Hey folks, Valkor here. In the past, I wasn't always a fan of an i-anything (iPod, iTouch, iPhone, iPad). But since last year, due to circumstances beyond my control, I had to give up my regular phone in favor of the iPhone 3GS - and I have to say I was quite happy with it. I'm not app happy like some folks out there; rather I prefer my phone to be more productive. Recently I've acquired an iPhone 4S for TOV testing purposes and it has become a great asset, opening new doors in terms of what we review around here. Because of its speed, maybe I'll jump into reviewing apps… maybe. But for now I'll settle with reviewing hardware and the first piece of iPhone hardware I get to review, without borrowing someone else's device comes from the gang over at Spyder who have themselves a pretty neat piece of tech that's a match made in heaven for you iPhone power users, though casual users will find it quite useful as well. Check it out - it's the PowerShadow i4 Battery Case for the iPhone 4 and 4S.
If you do a lot of talking, texting, tweeting, facebooking, sending/recieving email, maybe some gaming, instagram, and tons whatever you guys do with your iPhone, then you know that before the day is done, you're battery is all but drained; and sometimes that leads to scrambling for an outlet for a quick charge. What happens if you can't locate an outlet or if you forgot your plug entirely? That ends now. The PowerShadow i4 is a trifecta of protective case, battery, and a docking station, in one neifty little package. The case itself has a polycarbonate rubberized finish, which is very smooth to the touch. The case also has all the right openings to access the various ports and buttons of your phone. What separates' this case from others is the power button and indicator lights on the back, which leads us to…
…the battery, which is 2000 mAh Lithium Ion. Taken directly from the box, this allows your phone to have "8 hours of additional talk time (on 3G), allows you to watch up to 11 hours of video, and 44 hours of music". Now that's pretty bold. I have to point out that the battery in the case isn't really meant to be used in conjunction with your phone's actual battery, but to give it a boost when needed. Once you see you're running low on juice, just press the power button on the case and it'll charge you up, allowing you to continue doing what you were doing. And that brings us to. And when the case is low on power, then that brings us to…
…the charging station, which performs a multitude of functions. First it charges the case, which you'll want to do when you first receive the device. The case comes with the base and a micro USB cord, which will allow you to plug it up to your PC (or Mac), plus you can hook it up with a USB power outlet adapter for on the go purposes. When hooked to your computer, the phone, while attached to the base can also be used to sync with iTunes, while it's recharging. So if you ever need to change your playlist or perform a back up, then you can make it happen with the PowerShadow.
Now I'll admit, I'm not a power user and at the end of the day my 4S still has enough juice to get me home so that I can give it a proper overnight charging. So for the purpose of this review, I had to become one utilizing every productive/gaming app until the battery was near its end. I put the PowerBag aside to give you the 411 on the PowerShadow i4 in the TOV Breakdown.
Spyder's PowerShadow brings to the table, the ability to charge you're phone when you a) forget you're charger or b) when you can't locate an outlet for a charge. In short – it's awesome! I'm never really in short demand of an outlet, but should that ever be the case, I'm glad the PowerShadow is there when I need it most. The case itself is quite sturdy, able to handle simple drops. I give high marks for the dock as well, which has a nice drop and go function to it; however you might want to ensure your phone is placed in the dock properly by waiting for that glorious charging "bleep" before moving on to other things.
First up, the battery case adds extra weight and girth to your phone; it's very noticeable especially if you're like me and you hold your phone in your upper shirt pocket – or even your pants pocket for that matter. It wasn't too much a distraction and I find it to be a nice reassurance knowing I have my back up power when needed. I'm just making it a point for those who may not enjoy the extra weight and feel. Next is the dock. I have it placed on my desk, right next to my laptop. So when I'm working on the site, surfing, or gaming, any nudge I gave the desk would cause the phone to rock back and forth on the dock and I'll get the "bleep" charging sound over and over. I'm not saying you can't do the "drop and go", but doing so will cause the phone to not sit right, though it will still catch a charge. So you really have to make sure the phone is properly positioned on the dock by pressing on it firmly.
Just the Tip:
Make sure that the battery case is turned off before you place it on the dock or else it won't work. This is especially true when you try to sync you're phone with iTunes and you've forgotten that the case is on - it won't sync. To remedy this problem, you need only pick up the phone and return it to the dock. All should be well after that.
So to you my iPhone 4/4S brothers and sisters, no longer are you forced to seek an outlet whenever you're phone is low on power – now the power is in your hands with Spyder's PowerShadow i4 Battery Case. It's solid, sturdy, and easily one of the best charging alternatives out on the market. So out of TOV 5 stars, I'm giving the PowerShadow a 4.5 and it's been Valkor tested, TOV Approved!