Everyone who owns a cell phone knows the frustration of having their battery die in the middle of the day without being anywhere near an outlet. It has happened to us all at least once. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to avoid that every once and awhile? You could carry a rescue battery with you at all times, but many of those are either bulky or just not practical. Bracketron put out a product for the iPhone that puts both concerns at ease. The Stone Battery offers an easy solution in a small package for those always concerned about their battery life. Is Bracketron’s battery worth carrying around in your pocket or bag everyday though?
To start with, it wouldn’t be very hard to actually carry the Stone Battery on your person every day. It is small, coming in at 81.20 x 54.95 x 29.40mm in its standard configuration. Weight is on the light side as well, with the battery only being 45.58 grams. Think of it as a keychain that’s a little on the thick side when it is in your pocket. One thing that I was rather impressed with when carrying it around myself was that it didn’t create a sense of bulk when sitting in my pocket. When attached to an iPhone 4S, the Stone Battery actually felt like a natural extension of the phone itself. The entire contraption still slid and fit into a pocket with ease. It was easy to grab the battery to pull out the phone as well. It even worked with every case I could toss onto my phone.
Construction of the Stone Battery appears to be top notch as well. Dropping it, tossing it around, and trying to jam something in the seams in order to open it up didn’t have much of an effect on it. Granted, there isn’t anything that could really go wrong other than dislodging a soldering connection, but it is nice to know that the construction will hold up to everyday use. The 30-pin cable is also rigid, though admittedly short at 5.13mm, in order to keep the unit as stable as possible in a compact form. The USB cable suffers from the same shortness of cable, 10.87mm, but has an interested bonus to keep it where it needs to be. On the bottom of the Stone Battery a small magnet is in the groove that sits right where USB plug nestles into. While it isn’t the strongest magnet, it doesn’t need to be, as it is just keeping the plug in its place. It’s a smart design feature to add that didn’t require a whole lot of planning.
Getting down to the functionality of the Stone Battery, Bracketron says that the battery will take three hours to charge. During testing to both USB charging and wall charged through a USB adapter, the median time to full charge was 2 hours and 48 minutes. Generally, manufacturers overstate the performance of an item, so it was nice to see that better results were replicated. However, they did claim that the battery would add up to 3.5 hours of use to a device. This is a rather blanketing claim to make, given time use on a phone is relative to the user. Then again, no one should take those sorts of claims to heart in the first place. In their FAQs on the Stone Battery, they also said that it should “restore 65-70% of the battery’s capacity.” I was only able to get up to 60% when starting with only 10% battery left on a 4S. Granted, they do say that the Stone Battery is compatible with the iPhone 4/4S, 3GS, Generation 6 iPod Nano, and Generation 4 iPod Touch, so they may be some averaging in that number.
Charging provided some differences from what was stated by the company as well. Supposedly you need to press the button on the battery to start charging the device after plugging it in. However, when attaching the Stone Battery to the 4S, it simply just started charging without a prompting. Bracketron mentions that you should sync the battery to the device through iTunes, but first, that begs the question, “why should I?” Second, how do you even accomplish that? You can also charge the battery and the phone at the same time by attaching them and then plugging in the USB to charge. It isn’t exactly the most efficient thing to do though as you are passing power straight through the battery to the phone, essentially lessening the life of the Stone Battery even quicker than you could be under normal operations. There is also a claim that the Stone Battery will hold a charge for a year after it goes into an auto shut-off mode. While that specific situation wasn’t able to be replicated during the testing time period, it can be confirmed that it will hold a charge for three months. Having a battery indicator LED really comes in handy for checking its status. One blink occurs for every 25% of capacity left.
A battery is a battery. Expecting much more from it is just plain silly. The Stone Battery does everything it should while offering a compact package for anyone that might need some extra juice on the go. The charging time isn’t unreasonable, nor is the power it will add back to your iDevice. As these external batteries hold more power, they also get larger. I’d like to think that defeats the purpose a little. An iPhone 4’s battery is about 1400mAh, so having this little guy pack 1000mAh can definitely make a difference in your day. If there was anything with which to knock the Stone Battery, it comes down to platform. It would have been nice if it had an attachment feature that offered something other than the Apple 30 pin, but it is hard to fault it for being an accessory only for a certain model of devices. At $21.99 (or less), you’d be hard pressed to find a more practical accessory than the Stone Battery.
Item provided by PR for review.