We've said it before and we'll say it again: a dead battery can be the bane of any smart phone user's existence. While there are a multitude of options available for extending your iPhone's runtime, Tekkeon steps up to the plate with its myPower for iPhone--a stylish sleeve that seeks to double your battery life while adding an extra layer of protection. Its relatively high price of $79.95 and bulky design may be a turnoff to some, but the myPower for iPhone keeps its promises, with a few extra features to boot.
Design and Functionality
The MP1200 is made of black, two-tone synthetic leather (another identically-priced real leather model, the MP1250, is available exclusively through Apple's Web site). Upon slipping our dead iPhone 3G into the sleeve (and connecting the MP1200's charging port to the phone in the process), the first thing we noticed was how bulky our phone had become; the 4.9 x 2.6 x 0.8-inch sleeve literally doubles the iPhone's thickness, making it difficult to fit into our pocket.
The increased weight was noticeable as well; our 4.8-ounce iPhone 3G tipped the scales at 7.5 ounces with the MP1200. Granted, all portable battery packs for the iPhone are going to add some heft, but this increased bulk definitely detracts from the smart phone's sexiness, and may be a dealbreaker for those looking to show off their iPhone's sleek design. On the plus side, we had no problem accessing all of our phone's external buttons.
The MP1200 also comes with a USB cable for charging the device and syncing your iPhone with your laptop, along with a myGuard screen protector for saving the display from scratches. This accessory is compatible with all iPhone models, and can also be used to charge your iPod classic (80GB and 120GB), iPod touch (2G), and iPod video (30GB).
Not only will the MP1200 provide you with extra juice while you're on the go, but you can sync your iPhone with your computer while it's still connected to the sleeve; just plug one end of the included USB cable into your computer, and the other into the MP1200's mini-USB port (located on the lower right side). When connected as such, your iPhone and the MP1200 will charge simultaneously. We just wish it were easier to tell when the MP1200 was fully charged; there is a battery indicator light on the lower left side that changes three colors: green indicates a 65 to 100 percent charge; orange, 30 to 65 percent; red, 1 to 30 percent. This indicator is hard to make out in broad daylight (or office light, for that matter), and those ranges are far from definitive.
When unplugged, the MP1200 will drain its own battery before defaulting to the iPhone's. This means that once you notice the MP1200 is dead, you can remove the sleeve to minimize bulk (though at the expense of the MP1200's added protection).
Tekkeon says it takes three hours to charge the MP1200 by itself, and our unit reached what we estimated to be a full charge in 2 hours and 43 minutes (we waited for the indicator light to turn and stay green for more than 45 minutes). It then brought our completely-dead iPhone 3G back to life in an excruciating 16 minutes. Other chargers we've reviewed recently, such as the RichardSolo 1800 for iPhone and FastMac TruePower iV, took only a minute to complete the same task. Once our iPhone was revived, it took 2 hours and 53 minutes for it to reach a full charge. Compared to other chargers we've reviewed lately, this is a snail's pace; the FastMac TruePower iV, for example, took only 1 hour and 50 minutes.
For the iPhone 3G, Tekkeon rates the MP1200 to provide an extra 5 hours of talk time or Web use, 7 hours of video playback, and 24 hours of audio playback--in short, doubling the rated battery life of the iPhone 3G itself. It came as no surprise, then, that the the fully-charged MP1200 was completely drained after replenishing our dead iPhone to a full charge.
To further test Tekkeon's claims, we plugged our fully-charged iPhone 3G into the fully-charged MP1200 and looped the movie <i>Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist</i> at 75-percent volume. It took 7 hours and 12 minutes for the MP1200's battery to drain, which is slightly better than expected.
While its $79.95 price is nothing to sneeze at for an iPhone charger/extended battery, there's a lot to like about the Tekkeon myPower for iPhone. Not only does it fulfill its promise of doubling the iPhone's battery life, but the fact that you can sync your iPhone while it is still attached to the MP1200 is convenient, and minimizes the cords you have to worry about carrying around on trips. While the increased bulk might not be for everyone, and it takes longer to revive and juice up your iPhone than other options, the MP1200 is a good choice.