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Aigo aiPower review: Aigo aiPower

The aiPower is built well and works as advertised, but its awkward design means you'll likely detach the unit as soon as your iPhone battery is replenished.

Joseph Hanlon Special to CNET News
Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies.
Joseph Hanlon
3 min read

The aiPower isn't the first iPhone battery/rechargeable battery we've heard of, but in Australia it's the first we've managed to get our hands on. We've been chasing a Mophie battery for a while, but as these aren't widely available in retail stores down under it's hard to track one down to review. The aiPower is available, however, stocked by various Harvey Norman stores around the country.


Aigo aiPower

The Good

Recharges battery as expected. LED display shows power remaining. Solid build and sturdy connection. iPhone can sync with iTunes while recharging.

The Bad

No wall charger included. Awkward design. Won't protect your precious iPhone.

The Bottom Line

The aiPower is built well and works as advertised, but its awkward design means you'll likely detach the unit as soon as your iPhone battery is replenished.

In our eyes there is really only two parts to this review: does it work and do we want to cover our sexy iPhone with it? The first part is mostly simple to assess. The aiPower features a 1200mAh battery which, according to information provided by Aigo, will double the talk-time of the battery or add an additional 20 hours of music or six hours of video playback.

The battery/cover ships with only a single mini USB cable, and while this is fine for most people, we'd like to have seen a wall charger included as well for those times when you're away from a computer, staying in a motel or at grandma's place. USB charging works well, and our computer recognises the iPhone in iTunes, allowing us to backup and sync while both the iPhone and battery pack recharge.

The design of the aiPower is its downfall, in our opinion. Made from stiff, glossy black plastic, the aiPower seems well constructed. The build feels solid and the connection seems secure — we tipped the phone upside down and gave it all a good shake without seeing the handset even jiggle. But, as you can see from the images, the battery cover doesn't cover the iPhone as much as it extends its original shape, making the overall footprint longer and considerably thicker. With the aiPower attached the iPhone becomes 125mm long and 18mm thick when compared to its original dimensions of 115mm and 12mm.

In designing a unit like the aiPower two factors have to be considered, how not to cover the external buttons and the camera. Competing products surround the iPhone leaving gaps to access the camera, the volume and the home keys. The aiPower doesn't surround the phone and these external components of the phone remain uncovered, but as such it doesn't appear to be protective, it's more like a monkey on your iPhone's back, hanging on for dear life. It has two asymmetrical finger grips — the right side is higher than the left — and we like this, but overall the design breaks up the sleek curves of the iPhone. After using the aiPower for a few days we reverted to using it only as a charging dock and not as an accessory we'd choose to keep connected to the iPhone after we walked away from our computer.


The aiPower works as advertised, providing a decent extension to the iPhone's otherwise single-day battery life. The connection to the phone feels solid and it provides pass-through charging, allowing you to charge both the phone and battery simultaneously, while also connecting the unit to iTunes to facilitate backups and syncing. However, the design of the unit means the iPhone sits on top of the battery, rather than being surrounded by it and adding a protective layer of some sort. Attaching the unit to your iPhone makes the handset heavier and a lot more slippery, so while its functionality is good, we wouldn't use the aiPower with our iPhone on a day-to-day basis.