Review: iLuv Battery Pack - i603

A battery boost for you iPod 30GB video (March 21st, 2007)

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Product Manufacturer: iLuv, a division of jWIN Electronics

Price: $64.99 US

The Good

  • Lots of extra juice. Silicone cover protects iPod from scratches and dirt. Comes with AC adapter for easy USB charging.

The Bad

  • No screen protection. Dock connector accessory may be flaky. No charging/sync cable included. No belt clip.

Apple has certainly done its best to lengthen the iPod's battery life, but the capability of the iPod has increased as well. Left to their own devices as music players, fifth-generation iPods last a long time on a single charge, but if you want to watch video or play games, the battery life is reduced dramatically.

One solution for your play life drain comes from iPod accessory maker, iLuv. iLuv has a line of battery boosters for the fifth generation iPod, complete with silicone case. I tested the i603, which iLuv sells specifically for the 30GB iPod and my results were better than the previously reviewed iLuv i601 for the first generation nano. It is available in black or white, as is the i604 for the 60 and 80-gigabyte iPods, which is available for the same price as the i603.

The Look and Feel

The i603 is an unusual accessory: Its bottom is a chrome-plated battery pack that plugs into the iPod dock connector. On the back is a hard piece of plastic, and covering the front is a silicone case to protect the outside of the iPod. You mount the iPod in the i603 by sliding it in through the screen opening. The net effect is that your iPod gains about an inch in height, and about a half an inch in thickness.

The battery features a pass-through dock connector, so you can charge the battery pack or sync your iPod with your Mac or PC. iLuv also includes an AC adapter that plugs the device into a wall to juice up. Oddly, no sync cable is included, but the AC adapter features an USB port on it, so it's designed to work with the sync cable you already have.

Boost Your Juice

iLuv claims the i603 gives a total of about 42 hours of music play time to your iPod, and that's just about what I experienced. They don't make any claim about the amount of time it will extend video playback time, but my iPod can usually last for about two and a half hours on a single charge, and I easily got six hours out of it with the i603.

Minor Annoyances

There are a couple of problems with the i603, unfortunately. I experienced some flakiness working with dock connector-based peripherals; the device occasionally wouldn't sync or be recognized by those devices. Also, it does not come with any kind of screen protection, so it's up to you to buy a hard film cover for the iPod display, to keep it from getting scratched. In addition, although there is a silicone-covered hard plastic back, the i603 doesn't have a belt clip, so this is only useful if you are carrying your iPod in a pocket or bag.

The bottom line is, if you need more hours on your iPod, the i603 gives you what you need, but not without some minor annoyances.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by Lee P. Meredith


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