The more you use them, the less you need your laptop – that’s the marketing line for smartphones. As the bellwether smartphone, the iPhone leads the pack in usage and accessories. Third in our series of battery cases for iPhone is the myPower 1250 from Tekkeon. This battery case departs from the others reviewed thus far, not only with an upgrade to the material, but with coverage on the sides and front of the iPhone and a different take on the role of a battery case. Is it better? Let’s see how it stacks up…
There are two models of the myPower available: the MP1250, which is a genuine leather case, and the MP 1200, which is a synthetic leather. Both have the same internal electronics. I was sent the MP1250 to test.
The tech specs for the myPower are:
Talk time: 5 hours (3G), 10 hours (2G)
Internet use: 5 hours on 3G, 6 hours on WiFi
Video playback: 7 hours
Audio playback: 24 hours
This case has a fairly stiff backing, which contains the battery and extends up to the full height of the iPhone. The corners are cut off just enough to allow the camera lens to show (with the other side being cut the same for symmetry). The front is all leather, with white outside stitching, and covers the edges. A narrow strap connects the front to the back with a silver snap. Finished holes are left for the screen, the home button, the reciever, and the proximity sensor. (There are cases that block this hidden sensor, so that the screen mysteriously goes dark as soon as a call connects!)
The sides are made of the same soft leather, with holes left for the volume rocker and ringer silencer. On the lower right, a mini-USB port allows connection to the included cable for charging and syncing. Subtle LEDs on the lower left show battery level and charging condition.
The black leather and white over-stiching around the face of the case adds a good bit of warmth and softness to the high-tech elegance of the bare iPhone. While this is welcome to some, when tapping on the extreme edges of the screen, it caused problems, due to the thickness of the leather. It was not a constant issue, but was noted several times while testing this device. In use, the case is very light, and feels sturdy and tight. Time will tell if it loosens, but it was showing no signs of wear after being in use for a few weeks.
A screen protector is included with the case, and although I have never used these in the past, I have recently been carrying my iPhone in my pants pocket and wanted to add the protection from keys, change, and the like. I put on the film with no issues, and after a few hours, never thought about it being on there. It is a glossy film, with no anti-glare filtering.
The included charging cable allows the battery to be charged and the iPhone to sync, as expected. Charge time was not quick, about the same as use time. There are three LEDs to indicate the charge remaining. When charging, only the red and green are used.
Tekkon’s three-level LEDs give the following signals as power is used:
Green (65%-100% of charge remaining)
Orange (30%-65% of charge remaining)
Red (1%-30% of charge remaining)
The battery specs are lower than the others we’ve looked at (1500 mA rather than 1800 and 2300), but this is the same as the iPhone’s internal battery, so it will basically double your battery life. For most users, this will allow them to get through times away from a recharging station and continue to operate normally. Tekkon takes a little different tack on the meaning of an extended battery than our previous products in this category, however. Most devices of this type actually charge the battery when engaged. The myPower, in contrast, powers the iPhone directly, ignoring the battery unless the USB cable is attached. While this may net the same runtime as a similarly powered device that charges the battery, it changes my usage quite a lot. I tend to put the charger on only when I know I’m going to be away from power for a while. With chargers, that means my iPhone battery will be getting topped up. When I’m next at my computer, I can take off the battery case and leave the house with a fully charged iPhone, leaving the case/charger to recharge. Not so the myPower. If you put it on a semi-charged iPhone, it will not affect the internal battery at all. This was a rude awakening when I had planned on having the iPhone in a smaller case before leaving home and plugged it into the Tekkeon while it was half charged. For those who just want a double-strength battery, this may not be a big deal, but if you’re like me and use these only when your battery has started to be depleted, it’s an issue.
I give it three stars overall. The leather and workmanship are well done, but the few little things like the raised sides and not actually re-charging the iPhone dropped the score down a good bit.