mophie juice pack air iPhone 4 battery pack review

As a hardcore iPhone user, constantly texting, tweeting or streaming from my shiny device I’m a big fan of battery packs. Much as I miss the days of being able to run a phone for days on a single charge, the multifunctional magic of the iPhone (or any modern smartphone) makes it hard to go back. So I was keen to try out mophie’s new juice pack air.

Mophie-Juice-Pack-Air-

mophie’s juice pack air is on its ninth iteration, so they’ve had a lot of experience in beefing up power on iPhones. Whilst anyone can strap a massive battery onto the side of an iPhone, retaining a degree of protection and style takes practice and it’s something the mophie team have a fair degree of experience in.

Packing a 1500mAh rechargeable lithium polymer battery, the juice pack air snap delivers: up to an additional 6 hours on 3G, up to 12 hours on 2G, of talk time; up to an additional 36 hours of audio playback or; up to an additional 9 hours video playback.

But how about the case itself? The soft-touch rubber finish prevents slipping and the additional bulk, whilst evident isn’t distractingly large and remains pocket friendly. A clear highlight is the bottom cap snap design, which allows for easy access to the 30 pin connector – handy if you wanted to pop the iPhone into a dock of some description. Of course the case allows for pass-through USB charging and syncing so if you want to you can hook up with iTunes, although the coming iOS 5 update should allow for joyous wireless synching.

The open top supports a variety of headphone audio jack plug ins and easy access to power button, whilst cut out features provide convenient access to volume buttons and mute switch. The case design also acts as a virtual speaker box, redirecting sound from the bottom of the iPhone 4 to the front, resulting in a richer, fuller sound quality. Basically this juice pack air won’t be getting in between you and your iPhone.

The juice pack air snap is £59.95 from mophie.com or Apple.com

Case-mate Fuel-lite iPhone 4 case review

At the risk of repeating myself, the iPhone is fantastic but in many ways is a victim of its own success. The iPhone’s ubiquity distils much of it’s cool appeal and it’s rich and varied app landscape means it’s excellent phone battery life is quite poor mobile computing device battery life. Streaming podcasts in 3G via Instacast, whilst drawing in Brushes and periodically checking my inbox all take their toll on iPhones and many is the day when I’ve been “caught short” and needed to recharge mid-day at a wall socket.

Case-Mate-Fuel-Lite

Of course you many not always have a wall socket and the necessary cables to hand so the utility of battery backs such as case-mate’s fuel-lite iPhone 4 case speaks for itself. Whilst bulkier, more powerful battery packs are on the market, the case-mate fuel-lite is, pretty much as the name would suggest, a lightweight charging solution. Incredibly slim for a battery pack, the fuel-lite pads out your iPhone like a two week beach holiday, instead of the “I’ve let myself go” look of larger battery packs. From a protection point of view, the case covers the iPhone adequately and, whilst I wouldn’t hurl it against a wall, I wouldn’t freak out dropping it from a moderate height with the fuel-lite attached.

How does it perform as a battery? Well it’s only packing a 1020 mAh punch, so there’s a limit to what you can expect from it (of 1020 mAh). Other cases can charge your iPhone completely and then some, but they also double your iPhone in size and leave awkward looking bulges in your pocket. If you are a heavy iPhone user or can envisage going days without a charger then you should look into one of those. If however you find yourself running low at the end of the day and need a simple top-up then the fuel-lite may well be perfect. As previously stated, it’s very slender for a battery pack and the addition usage if gives you (up to four hours additional talk time) can be invaluable.

RRP £49.99 but yours for about £37 on Amazon (try haggling).

Casemate iPhone 4 case roundup

Casemate flew over to the UK with a big bag full of their latest and greatest iPhone cases to discuss over coffee. We see a lot of iPhone cases at Latest Gadget towers so it takes a fair amount to impress us – unique features, innovative design or something else eye-popping. Protecting our iPhone from knocks and bumps is no longer good enough.

CaseMate

Encompassing that sense of “fun” were the Monsta and Waddler cases in their Creature collection. The £19.99 Monsta case is a silicon case that covers and shields your iPhone from the elements, whilst providing a visually striking design that’s a bit more fun than the average case and makes good use of the iPhone 4’s camera. Equally if not more cute is the Waddler. Any case labelled with “conceptual penguin design” is ok by me and the little webbed feet keychain and bight colours made me automatically exclaim “awwww” when I saw it … much to my embarrassment.

Much more functional was the ID – a case with a built in slot for two credit card sized cards. I had the 3GS version of the ID and it was amazingly useful for when you wanted to travel light, night out or best-forgotten misadventures with skinny jeans that we promised never to mention again.

