Now that I upgraded my original iPhone to the 2.0 software, I am using it more and more with my hosted Exchange account keeping me in sync. Just like folks who are using the iPhone 3G more since it is faster and there are lots of third party applications available, I am using my iPhone more with the syncing and application testing. Thus, I am not able to get through a full day of using my device without somehow charging up the iPhone. I may be able to connect to a PC or Mac from time-to-time, but I am often out and about so I needed a mobile solution. I received a Richard Solo Smart Backup Battery a few months ago and used it once or twice. Now with my new battery challenges, this external battery solution has proved vital to my iPhone usage.
The original iPhone and iPhone 3G have integrated 1400 mAh Lithium Ion Polymer batteries, which is one of the highest capacity batteries I have seen on mobile phones. The problem is that the iPhone battery is not user replaceable so you can't just carry around a spare. I tried my very handy Proporta USB travel charger, but it doesn't seem to charge up my iPhone with the cable. The Richard Solo Smart Backup Battery solution works well and is as simply as it could get. You simply plug the iPhone/iPod connector into your iPhone and it starts charging up the iPhone. One of the best features is that the Smart Backup Battery charges via a standard miniUSB connector located on the end opposite of the iPhone connector. I have miniUSB cables everywhere so it is easy to charge up the battery at night or at work and have a fully charged Smart Backup Battery at all times.
The Smart Backup Battery is 1200 mAh in capacity and the company's info states it may give you up to double your current battery life. In my tests over the last couple of months I was able to get close to that on my 1st generation iPhone. The lithium ion polymer battery is house in a durable aluminum case that is lightweight and virtually scratch-proof. I have a small pocket in my gear bag that it fits into perfectly and with its light weight of 1.76 ounces I don't even know it is there. The battery is 1.77 x 2.83 x 0.49 inches in size and attaches to the bottom of your iPhone. The one thing you do need to watch for is that the battery extends down quite a ways below the iPhone and you have to either lay it on a table or in your bag to charge up your iPhone since the connector is the only thing holding the battery to the iPhone and it isn't secured well enough to whip your iPhone around with the battery attached.
There are three areas that light up for 100% battery status, charging up the Smart Backup Battery, and an indicator light that shows you are charging your iPhone. When you are charging up the battery or your iPhone, the lightning bolt light glows blue. The charger light glows orange/red when you are charging up the battery and then the 100% light glows green when it is fully charged. As I mentioned earlier, you simply charge it up with a miniUSB cable.
Since it uses a standard miniUSB connector on the battery you can actually now charge up your iPhone with any standard miniUSB cable if you are out and about and don't have an iPhone cable. You see both your iPhone and the battery will charge up at the same time. Actually, your iPhone will charge up first and then the Smart Backup Battery will charge up to full capacity.
The retail package include a USB retractable cable and an A/C adapter wall charger to charge up your battery. The Richard Solo Smart Backup Battery is available for US$49.95. It is compatible with both the original iPhone and the iPhone 3G, as well as iPods. The battery comes with an accessory standard 90-day warranty, but I have had it now for something like 5 months and it still works flawlessly just like the day it arrived.