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We’ve all been there: You’re away from home, your iPhone is dead, and you really need to call someone. Or maybe you just hopped on the bus, and the only empty seat is next to that lady who talks to everyone—and your iPod just ran out of juice. Kensington’s battery packs can come to your rescue, recharging a dead iPhone or iPod without the need for a really, really long extension cord.
The larger version comes with an AC adapter and a USB cable, so it can be charged from a wall outlet or from a powered USB port. An array of five blue LEDs progressively lights up to indicate that the battery is charging, and a test button lights the array to indicate the charge percentage. Connecting it to an iPhone was cumbersome in a tight space, however, because the connector cable is more than 3 feet long. Fully charged, the larger battery pack will keep the tunes flowing for up to 100 hours—or ten hours of iPhone talk time.
The Mini holds about a third of the charge of the larger version and comes with a retractable USB cable for charging. It’s missing a test button for gauging remaining power when it’s not connected to your iPod and doesn’t include an AC adapter. Limitations aside, the Mini battery pack fits elegantly onto the end of an iPod or iPhone, eliminating the need for a separate, unwieldy cable. Ultimately, this made the Mini a much more pleasant traveling companion than its larger sibling.
Both units charged our iPods and iPhone as we expected. The larger battery pack weighs in at just under 4 ounces, and the Mini version tips the scales at 1.6 ounces, making either convenient for your carry-on bag or backpack.The Mini charger is more convenient to use, but the larger one packs more punch for long hauls.