Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Plug it in for the Outlet Speaker review

Bem has provided me with my latest product review. In the form of a Bluetooth speaker with no wires to power. The Outlet Speaker is just that, a small box that plugs directly into the wall to stream from your personal Bluetooth enabled device. This of course means no charging and no worry of losing charge along with providing the security of knowing it can be always on, it is quick and easy to connect and start streaming. The size is slightly larger that a juice box, so it does not take up a lot of space and depending on the outlet you choose to plug into, it does not stick out like a sore thumb, so lets get to it.
While convenience is always a plus, the size and folding plug on the speaker is nice, but not portable enough for anything more outdoors. Though having it always connected to a power source that is scattered around most houses is pretty convenient because walking into my office, and just hitting play on my phone to start a room filling audio experience is about as convenient as it gets. Performance is best in smaller rooms as the Outlet Speaker does not have to try too hard to fill it with my playlist. That being said, the sound quality is as loud as it is clear, however it does lack depth in in its sound, works well for rock fans, not so much for the hip hopper. Lastly, and this was my biggest issue, but the connectivity got choppy at about ten feet for me and when trying to play from my MacBook Pro, but that is likely due to the handful of Bluetooth connects, feedback was expected.
Bem’s Outlet Speaker was pretty innovative and simple, dubbing it the perfect bathroom, den, or kitchen speaker. It is great for small spaces and provides crisp and clear sound while also being inconspicuous. There is only one button, the power button, and the rest is controlled from your phone, tablet, or Bluetooth device. It works best for casual listening, but in terms of entertainment to a roomful of people or on my patio with background noise, the Outlet Speaker would not be my first decision. Luckily, it looks like Bem has other speakers for those situations, and that would be the Boom Box and Speaker Trio. The outlet speaker is available now for $99.99.

MashButton's sleep deprived review of Dead Island: Riptide

The day has come where we now have another full Dead Island title upon us. Not only was the game enclosed, but the Special Edition which includes an alternate character skin, pack of weapon mods and a digital strategy map. There was quite a bit of confusion when first announced as to whether Riptide was a true sequel or an expansion. Riptide is, in fact, a true sequel starting where the last game left off with the survivors thinking they have escaped the plagued Banoi but fate has other plans for the faithful four plus one, John Morgan. Now that I have played through I think I have enough time put in for my review.  

It speaks numbers when I can’t stop playing a game before I get to work on my review, usually I get 50-75 percent of the way through before getting my review out in a timely fashion, then usually going back to complete. That being said, it is intense, highly stressful, lots of dying, and on top of everything it was fun as hell. While single player was entertaining with lots and lots of respawning, usually when trying to face off against groups of four or more without a car...or boat. I thought it felt more polished visually and intense to play, every time a shreak was heard, I was out of there without even a glance. The survivalistic feel it what kept me playing after some punishing sessions, but it was just enough and the melee focus with unique weapons means all the action is in your face, but similar to watching a horror movie, you want your friends around in coop for assistance.
While not perfect, there are a few things that tried to get me to rage smash my controller, most of all would be the little bugs here and there. Mostly when missions items weren’t where they were supposed to be, which depending on the mission, I would have to reboot to complete. The other, and this one is for those that play with a lot of focus on the sounds, but when you hear the call of the dead and it sounds like it’s right behind or beside you a lot, fear not as they sometimes are just in the distance flexing their dead pipes and have not even noticed my John Morgan. Be wary of shadows though, they aren’t always foliage and you don’t always hear before you are about to get brutally violated.
Like Netflix’s new show, Hemlock Grove, it does not stand out as mind blowing, but the experience is always a fun time, as long as you are into dying a lot, the walking dead, tropical environments, more dying, and never enough bullets or a long enough stick. It looks inviting with the stunning looking island landscape and the gameplay will have you running a lot in single player gameplay, but this is meant to be coop and in those dire situations you only have to be faster than your slowest friend. That or you can help the fight and try to take on the herd, but I got bills to pay and mouths to feed, meaning you lose precious cash to repair items so be careful.

