Damn you, Indecision!

Monoprice external iPhone battery

(photo courtesy of Monoprice.com)

Sometime near the end of November, Josh Bancroft (@jabancroft on
Twitter) extolled the virtues of an external battery pack for the
iPhone from Monoprice.com. Since it was so cheap at $15, I decided to
pick up three of them — one for the hubby for Xmas, one as another
gift for my brother, and one for me. I haven’t had too many occasions
to use it since Christmas because I normally have my iPhone in a
Mophie air juice pack (or juice pack air…I always forget the order
of the words in the name. *sheepish grin*).

The Mophie battery case is a lot more convenient since it’s not a
separate attachment, however it does add a noticeable thickness to the
iPhone despite being the thinnest case of this kind. Whenever I take
my iPhone out of the Mophie case, like right now, I’m amazed at how
thin my phone is. 🙂

Anyway, I would like to use the Monoprice battery more because I’d
like to migrate back to my Griffin Clarifi case (if I can locate the
damn thing) so I can more easily take close-up shots, since the 3G
doesn’t have a macro mode ( 😦 ). I have reservations about using the
Monoprice battery for the following reasons:

1. It is so bulky. I hadn’t noticed that there was a product shot on
Monoprice of the battery that shows how large it is in comparison with
the iPhone (same width, but about half the length, and about 1.5x the
thickness). If I had seen this, it would’ve given me pause, but I
probably would’ve bought the batteries anyway because of the great
price. I originally was under the impression that the battery would be
small enough to leave on the phone while using it, so I was surprised
when I saw the batteries in person. You can definitely still use the
phone with the battery attached, but it’s unwieldy and I worry about
damaging the dock port if the battery gets knocked around while on the
phone.

2. While the overall capacity of the Monoprice battery trumps that of
the Mophie, the Mophie is able to recharge the iPhone a lot faster,
according to my unscientific observations. I often run my battery down
really low before switching on the Mophie battery. And since it’s easy
to use the phone with the Mophie, I don’t mind switching it on as late
as possible to try to conserve the Mophie and make the phone last
longer through the day. Since the Monoprice battery is awkward to keep
on the iPhone, having to wait for the iPhone to be charged enough so I
can remove the Monoprice battery is less convenient.

3. The charging lights on the front of the Monoprice battery are
bright and annoying. The charging lights on the Mophie case are on the
back, so I can use the iPhone without being unpleasantly distracted by
bright, blinking, blue lights. To see the Mophie’s remaining charge
level, I press a button that lights up a portion of four LEDs, similar
to the battery charge indicators on a MacBook. I guess I’ll have to
cover the Monoprice’s lights up with some gaffer’s tape or something.

In general I’m glad to have another backup battery for my iPhone,
especially one that is so affordable. I just wish it were more
convenient to charge the phone with the Monoprice battery while I’m
using the phone.

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