The most incredible case I saw however, was the Kayla Clutch, which was a testament to the degree to which phones in general (but smartphones in particular) have become a part of our lives. The Kayla Clutch is a hybrid iPhone case and fashionable tiny handbag that you can fix a little strap to. Apparently it incorporates two of the seasons top trends – colour block and clutches – but that sort of information is lost on a man who wanders through life in Scud the Disposable Assassin T-Shirts. Nevertheless I was impressed at the design and expect the to be quite popular when they are released in Autumn.

For more information on cases visit www.case-mate.eu.com

“Whatever it Takes” iPhone 4 case collection by Exspect

Like Oliver Twist, the iPhone 4 is a runaway success. And the third-party ecosystem surrounding it – from docks and battery packs, to cases is massive. Apple’s one phone a year release schedule gives the accessory ecosystem a chance to refresh and resell a whole new range of cases much to their delight (and my chagrin).

Whatever-it-takes

However, like opinions, everyone seems to have an iPhone 4 case and telling them apart is no easy task – they all do pretty much the same function of keeping your iPhone shielded (and clears up any lingering signal attenuation issues).

New in my inbox this week is the “Whatever it Takes” collection by Exspect? These cases are specially designed by celebrity artists including The Prodigy, Dizzee Rascal, FooFighters and David Bowie among others, who all donated their artwork. Each case raises funds for various charity organisations and is packed in environmentally friendly package. The cases themselves are form fitting, high-grade polycarbonate shells, which don’t bulk out your iPhone and manage to leave you feel pretty protected. And design-wise they are also pretty eye-catching – Dave Grohl and David Bowie’s designs both stood out for me.

Charity tech products are not new (the RED line is well established) but the “Whatever it Takes” approach is a little different. They gathered 660 leaders: royalty, Nobel Peace Prize laureates, business leaders, actors, musicians, artists, fashion designers, sportsmen and sportswomen and writers, all pledging to do ‘whatever it takes’ to address issues of the 21st Century. So as charities go it’s a pretty interesting one – working for poverty alleviation, the protection of children and environmental conservation.

Out now from Exspect and available to purchase on Amazon.co.uk

SGP Neo Hybrid Case EX iPhone 4 review

With the next iteration of the iPhone looming large in the minds of the tech world, one of the many unknowns is whether Apple will iteratively improve the iPhone under the hood and bring out the “iPhone 4S” or overhaul everything, including the form factor and bring out the “iPhone 5”. Some of the people most on tenderhooks? The legion of casemakers who provide a plethora of ways to keep your baby safe from harm (in case it sustains a Massive Attack).

SGO-Neo-Hybrid

The 3G/3GS case market was large, but in the wake of the double Gorilla Glass design of the iPhone 4 and antenna-gate (the scandal financial analysts were sure would sink Apple) the third-party case market exploded with an incredibly wide and varied assortment of cases – from designer cases such as the Ted Baker case, the Powermat wireless charging case, the MiLi battery back and the Agent 18 EcoCase – my personal case of choice.

Entering this melee is the Neo Hybrid Ex, which is composed of a dual UV coated hard Polycarbonate frame the forms like Voltron with a High Polymer coated soft premium Silicon case and a Steinheil Ultra Crystal Protector (for the front and back glass screens) to shield your iPhone 4 from external influences.

Unlike other cases, the hard exo-skeleton from the Polycarbonate frame feels pretty secure against accidental drops and the screen should be free from lint, dust and finger prints. The case provides easy access to all the ports – although I had a bit of bother with my headphones as they have a unconventionally curved 3.5 mm jack and the case was a little too think to accommodate them.

Caseaddict have the exclusive rights to the SPG iPhone 4 cases and have them on sale from caseaddict.com or Amazon.co.uk

The best gadgets you’ll actually buy (2010 edition)

We see a lot of electrics here at LG, and spend even more time reading about them. It makes us a bit shallow, really, going from gadget-to-gadget in a glut of unabated consumption.

So when something stays in our mind – or even more impressive, stays in our house, we like to give it some credit. Here are my favourite gadgets of 2010, three of which live in my house, two of which I bought myself and one that I gave as a gift.

iPhone-4-Round-Up

iPhone

The world’s greatest smartphone – and I’ve been sampling Android and Windows Phone 7 phones all year. It’s beautifully designed, while the screen’s high pixel density makes words appear printed.

There was a bit of an antenna PR disaster at first, but realistically, the only thing barring me from surfing the web on-the-go is Orange’s poor network. On Three, Vodafone or O2, however, it’s like holding the future in your hands.

For 2011, I genuinely hope that the Android-invasion finally usurps the smartphone crown.  Unfortunately, at the moment it’s just a bit too ugly, and not as user-friendly.

Kindle

Two months and two product samples later, the Kindle beat the Sony Reader. The lower price and always-on 3G – plus a unique design – made it my ideal eBook reader. The screen is phenomenal – the glare of an LCD monitor (or iPad) simply cannot compare.