Seeing double with SuperTooth's Disco Twin

We have reviewed a number of the Supertooth’s Disco 2’s and just when you thought Disco was no more, we now have the Twin. Similar to that of the past Disco 2, the Twin still holds the same design, but this time around the package includes two speakers for stereo output. The two speaker come packing 16 watts a piece and provide a true left and right wireless speaker setup with controls on the top of each.  Setup is simple, done by a push of a button and streaming wirelessly in seconds using the Bluetooth 3.0 connection. So after toting around the Twins for a week, it is time to get down to brass tacks. 
As a fan of the previous SuperTooth Disco’s reviewed, it is safe to say that this isn’t a step backward, but more likely a glimpse of what we are to see next in the wireless speaker market. Having true left and true right channels, greatly improves the experience, particularly in larger areas and social occasions. They are very portable and fit in my hand or tucked under my arm and upon power up each channel is identified to listen the way your playlist intended. When I used around the pool, the controls on the top of each speaker made it nice to control the volume and track while knowing that my phone was at a safe and dry distance away.
A couple things to note were the choice of charger, amount of playtime on full charge, and the lack of carrying case. You have to use two separate chargers, completely filling most outlets when charging simultaneously and both speakers must be charged for usage. Sure, you only need the master charged, but if the right channel has juice and the left doesn’t, the master will not play. Each speaker comes with it’s own cloth speaker cover, but if there were a more solid carrying that held both speakers they would have felt easier to transport further than around the house. Lastly, the charge was about 5 to 6 hours before it started cutting out, which seems a little short in comparison to other Bluetooth speakers reviewed.  
The Disco Twin was a great set to stream music and videos to as with twice the speakers come twice the sound. The true stereo sound is definitely a highlight even though the tradeoff for the sound is a shorter play time between charges. Supertooth’s Dynamic Duo is available now at the price of $199, which seems about right as the Disco 3 is priced at $99 and while you are paying a dollar more than you would purchasing separately, wirelessly playing in stereo as opposed to daisy chaining is worth that extra dollar.

Monday, April 22, 2013

MashButtons reviews Jabra's Music lineup. A Vox and two Revo's

Jabra has provided me with their recent headphone lineup, and while Jabra has been such a powerhouse in the mobile headset industry, they seem to be following the latest headphone trend with the release of the in ear Vox earbuds, the on ear wired Revo, and the Bluetooth Revo Wireless. Jabra’s has paired with Dolby on their Music range of headphones by enhancing the experience with Dolby Digital Plus and the Jabra sound app which which comes with preset equalizer options and customizable multi band equalizer. After a week with each pair of headphones it is time to put my notes on paper and see how they compare.

I will be reviewing the three headphones in order of preference saving the best for last, so that being said we will start with Vox. Jabra’s Vox is an in ear headphone with inline three button remote and drivers that are just under 9 mm in size. The sound is amazing, not just the clarity but the range of sound as well. The bass is deep, a lot deeper than most other in ear headphones I have reviewed, but the comfort is good and allow for movement without fear from falling out. The bad, well that would be getting shocked in the ear while jogging from the static electricity. I have never encountered this before any other headphones or earbuds, and could be due to the dry climate but this wasn’t a small shock and it was all up in my ear holes. However if my usage were in more sedentary environment, I would prefer these over the other two models for the comfort and the sound.

Next up is the corded Revo, sure they may not be my preference of over ear headphone, but Jabra’s corded on ear headphones immediately scream comfort. While the frame is built very solid with durable materials, but where it connects with your dome, it does gently with soft ear pads and a rubber air bubble for comfort during long periods of use. Once again the cord includes an in line 3 buttons remote, while the cord is removable and the sides fold in for compact storage. The Revo’s come sporting 40mm drivers on each side, packing a punch with deep bass, and while the highs don’t come off as clear as that experienced with the Vox’s, the Jabra sound app’s equalizer helped get them close. While the Revo is quite similar to the wireless model, it somehow does not compare after moving onto the Bluetooth cord free sibling.

