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Energizer AP1500 powers, recharges iPhones on the run

Battery power: there's never enough. Energizer's pricey but pretty new power pack gives you twice as much runtime. It's great for long trips, emergencies, and the like.

The Energi To Go AP1500 double as an iPhone case. Sort of.

Planning a long trip? iPhone battery not lasting as long as it used to? Want backup power for emergencies? Whatever the situation, you need a battery pack.

Energizer's Energi To Go AP1500, which I tested on a recent trip, promises to double your iPhone battery life. I have a few minor quibbles with it, but I'll never again leave home without it.

Slimmer and sleeker than Energizer's original Energi To Go for iPhone and more case-like than products like the iPWE SuperPack, the AP1500 cradles your iPhone on the bottom and backside, with textured grippers on either side to keep the iPhone secure and, ostensibly, keep the whole kaboodle from slipping out of your hand.

However, the grippers aren't rubberized: they're the same smooth, fingerprint-attracting plastic as the rest of the AP1500, and therefore still a bit slippery. And unlike the similarly priced Mophie's Juick Pack Air, it doesn't provide total protection by enclosing the top.

Stocked with a 1,200mAh battery (like the Mophie), the AP1500 charges via a standard mini-USB port. it's admirably lightweight at just 3.9 ounces, and it has a cool blue gauge that, with the push of a button, shows the charge status of the pack itself. However, as with the Mophie, the LEDs weren't always accurate--I found that the pack had power even when the gauge showed empty.

On the other hand, I used the AP1500 to fully recharge my nearly depleted iPhone 3G, after which it still showed about 25 percemt of its own power remaining. As a supplemental power supply, it should indeed fulfill Energizer's claim of doubling overall battery life.

That fact alone makes this a worthwhile product for power-hungry iPhone owners. However, the $80 price tag, while competitive, strikes me as high. Hopefully, when it's available for sale from Amazon and other vendors later this month, you'll be able to find it for less.

On the other hand, if you're shopping for a battery pack solely because your iPhone battery is old and no longer holding much of a charge, consider replacing the battery yourself--which you can do for as little as $6.