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Discover New Music

  • Supernature

    • 10 out of 10
    • Goldfrapp
    • On their latest CD, Supernature, Goldfrapp has put together a successful mix of 1980-era New Romanticism, German cabaret, and T. Rex glam that leaves you riveted even through the album's lulls. It's a great amalgam that sounds current without sounding at all dated.

  • Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not

    • 8 out of 10
    • Arctic Monkeys
    • Get on your dancing shoes
      You sexy little swine


  • Abnormal Anonymous

    • 8 out of 10
    • Congo Norvell
    • Very few albums manage to capture snapshots of a quality of life in the manner that Congo Norvell's sophomore record, "Abnormals Anonymous," does.

      Comparisons to the Velvet Underground are

  • One Word Extinguisher

    • 8 out of 10
    • Prefuse 73
    • It's an album about a breakup, done with beats instead of mopey lyrics. But the beats are raw, and the emotions are there, even if there aren't many words on top of it. While possibly not Scott Herren
  • The Stooges

    • 8 out of 10
    • The Stooges
    • Another pillar of my musical foundations, The Stooges' first album is one those records whose influence far outweighed its popularity. Like The Velvet Underground & Nico, hordes of people wh

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In-Depth Review

RichardSolo Backup Battery for iPhone/iPod

Perhaps the worst thing about my iPhone 3G (if there is a worst thing about it) is the abysmal battery life. Given the way I use it -- with 3G turned on, Bluetooth turned on, Wi-Fi turned on, plus making and receiving calls all day long and often playing iPhone games or reading text between calls -- it's no surprise that even if my battery is fully-charged at dawn (which it usually is) is nearly depleted by mid-afternoon. I've got iPhone battery chargers everywhere -- on my desk, on my nightstand, and in my car, and I still run out of juice occasionally.

I'd been quite happy with both battery extenders I used with my first generation iPhone. Alas, the otherwise excellent Mophie Juice Pack (see my review here) was a really tight fit with my iPhone 3G and I was concerned I would break it (or my iPhone 3G). So I gave that one to my wife to use with her first generation iPhone. For what it's worth, Mophie announced a new Juice Pack for the iPhone 3G, but it won't be available until sometime next month. And my other battery extender, IOGEAR's GearJuice Mobile Pocket Power (see my review here), works fine with my iPhone 3G and isn't a problem when I carry a briefcase or backpack, it's bulk and multi-piece design (battery, special adapter, cable, AC adapter) make it inconvenient to carry in a pocket.

The best solution I've found so far to extend the time I can use my iPhone 3G when its battery is running down and there's no power source in the vicinity is the Backup Battery for iPhone/iPod from It's small enough to slip into any pocket and gives me at least two or three additional hours of iPhone 3G use -- more than enough to get to a real power source.

The Backup Battery comes with its own USB AC adapter/charger and a retractable USB cable and you can charge the battery and your iPhone at the same time using either the AC adapter or any USB port on your computer.

The charger is pretty smart, too. It charges the iPhone to 100% before it starts charging the Backup Battery. I charge my phone and the Backup Battery (with a single cable) every night and leave home each morning with both my iPhone and Backup Battery fully charged.

Speaking of which, charging a fully depleted Backup Battery takes 4 hours or less. Then, the Backup Battery will recharge my iPhone battery to at least 70 or 80 percent in around 60-90 minutes. If I don't have 60-90 minutes to spare, I just attach the Backup Battery and continue to use my iPhone with it attached for another two or three hours.

I have to admit that it's a little bit awkward using the iPhone with the battery hanging off its bottom. But, in my humble opinion, it's preferable to the alternative -- running out of juice. I only found one other (little) thing to complain about... I wish the LED indicator lights did a better job of indicating how much juice is left in the battery. Other than that the RichardSolo Backup Battery is pretty darn terrific and reasonably priced.

The RichardSolo Backup Battery is Apple-certified as both "Works with iPhone" and "Made for iPod," compatible with all models of iPhone and iPod except the iPod shuffle, and comes with a 30-day return privilege.

By the way -- if you're wondering who the Richard in RichardSolo is, it's Richard Thalheimer, founder of The Sharper Image. ( is not connected with The Sharper Image in any way). And his latest venture (like the Sharper Image) offers lots of cool stuff in addition to this excellent battery.

The Bottom Line

The RichardSolo Backup Battery provides at least two (and usually more) additional hours of iPhone use (and even more than that for most iPods), includes an AC/USB charger and retractable USB cable, and is reasonably priced. If your iPhone (or iPod) battery doesn't last long enough, I'm certain you'll love this product and if you don't, for whatever reason, it comes with a 30-day return privilege so trying it is virtually risk-free.

Just The Facts

Pros:Small size, reasonable price, includes AC adapter/charger and retractable USB cable, charges itself and your iPhone/iPod simultaneously.

Cons:LED indicator lights could be more informative.

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