Posted by: Bob Pfeiffer | June 30, 2009

Review of Richard Solo 1800 Backup Battery

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We all know that one of the main issues with the iPhone (and most other multifunctional 3G smartphones) is the fact that the battery life is not the greatest. I cannot go through a full day without recharging my iPhone. I am a heavy user and have everything turned on including Wi-Fi, 3G and Location Services as well as an hourly mail fetch. I know that you can turn stuff off to save battery life but really, what’s the use of having such a great phone if you can’t use all the features?

Most of the time it’s not an issue because I have a charger at my desk when I’m working and have one in the family room. Oh, and I’ve got a car charger as well. However, there are still times when it’s not convenient to use a charger and I wanted to have a good solution for those times when my wife and I fly to Phoenix. I like to use my iPhone a lot on a flight to watch movies, play games, etc. and by the time I get to our destination, the iPhone is sucking wind. So for Father’s day, I received a Richard Solo 1800 Backup Battery for the iPhone (and iPod).

I ordered it from www.bestdirect.ca for $48 CDN + $10 shipping. Basically, it’s a battery that you charge up using a USB charging cable and when plugged into the iPhone, charges the iPhone and gives you more than double the regular battery time. Here are some of the features from the website www.richardsolo.com :

  • Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and all other iPod devices except shuffle (Note: If your iPod touch or iPod nano has the earphone jack right next to the battery connector, you can not use the earphone jack while you are charging the iPod.) Works great with the 3G iPhone.
  • Gives you more than double the battery time
  • Small and lightweight for pocket, purse or briefcase
  • High-quality plastic case is light and durable
  • Snaps on to iPhone / iPod instantly — no bulky cable
  • Latching mechanism securely attaches to iPhone
  • Included support brace securely attaches to iPhone, providing additional stability while in the hand. Works perfectly with our RichardSolo Custom Case for iPhone 3G.
  • Ultra-bright LED white flashlight built-in, with on/off switch (flashlight lasts over 100 hours when battery is fully charged!)
  • Red laser pointer built-in, with on/off switch
  • Fits easily to any iPhone case (without support brace in use)
  • Environmentally sensitive packaging
  • Begins to charge your Apple device immediately
  • Complete kit includes USB retractable charging cable, dual USB port car charger, and USA AC adapter [110-240V] wall charger.
  • USB retractable cable connects Smart Backup Battery directly to computer’s USB port, car charger, or AC wall adapter for convenient charging
  • Charge the Smart Backup Battery and iPhone / iPod together [the iPhone / iPod will charge first and then the backup battery — the next morning both are completely charged]
  • Lithium-ion technology does not develop “memory” so you can charge often
  • Smart, automatic on/off charging technology protects the battery from overcharging
  • Advanced circuitry keeps battery cool to touch
  • Blue, green, red LEDs indicate charging status
  • One-year warranty from RichardSolo.com

I have been using this for a week now and can say that it works as advertised. The flashlight and laser pointer work by flipping the on/off button on the back of the battery and pressing one of the buttons. I guess it’s nice to have some added functionality to the unit but I don’t see myself using either of these very often. As for the battery itself, it is excellent. Once charged, you just snap it into the bottom of the iPhone and you can keep using the phone or just put it down and let it charge back up to full power. I was originally concerned that it would be a bulky unit that would make it difficult to keep using the iPhone while it was attached but in reality it’s very light and it audibly snaps into the charging port of the iPhone very securely and I felt comfortable browsing and playing games while it was attached.

The battery seems well built but it’s small and light so it would not be a problem to either carry it in my pocket or stash it into a backpack or other carry on. As stated above, it comes with a retractable USB cable, the wall charger and a 2 port USB car charger. Also included were 2 support braces (one is marked 2G and one is marked 3G but I can’t see any difference). The brace is used to more securely hold the battery to the bottom of the iPhone but so far I have not seen the need to use it.

Overall I think that this battery is a really good deal as it is 1800 mAh and charges the iPhone for more than 1 full charge, comes with a lot of accessories and can be had for a good price if you shop around. For me it’s an absolutely needed accessory.

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