My favorite of the three are hands down the Jabra Revo Wireless, for two big reasons. The first would be the liberation from being connected to your phone via cable. The other would be the sound quality being delivered wirelessly is amazing, when historically the quality would suffer due to lack of cable. Charging is also easy, fully charged provides 12 hours worth of talk/music and should you run out of charge or be without a Bluetooth capable device, just plug in the cable and you are good. The build quality is the same as the Revo wired headset, nice and sturdy, but here is the kicker, no line for inline remote. Jabra took care of this rather creatively by using a turntable touch control allowing the ability to control volume by running your finger around the outside of the right speaker, you can also track forward/backward by double clicking or take calls. My only issue was that I wish it came with a more durable carrying case.

Favi turns any TV "Smart" with the SmartStick

This time around, we have a device that turns your HDTV into a smart TV. With Favi’s SmartStick you can make your plain Jane TV “connected” by simply plugging in a small device into your HDMI, power via USB, and controlled by an IR sensor that is placed on top of your TV. A remote is also included in the package to navigate through the Android OS 4.0 interface. A wireless keyboard and mouse is needed but Favi offers another solution,  the SmartStick Keyboard controller. By way of the storefront, you have access to game and video apps and 4 or 8 Gigs of storage to access on board files with support of up to 32GB by Micro SD.
The Smart Stick was a breeze to set up as long as you have easy access to the back of your TV. Once plugged in and on, I was taken through a brief 10 minute setup to access my account and then it was off to downloading apps. The interface looks good in both 720 and 1080 HD and allows for widgets on the home screen. The controller does navigate through the system but is rather frustrating after short usage as it uses a thin and frugal feeling plastic remote where the input commands were often delayed or incorrect. The ability to download and use many apps from this device, whether it be gaming or multimedia, while still having access to the internet via your choice of browsers were nice options that other similar TV multimedia devices do not offer.
While the remote is not very reliable or user friendly, the Favi SmartStick wireless keyboard with mouse touchpad does make navigation much more convenient and reliable. While at times there was some lag it was a lot more reliable than the remote that came with the SmartStick. The wireless keyboard has a full keyboard, trackpad mouse, Android hotkeys, and is rechargeable via USB cable. Not limited to being used with the SmartStick device,  it is also good to use during presentations, whether to switch between slides, editing on the fly, or streaming, it does make portable usage a lot more convenient without sacrificing any features or space. 
While I was a bit apprehensive as to how well the SmartStick would operate as with some smart TV’s I have experienced ridiculously slow interfaces, but with Favi’s device, the operating system looked crisp and clean, while navigation was smooth and easy to navigate via the wireless keyboard. Be warned that the remote which comes with the SmartStick was quite possibly the worst part of the experience, but when used with the wireless keyboard instead, it is a lot more pleasant to use while making navigation less frustrating. With the Android interface, it felt familiar and was easy to navigate, even more so once connected to your Google account.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

This latest MashButtons Giveaway comes courtesy of iWalk

iWalk has provided us some swag to get out to anyone listening and comes in the form of headphones and docking backup batteries. The link series docking backup batteries come sporting up to 5000 mAh and power most any current devices and come in a variety of colors. The Amour in ear headphones also come in a variety of colors and pack an in line multifunctional remote and tangle free cables.
Like us on Facebook and tell us what device you plan on charging or listening from, whether it be an old school Walkman or the finest, tiniest various iPod models.

