Though the iPhone 3G fixed a big flaw in the original iPhone by offering wireless broadband access, many reviewers and users, CNET included, have noticed that the 3G feature drains the handset's battery quickly. But considering that nothing is constant in the tech world, and everyone wants a piece of Apple's device, we weren't surprised to see a flurry of iPhone battery extenders.
The iPhoneck Backup Battery is one such product. Like the Smart Smart Backup Battery by Richard Solo, the iPhoneck delivers extra juice to your iPhone when it's about to go dark. But unlike Richard Solo's product, the iPhoneck battery is designed specifically for the iPhone 3G. It does exactly what it's supposed to do, though we wish its construction didn't feel quite so cheap. The iPhoneck battery comes in two models: a standard version for $29.99 and an extended version for $42.99.
The iPhoneck battery's design couldn't be simpler. Clad in black with a silver trim, the iPhoneck battery is designed to mimic the iPhone 3G's design. At one end you'll see Apple's standard 32-pin connecter, while the normal iPhone charger port sits on the other end. There's also a small status light in the upper-left corner. Unfortunately, we weren't in love with the iPhoneck battery's construction. The plastic shell feels rather cheap and the front face shows scratches easily.
The iPhoneck battery is designed to snap onto the end of the iPhone, effectively becoming an extension of the handset. At 2.4 inches by 0.48 inch, it's just as wide and just as trim as the iPhone 3G so it won't add extra girth on either side. It will add an extra 2.2 inches in length, but the battery is so light that we hardly noticed the difference when the two devices were connected. The fit between the iPhone 3G and the battery is relatively secure, though we'd prefer to see some kind of release switch.
To charge the iPhoneck, just plug your iPhone 3G cable into the battery's charger port. You should allow about an hour to power the battery fully (the status light will let you know when it's ready to go). In our tests, however, we noticed that the charging process took a bit less time. After the charging process is complete, connect the battery to the iPhone and let it do its work. It's very easy to use.
Though the standard battery won't charge a dead iPhone completely, it will deliver enough juice to keep you going for awhile. iPhoneck promises that its product will deliver up to three hours of talk time, up to three hours of video playback, up to five hours of music playback, and up to four hours of Internet browsing.