The first order of business is to charge the case battery. This can be done with or without the iPhone in the case. If the iPhone is in the case, both will charge. For test purposes, I charged the iConnplus by itself just to see how long it takes to fully charge. Their website’s frequently asked questions section states that it should take about 3 hours to charge from a completely drained state and lo and behold, that’s almost exactly what it took. I tried this on three different occasions and had the same result so I’m satisfied it’s accurate although the manual does state that charge times will vary by PC or laptop. While charging, the iPhone behaves exactly as it would when charging via the traditional methods; you hear a tone when it connects and the battery icon indicates an external power source.
While charging, the LED on the microphone side of the case will glow red until the unit is fully charged at which time it will change to green. What’s really nice is that when charging the iConnplus with the iPhone within, you can still transmit data and synch with iTunes as you normally can when connected without the case. One thing to note is that the cable used is a standard USB mini cable instead of the typical Apple iPod/iPhone cord. So when you travel, you may end up bringing two cords instead of one if you or your traveling companion has an iPod as well. The good news is that it is not a proprietary cable so if you lose it, there will be no problems replacing it.
I let my iPhone drain down below 10% battery charge (the phone will alert you when this happens) and plugged it into the case. In about 1.5 hours I had a full charge on the phone with some juice left in the case. I removed the phone, discharged the battery again and repeated the exercise. This time, I got about a 35% charge before I depleted the iConnplus battery. Not bad, I was actually expecting there to be very little left after the initial charging. This gives the user a little “reserve” as a backup for those long days in an outlet starved environment. I was able to replicate this the next time I tested it and consistency is a good thing.
All things said, I can’t really find any faults with the device other than the nitpick about the cable. There are similar such devices out in the marketplace although most will run you quite a bit more than the $80.00 and not all of them are approved by Apple which can be critical if something happens to your iPhone. Apple can refuse to honor the warranty due to use with unsanctioned hardware.
Legit Bottom Line: Charging your iPhone on the go has never been easier or more stylish. With the iConnplus there are no setup hassles or problems with fit and finish. Throwing in the reasonable pricing and Apple’s stamp of approval, I can’t find a reason not to highly recommend this product for all iPhone 3G users.