Click here, like, then tell what your sportin' and we will send you some swag!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

BiteMyApple.co sends us a couple successful Kickstarters

This next review is for two items brought to us by a storefront for successful Kickstarter projects, BiteMyApple.co. The site showcases a number of crowd funded projects that are some of the most successful projects that consist of signature Apple accessories. The two items that we have in hand are the MOS “Magnetic Organization System” to keep your desktop cables where you left them last as most have a tendency to slip away into hard to reach places. The next item is the Trygger camera clip for the iPhone 5; a clip on adjustable polarizing filter. 
First up we have MOS, a magnetic cord organizer for your desktop or wall. I am always moving my workspace around my house and office and usually anytime I disconnect my power, HDMI, and USB at least one slithers it’s way under my desk. Apparently the MOS’s creators had the same issue because this triangular device rests nicely on it’s porous microsuction pad, does not slide and has four magnetic areas to place your cables. Now the magnets, while not being as strong as I would have liked because it it hard to tell if you have placed your cable correctly, did hold my cables with just enough resistance to hold multiple cables and not pull the MOS across my desk. If your cable does not stick to MOS, fear not because three magnetic cable ties are included in the package.
Next up is Trygger, a polarizing filter that clips onto the iPhone 5 to add vibrant colors to photos. While it does stick out when placed on my phone by clipping onto the corner, but the Trygger comes with a compact case to easily carry with you while protecting the filter from being scratched. As someone that likes shooting photos, particularly outdoors, there are still times in which I do not carry a point and click or DSLR on me and I am stuck having to rely on my iPhone and this compact clip is easily accessable. The best part is the ability to manually adjust the filter via scroll wheel that is easy to access, turn, and most of all take some vibrant pictures without any editing.
A lot of incredibly unique Kickstarter projects are funded and many people miss out on desktop accessories that were funded by it’s fans, and unbeknownst to me was BiteMyApple.co. Just window shopping after getting time to spend with just two of the items available, there were a couple desktop accessories that caught my eye and designed to match that Apple feel to look in place with your iMac, iPad, iPhone and other Bluetooth devices and tablets. Both items came nicely packaged and had very nice build quality and functioned as specified. I for one look forward to additional items to be provided through BiteMyApple, being the fanboy that I am, mostly because the items have a modern and artistic build and stand out against the more mass produced accessories.

Dismemberment is back with Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge

A year after the release of Ninja Gaiden 3, Tecmo Koei has released Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, for the PS3 and Xbox 360. While Ninja Gaiden 3 isn’t exactly big news and was just a skosh of a let down, Razor’s Edge on the other is Ninja Gaiden 3 on bath salts. Much like the Sigma version of Ninja Gaiden past, Razor’s Edge has a lot more bells and whistles to have you coming back (maybe) after beating originally or those reluctant to purchase as there is always a Ninja Gaiden supreme that comes out around a year later. No, this is not a Sigma version, it is actually the Wii U exclusive with additional playable characters, game mode, and battle system. It is time for a little dismemberment.
I have always had a love/hate relationship with the Ninja Gaiden titles, fun as hell slicing ninja action and then bam, you hit the brick wall of the difficulty curve. When Ninja Gaiden 3 did not have that frustration and the always satisfying sense of accomplishment, I still enjoyed it, but it just wasn’t the same. Team Ninja took notes because the AI has been improved, Quick Time Events have been reduced, and dismemberment has been brought back. While these changes are nice, I mostly enjoyed the immediate use of Karma to upgrade my attacks, Ninpo, and costumes to greatly increase the replay value as there wasn’t much in the way of that when Ninja Gaiden 3 originally released. 
Razor’s Edge was a much more refreshing experience from that when I originally played through Ninja Gaiden 3. It actually felt more like the previous entries and the Sigma-esque features made me actually look forward to continuing playing. The only downside to my experience was my original playthrough of Ninja Gaiden 3, as it made me rather apprehensive to getting my hand on Razor’s Edge.  Being able to enter Chapter Challenge Mode with the varying gameplay of Kasumi, Ayane, and Momiji along with all of the previous paid DLC, online Clan Battles, and triple the coop Ninja Trials; it is easy to forgive and enjoy Razor’s Edge for the great time and massive content added to keep me coming back for more.

