Monday, August 19, 2013

Review–Power Jacket for Lumia 920

Full disclosure – the review unit was supplied by Mobilezap. You can find this device and others at the Mobilezap category page at:
http://www.mobilezap.com.au/31817/nokia/lumia-920/cases.htm
When I upgraded to the Nokia Lumia 920 one of the biggest issues I noticed was how quickly the battery drained compared to my previous phone. Admittedly, I have been using it more intensively but it would be hard pressed to get through a full day’s usage from the standard battery.

Now the external battery for the Lumia 920 seems to the job of providing an extended charge for the phone. This is really handy for those who need the extended life and may not always have the ability to recharge throughout the day.
At first I though it was a battery extender but what it really is an external battery, much like those USB charging bricks you carry around.
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The unit can be charged stand alone via the same standard micro USB cable you use with the phone.
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On the back you’ll find an on/off switch and a number of charging lights letting you know how much charge the external battery has.
The phone slips neatly into the external battery case and has a nice neoprene/non-slip feel to it. It does add some bulk to the phone but that is to be expected given what you are trying to achieve. Even with the external battery connected, I still found the phone fitted snuggly in my hand.
The external battery comes with an arm you can extend so you can prop up the phone on a desk for viewing. I found the arm to lack a ‘grippy’ end. This meant that it tended to slide around a little on a smooth desk when you tried to use the phone. Maybe some form of neoprene tip would prevent that? However, in practice the arm worked well and allowed me to watch a video on the phone with relative ease.
The basic process is that you charge up the external battery and connect it to the phone. When the phone runs low you press the on/off switch on the back of the battery and the battery then charges the phone. You can repeat this process until the external battery is exhausted, then you can use the normal battery in the phone.
I found this process to be pretty straight forward and convenient. I think it is also a much better idea than having to cart around a generic USB charger brick.
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If you look at the ‘standard’ type cover I had previously you can see that it has a front lip that comes almost up to the glass on the phone. The extended battery doesn’t have this lip, which means the front face and some of the sides are somewhat exposed. If you therefore accidentally drop the phone with the external battery attached and it hits at just the right angle (which it always does when you drop it right?) you may find your phone subject to more damage that with the standard case.
It should also be noted that the instructions for the external battery say that you shouldn’t drop it, which kind of means that it isn’t really meant for that sort of protection even though that is the most likely thing that is going to happen right?
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Another thing I noticed is that the ‘standard’ case has recessed areas for the buttons on the side of the phone as shown above. The extended battery doesn’t cover these buttons but with the unit on the phone these buttons can be a little hard to operate.
The final issue I will note is that with the external battery unit on the phone plugging a headset into the phone can be problematic. A ‘non-standard’ headset (i.e. didn’t come with the phone) doesn’t fit flush onto the phone so it may operate correctly. A jack with a finer plug, like the headset that comes with the phone, would be ok but there probably needs to be a greater recess around the headphone jack at the top of the external battery to allow for this if you, like me, have a ‘non-standard’ set of headphones you like to use.
All in all I think this is great unit for the Nokia Lumina 920. It is a much better bet than a USB charging brick. I like the power button and charging lights on the rear and even though it does make the phone more bulky with it added that is small price to pay for the extended charging range it provides. I think it is most handy in the car when you want to use GPS and the like without having to always have it plugged into the charger. I like the fact that I can throw the external battery into my bag and attach it when I need it to extend my trips between power points. Apart from a few minor ergonomic quibbles I think this external battery is a very handy addition for Lumia 920 owners who are heavy phone users and need more battery life than the standard phone battery provides.