portable Power Bank is a very compact gadget that provides just about double the amount of power that the iPhone or iPod already has. Radio Shack reps promised six to eight hours of extra juice from the 1,800 mAh battery, and that's basically what I got. So if you plug in your iOS device into the wall every night, then you'll only have to do it every other night if using the Enercell bank in its place.

One minor problem I had with the Portable Power Bank was that it does not latch onto the iPhone very well (and likely iPod, although I only used an iPhone 4 with this accessory). Yes, there is a 30-pin connector port, but it only stays attached when flat. I had to hold it together to make sure the battery is charging initially. I didn't have to hold the Enercell battery and the iPhone together the entire time, but any slight movement, and the iPhone stopped charging from the external battery.

Thus, this is better for charging overnight or when you can leave the iOS device alone for along time, but not while operating the device or on-the-go. So don't confuse the Portable Power Bank for a docking station, even though it looks quite similar at first glance to Kensington's PowerLift battery and dock.

AVAILABILITY

The Enercell Portable Power Bank is available now for $39.99.