MashButtons reviews NIS America's latest, Hyperdimension Netunia Victory

NIS America has provided me with their latest role playing parody, Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory. This time around Neptune winds up in another dimension, Gamindustri of the eighties, where the CPUs must take on the Seven Sages plan for a world sans CPUs. The series has been known as satirical of the gaming industry, both new and old. It is hard to go wrong when the protagonists resemble gaming consoles...and sometimes the personalities behind them are spot on. It is time to assemble the girls and rack up some huge attack combos, while trying not feeling creepy.

Similar to the previous entries, Victory still contains that action filled turn based battle system using a number of character combinations and HDD form abilities to lay down huge combinations. The characters are still young looking and immature acting, but have enough personality to keep me coming back for more. There is also a nice amount of character customization throughout gameplay that had me spending almost equal parts in menus as I was exploring dungeons hunting down the Seven Sages. This is a parody of of gaming's history so expect to to lose yourself in a nonsensical storyline, but through lengthy conversations between characters, using “X” to skip long dialogue became more and more utilized.
At the end of the day, I enjoyed Victory about as much as I liked the previous entries. Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory has a bit of an edge over the previous entries, for going back to the eighties, the decade  when gaming entered my blood. The CPUs are likeable, the dialogue is hilarious, and the gameplay is fun. Sure the story while good, was overshadowed by long cut scenes before getting back into the action. After the first couple hours I eventually got to a point where my impatience kicked in and I was mashing X to blow through the text to get back to completing missions. I need me some Hyperdimension Neptunia on the go, so how bout one for the Vita NIS America?

MashButtons gets Props Power Case to keep iPad charged and Stylish

I have seen a number of battery cases for the various iPhones but this next one is taking it a step further with a Power Case for the iPad...and the mini. Digital Treasures has provided me with the Props Power Case for the iPad 2, 3, and 4, a portfolio design with a 12,000 mAh battery in the cover. That’s right, no skimping on power here. Props folds open like a book and the interior is wrapped in a non slip grip to stand in landscape mode at a wide range of angles. The outside is bound with black “leather”, red threading, and closes with a magnetic clasp.
Now that the props is on my pad, I plan on ditching my previous portfolio case. It isn’t much thicker than my old folio but with 12,000 mAh of charge, it comes in handy in case of emergencies. Emergency is plural because most phone charger cases come equipped with 1700 mAh, so you can recharge your iPad or your entire family’s phones. With great power comes wires, not one but two, a power cable and usb adapter. Luckily due to the size of the pack, you likely will not have to charge often, but it also won’t do any good if it isn’t on hand. It is rather professional looking and I like how the red threading contrasts well with the black, but the non slip material is where it’s at. It does not allow for the iPad to slide once in contact, not very easily at least.
I think the Props Power Case is great, sure if has some bulk, but it also comes in handy. It is like having a small generator on hand because the iPad has never had an issue with battery life, although that also makes it easier to forget when I have to charge, because you will have enough to charge multiple devices. This may seem to be a bit of overkill to some, for anyone that does a lot of work from their devices and uses on the road, Props is a convenient and professional looking piece that will not leave you high and dry in any of your devices’ time of need.

