Emergency Power!

Whether you need a quick boost and you’re away from a computer, or you need an emergency long-lasting power store for a whole weekend – There are emergency batteries on the market to suit your needs.


Keep on reading see my full review on a couple of emergency battery packs from Mophie and Proporta, and see how they do against each other in the Battery Wars!

Emergency chargers are very handy – Especially at times like Summer, where you’re always out and about, barely catching any time to stand around a computer or AC outlet for long enough to get a decent charge. But what’s available?

Two different types, in fact! There’s the separate battery, which you can throw in your backpack and get it out when you need it. And there’s the battery case, which is constantly attached to your device so you can just flick a switch when you’re in need of some power.

I’ve scoured the market and found the “best” of each (according to Google, YouTube reviews and some opinions on Twitter) and now that I’ve tried and tested both, I’m writing up which is better to own and why.

Separate Battery

In this category, my battery of choice is from Proporta. It’s got the sci-fi style name of “USB TurboCharger 3400″ (the number suggests how much power it holds, 3400 mAh storage in this one – But there’s also a cheaper 1200 version.)

The iPhone 3G has a battery capacity of 1150 mAh, and the 3GS has 1219 mAh – Which means with the TurboCharger 3400, you can recharge your iPhone fully almost three times on one full charge. Which is incredibly handy if you’re camping or don’t like your iPhone from ever dropping below 90% battery.

Of course, with the maker of the product being Proporta, you can expect a lot more from this. Firstly, the styling of it. Look at the images of it below. The pitch-black colour and the dumbbell shape are nice on the eyes, and when you pick it up, it’s extremely light-weight and so won’t add any extra weight to your carry load.

There are only two ports on the whole device: an in and an out. The in is MicroUSB, and the out is a standard USB ports. You get a MicroUSB connector included with the pack (keep reading to find out what else you get) and so you don’t have to rush out and buy anything extra – Everything you need is in the box.

You also get this carry case (which you’ll need if you’re planning on carrying all the connectors I’m about to list…)

There are loads of connectors for it – Not just for Apple devices (All iPods, iPhones, etc). All of them are included inside the box (except the PSP one. You have to request that, but it’s free to ask for.) You also get connectors for:

  • DS Lite
  • Nokia phones
  • Sony Ericsson phones
  • Micro USB devices
  • Mini USB devices
  • PSP

And if your device isn’t on that list – The output of the TurboCharger is a standard USB 2.0 port – So if you’ve got the USB charger for your device – That works too! Just plug the cable into the “out” port and press the button on the top of the TC to start the recharge.

Plus to save on extra space, you get a retractable USB cable, to choose the length of your cables. Which means you could have the charger in your bag, and be playing on your iPhone in your hand.

And you’re always in the know. 5 bright blue LED lights can be called upon at a push of a button to let you know how much juice you’ve got left. 5 lights means you’re full, 1 light means you need to get to a charging point ASAP!

Site to buy for USA: http://www.proporta.com/F02/PPF02P05…662&t_mode=des
Site to buy for UK: http://www.proporta.com/F02/PPF02P05…662&t_mode=des

Battery Cases

At the other end of the scale, is the attached battery case. This offers extra juice at the flick of a switch, and also (supposedly) protection from bumps, knocks and scrapes. I doubt something like this could withstand a large fall though.

The Mophie Juice Pack Air is the newest model in the range of Mophie products. This one is for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS and is in White (you can also get Purple and Black). It’s very simple to connect. All you have to do is slide your iPhone into the 30-pin connector, slip the top piece on to provide “extra protection” and that’s it – You’re ready!

The JP Air is the slimmest in the range of models from Mophie, but provides the same amount of battery life as its predecessors. 1200 mAh is the maximum capacity of this – Which means you can only recharge your iPhone once when it’s fully depleted.

This doubling of battery life does offer a lot of extras though. Firstly, you won’t have to rummage through your bag all the time to take out the necessary leads, plug them in, and then let it charge like you would have to with the TurboCharger. The JP Air has a small switch on the bottom, which when flicked to green, gives the satisfying chirp from the iPhone, telling you it’s charging. It’s as simple as that. You have power when you need it, there and then.

From a fortnight of using it, I’ve never let my iPhone’s battery life run below 90% capacity, because I’ll always turn on my Juice Pack Air to top it off to 100%. The JP Air will last for 500 full cycles. That means that if you recharge it by 10% for 10 times – That’s only 1 cycle. So if you do what I’ve been doing, you can make it last for months on end.

Another benefit of the battery case, is that you never have to remove it – EVER. Mophie supply you with a MicroUSB to USB cable, which you can plug directly into the bottom of your case and it will charge the iPhone AND the battery pack at the same time. And also will connect the iPhone to iTunes if you need to Sync anything.

And you’ll always know how much power you have left in the pack, because of the 4 LED lights on the back of the case.

Site to buy for USA: http://www.mophie.com/juice-pack-air…a-ip3g-blk.htm
Site to buy for UK: http://www.mophieuk.com/index.php/ba…-and-3g-s.html

What if you can afford both?

That’s an interesting question. If you can afford the $80 for the Mophie and the $50 for the Proporta – You can use them together. This means that you’ll have FIVE charges for your iPhone if you go on the move – One inside the iPhone, One from the Juice Pack and Three from the TurboCharger.

Because the TurboCharger comes with a MicroUSB connector, you can use it to keep topping up the Juice Pack Air, which in turn will charge your iPhone. All three items working in perfect harmony with each other!

So which should I get?

If you plan on travelling a lot, and therefore need a lot of extra juice, then you’ll need to get the TurboCharger from Proporta. It’s $50 (£35!) to add three extra lives to your iPhone. The value for money is tremendous with all the extra connectors you get with it. It’s lightweight, looks sleek, can charge anything with a USB cable and you’ll always know how much charge you’ve got. The only downside with it is that you have to keep removing it from your bag and setting it up before you can use it, and if you have little time on your hands, it can be a hassle.

The Juice Pack Air only offers a third of what the TurboCharger offers, but it’s there to use instantly. All you need to do is flick the switch. I use it to keep my battery above the 90% marker, and I don’t think I could do this with the TurboCharger unless I constantly had it plugged in. However, the Juice Pack Air (although very thin) does add a lot of bulk to your device, both in sense of weight (heavy battery holding a heavy iPhone) and thickness (although it’s bare-able.) Also, it can get quite hot, because it is essentially a big battery attached to a case – And it can only charge the device you bought it for (whereas Proporta’s TurboCharger can charge a lot of things)

So overall, here are my scores for the two. After a month of testing (2 weeks for each) I have come to this verdict.

Proporta USB TurboCharger 3400 – Price: $50 (£35)

Mophie Juice Pack Air for iPhone 3G/3GS – Price $80 (£70)

Post a response / What do you think?