Wayne Thorp will speak at the 2015 AAII Investor Conference this fall; go to www.aaii.com/conference for more details.
External battery pack for iPhone 5.
Back in May, I reviewed the PowerSkin for iPhone 5, an integrated battery case for the iPhone 5. This is the external battery option I prefer—protective case with built-in battery. However, many purists don’t like the added thickness and weight these types of cases add to the slim iPhone. For this reason, PowerSkin has developed an external battery case for the iPhone 5 that isn’t a “permanent” fixture such as the PowerSkin—the PoP’n.
The first thing you’ll notice about the PoP’n is that its front is covered with 24 rubber suction cups, which keep it attached to the back of the iPhone. I was surprised by how secure the grip is, although the battery does easily slide side to side.
The PoP’n measures 5 inches by 2.2 inches by 0.41 inches and weighs roughly three ounces. When attached to an iPhone, the height of PoP’n doesn’t interfere with the rear-facing camera or flash of the phone. The PoP’n does weigh 5% more than the PowerSkin for iPhone 5, but is roughly 33% thinner. The slight addition in weight is worth it, however, due to the fact that the PoP’n has a 2,000 mAh capacity, versus 1,500 mAh for the PowerSkin for iPhone 5.
The PoP’n comes in either black or white high-gloss plastic, and the black model I reviewed blended perfectly with my black iPhone 5. One minor complaint is that the high-gloss finish on the back of the PoP’n collects fingerprints and grease very easily.
In order to connect the PoP’n battery to the iPhone, you are given a “flex tip connector,” a rubberized “U” with a micro-USB connector on one end that plugs into PoP’n and a Lightning connector on the other that plugs into the iPhone. These connectors are interchangeable, which means the PoP’n is compatible with other devices as well. Currently, there is also a micro-USB/A model for various Android phones and PowerSkin claims a micro-USB/B model for HTC devices and 30-pin model for earlier iOS devices will be released in the future. The width of the flex tip connector means the PoP’n won’t work with an existing iPhone case, with the possible exception of open-bottomed ones. If you already use a protective case for your iPhone, you may have to remove it in order to charge the phone, something that may become annoying over time. However, if you don’t use a case, PoP’n doesn’t obstruct the earphone jack or the speakers at the bottom of the iPhone.