Braven sends us the affordable 570

Braven has provided us with another Bluetooth speaker, this time we have received the 570, the entry level model that comes in an assortment of colors, mine is Fiji green.  Similar to it’s older and more refined siblings, the 570  offers wireless playback, acts as a speakerphone when needed, and allows charging from the unit if needed. This model claims ten hours of playtime, a 1200 mAh battery, six watt output for the two drivers for stereo sound, amplified by passive subwoofers. The buttons on the side are also present to control volume, track forward/reverse, and take calls. Features aside, it is time to see how this fares in comparison to Braven’s higher end models.
The 570 in terms of sounds is identical to the more expensive models. I love how Braven has kept that consistent, and from what I have seen,  the difference in their models are simply longer playtime or a different material used for the case. Speaking of the build, you do not get that aluminum casing seen like the 600 series uses, instead housing is plastic and comes in a variety of colors. The smaller 1200 mAh battery clocks in at just over a work day, less if you need to charge your phone, but my use consisted of charging overnight and I was not once without tunes and that was with the occasional quick charge to my phone(roughly 25% of a charge to iPhone 4).
I have been a big fan of the various Braven models reviewed and while the BRV-1 is still my fave, the 570 is genius, providing a more affordable way to get the clear sound and same features found across their lineup. Sure, it has a plastic housing and less charge, but the coating is nice and the color really pops, the Fiji green is almost too bright and hard to lose. The biggest thing to keep in mind is the battery size, it was enough for me, but for the traveler that will use a lot while traveling will need more juice. In that case let me direct you to the big boy, the 650.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Bluetooth and noise cancelling, MashButtons review Phiaton's PS 210 BTNC

We have received another set of headphones, coming to us from Phiaton is the PS 210 BTNC. This Phiaton set comes in the form of Bluetooth noise cancelling earbuds. Equipped with Bluetooth 3.0, the PS 210’s sport an elegant look, but fit for a great active pair of in ear buds with a variety of tip sizes for a comfortable fit. The rechargeable battery will allow you to use all day with no interruption, claiming 12 - 14 hours of use, and should you forget to charge, the exclusive EVERPLAY-X allows use by plugging the dongle into your phone’s headphone jack. 
These are small powerhouses and easy to be taken just about anywhere, while the numerous sizes and comply foam tips make for comfortable listening during extended usage. The noise cancelling works very well and not something found in a lot of in ear headphones, do not require the Bluetooth connection for use, and work tremendously while traveling. The sound quality is great and by using the dual chamber design that is found in the previously released Moderna headphones, providing a clear experience with a wide range getting close to that seen in over ear headphones. I also did not notice any interruption while listening around the house and office while my phone was in my pocket. 
However, every time in which I left my phone at my desk and got around fifteen away, it would break up intermittently. Technically it does keep working, but it will break up frequently until meandering back into range. I was happy to see that the dongle is now rechargeable and has remote capabilities, the downside was trying to navigate the remote, as intend, without numerous attempts. The controls are via four way joystick that is small in size to fit the form of the dongle but my issue was trying to adjust the volume and change the track or vice versa, forget about it if you happen to be wearing gloves.
These headphones surprised me, while the Moderna’s were great, the previous noise cancelling ear buds received by Phiaton sported an unsightly and uncomfortable in line power unit. Most wireless devices lose a considerable amount of sound quality, but with the PS 210 BTNC, there wasn’t any noticeable loss while listening. Throughout usage, the earbuds stayed in place without having to be adjusted, whether working or out jogging. The small carrying case makes it easy to carry whether in a bag or pocket and the pinch to open clip allows simple placement and reduction in movement, just remember to keep your phone on you, or at least nearby.

Griffin's Stylus+Pen+Laser Pointer gets MashButtons+Accessory+Review

I got another stylus across my desk to review this week and this is another unique one; it is not only a stylus but a pen AND a laser pointer. This multi purpose office tool was designed to never leave your side regardless to if you are taking notes on your tablet or touchscreen devices, on those vintage whites sheets called paper, or to torment your pug, er I mean for use during presentations. Like most others, this bland named accessory also comes equipped with a pocket clip so there is never a good reason to be caught off guard without it.

After spending a week with Griffin’s handheld office accessories, it is time to see how it compares to the likes of Wacom’s and Sensu’s mid level styli. The build is solid, with a nice weight to it and it is easy to quickly change from stylus to pen by pulling apart from both ends, flipping over and pushing back together, while the laser pointer is placed at the top and controlled by a button on the side. The pen is very fine tipped and writes smoothly on paper, while the stylus is a bit wider than I prefer but works as intended.