Kindle-Roundup

Despite my admiration for the Kindle, every day I wish for the Sony Reader’s touchscreen and the better PDF support. If the Kindle didn’t exist, I’m certain the Sony Reader would have made this list.

OWL Wireless Electricity Monitor

It’s not glamorous, but it is indispensible. Putting a number – be it wattage, price, or tonnes of CO2 – on electricity consumption is a great way of visualising some laisse-faire electricity habits. It’s not for everyone, but it definitely proves the “don’t leave your TV on stand-by” message.

Kinect

I don’t own a Kinect – or even an Xbox. But that’s okay, because it hasn’t made the list for its gaming prowess. The Kinect has been hacked by so many people, doing so many cool things, that eventually 3D camera chat, Minority Report-style interfaces and camera-based product recognition should all be household staples.

Air2Air DraganFlyer X6

At £21,585, maybe this is out of everyone’s price-range (at least if they’re in a reasonable frame of mind). Peeping toms and News of the World reporters can rejoice, however, as it floats high into the air and carries a 12.1 megapixel camera – perfect for sleezing. There’s also an infra-red option for night-time reconnaissance. Nefarious uses aside, it’s pretty awesome.

Mili iPhone Power Pack 4 – Just in case

You’d be churlish to deny that smartphones are a wonder of the modern age. Whichever fruit or robot-based feudal camp you find yourself attached to, the fact that for a relatively low price, people can walk around with a tiny computer in their pockets is amazing.

MiLi-iPhone-4-Power-Pack

I love my iPhone 4 but the flexibility of the device (pipe down in the back you know exactly what I mean) and the rich Eco-system of apps means I am on it constantly – whether to play processor intensive games like Rage HD, to read books like the Bedwetter or to take HDR photos and HD video. The strain on my battery is intense. 2 years ago I had a Blackberry, the battery of which lasted for ages because I only used it for text and emails. The “do everything” nature of modern smartphones makes battery drain a real issue.

Of course, a user replaceable battery would be pretty handy in such circumstances but Apple’s form over function design team decided to go for a sealed case, creating a market for third party battery cases. The MiLi Power Pack 4 is a 3000 mAh battery case and stand and according to the dudes at MiLi the most powerful battery case on the market.

The case is a little bulky. And by a little I mean it practically doubles the girth and weight of your iPhone and makes it a bulky monster.  The added weight is a little distracting at first but you slowly get used to it. Plus you don’t actually need to have the battery pack strapped to your phone at all times – you can leave your iPhone “naked” and just pop the case on when the battery is low.

There’s something amazing about seeing the flashing red “iPhone battery low” warning sign, pressing a button and having the phone’s battery automagically refill. With the MiLi in tow you can get up to 675 hours on standby, 11.25 hours of 3G talk time, 22.5 hours of video play and 87.5 hours of audio play.

The lovely little ring pull kick stand is really cool for portrait and landscape viewing and pass through charging means you can charge the iPhone in the case and sync with iTunes etc at the same time, which is handy. Until Apple’s enables wireless syncing through iTunes (when oh when Steve!).

The Mili Power Park 4 is yours from £59.99 from Powerskin.co.uk

Camcorders in focus: HMX E10, HDC-SDX1H, Xacti CA100 and iPhone 4

Camcorders have long been a family favourite and manufacturers are constantly looking for new features to set themselves apart from the competition. We thought we’d look at a few recently released camcorders to see some of these new features.

Firstly, why buy a camcorder at all when you have a smartphone like the iPhone4, which can shoot HD video? The iPhone 4 shoots video in 720p and has a pretty amazing lens, making it a serious option for video, especially over a dedicated portable Flip device.

iPhone-4

If however you want to capture all your holiday shots in Full HD then Samsung’s HMX E10 has recently been unveiled, which will not only shoot in Full HD but also has a 270 degree swivelling lens, enabling you to put yourself in the picture. It also has a built-in USB port meaning you can attach it to a computer without a USB cable. The HMX-E10 will be available at $199.99 from September at selected retailers. There has been no UK price announced.

Camcorders are currently competing on zoom, so you can achieve close-up images like never before. Panasonic’s HDC-SDX1H offers 23x Intelligent Zoom and is Panasonic’s lightest HD camcorder, (some say lightest in the world), weighing in at 50lbs with the battery and optional SD Card. It is Skype-enabled so you can make calls using it as a webcam and microphone.

There is also strong trend towards making sports-friendly camcorders as manufacturers make them tougher or waterproof. We recently covered the Sanyo’s Xacti CA100, which allows underwater HD filming. You can also get rugged camcorders, which will not shatter or have so much as a dent if you drop them, which are great if you are like me, clumsy as hell.

Sanyo-Xacti-CA100

Camcorders are becoming more pocket-friendly and networking is becoming a common feature and all the cameras featured above allow for effortless uploading to Facebook and YouTube. Do any tempt you, or are there any exciting new cameras we’ve missed? Let us know!