Definitely not feeling like most multi purposes devices, the lack of an easy named device feels both versatile and portable, there are two items in which I were included during production. The first would be the lack of a cap, so either the stylus or pen is exposed at all times. It is already a bit long already, so the addition of a cap would make it akwardly long. Lastly, the two peices feel loose and slightly jiggle. While they do snap into place, it does come apart from short falls. Should it thread into place like the laser pointer’s battery compartment, it would be damn near perfect.

We Hardboil our Vita for Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken review

We have a fun one here, a game review for the Vita, Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken from the developer Ratloop Asia. Rocketbirds was a triple nominated title in 2010 and is just now coming to the PlayStation Vita after being available on the PS3 for a couple of months, in a form most fitting and topped with the works. The works of course being new game modes, screens, chapter, weapons,and yadda yadda yadda. What is it? Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken is a 2D platformer with puzzle aspects thrown into the gameplay as you take on the role of Hardboiled Chicken against the packs of preposterous penguins, so it is time to see how it is.

I really did not know what to expect from this title, but it did not take long to download and get into. Don’t mistake the design and style for it's simplicity, as there is a lot of fun to be had shortly after starting your first game, with the 60fps fast and fluid gameplay and the crisp visuals on the Vita’s bright screen. Sure there is a lot of running left and right, managing an arsenal of penguin extinguishing firearms, but there are also puzzles to navigate through in order to complete stages. Levels aren't too dificult but provide some challenge while being the right length to not lose interest. There is a coop gameplay mode with a unique storyline but was unable to reach a game as none of my compadres had heard of this simple and great looking humorously gritty jet pack filled fun.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Get a little extra battery life with the PowerSkin PoP'n Charger | Review

 "Because battery life is life", this is why you need a secondary power supply.

The above quotes is directly from PowerSkin's latest PoP'n battery charger for the iPhone 5, and it's definitely true.  These days, for the working-man (or woman), days can run long, and you need your phone to keep up.  With business conferences, vacations, or even gaming marathons, having a spare battery to keep your primary battery full of juice is a key benefit.

I've spent the last week putting this through a battery (ahem) of tests, use cases, and we've come out with some results and some pros and cons. 

There are a few different types of external batteries, ones built into cases, and others that are external, but attachable (in some way) so they can be used to power other things than just the phone.  The PoP'n battery case is of the latter variety.  A glossy black (a few optional colors are also available) battery, with curved edges and a flat back with about 24 mini suction cups on them.  Yes, suction cups.  The package says "superior grip", but like most suction cups, I found them attaching easily enough, but over time, they'd lose their grip.  You certainly don't want to be caught holding your phone by the battery, in case the suction cups come loose and you drop your phone.

Other features include a power button, and an LED indicator with 4 levels to indicate how much charge remains on the battery.  A flexible connector (that is interchangeable, mind you) in case you want to support other devices (older 30-pin, Micro-USB, etc).  The battery itself, is actually of a fairly high quality and high capacity.  Rated at 2000 mAh, we tested how much a fully charged PoP'n Battery charger would provide a new iPhone 5.  The results, were actually pretty impressive

From a 0% (fully dead, and powered off iPhone 5), it took 10 minutes for the iPhone to turn back on.  Keeping in mind, iPhones need 4-5% battery to resume from a completely dead state.  10 minutes and we're at 4%, and powered back on.  Within an hour, the phone was at 53% charge, and within 2 hours, the iPhone 5 had 90% charge, at which point the PoP'N Battery died.

So, within 2 hours, you get nearly another full charge, to double your battery life.  That's pretty good, and I'll certainly find myself using it in a number of circumstances.  I'm not keen on having it plugged in at all times, due to the bulk added, but that's just me.  I'm a purist, and don't even like cases of any sort on my phone. 

PowerSkin PoP'n Battery Charger for iPhone 5 can be found on your favorite online retailer, or ours, here for around $79.00