Here we are, in our world of technology.  Toaster ovens, DVRs, Blu Ray, Portable game units, Laptops, Smart phones and our iDevices.  All these things use energy.  Aside from Air, Water and Food… It is the most needed commodity we, as people, are most addicted to.  It is the central source, the origin of literally all our creature comforts, conveniences and society.  It also happens to be the most precious and demanded resource we use.

     Our iPhones are no different.  Our precious iDevices are amazing in their versatility, capacity and function.  There is just one small problem with them.  As good as they are the power they deliver is too much for any real heavy use on the battery they come equipped with.  No power, no function.  No function no fun.

     The iPhone battery is nominally functional and with any degree of heavy use, will find yourself with a “brick”.  My Girlfriend, knowing I could use something like surprised me with a little gift for the holidays.  It was a Duracell backup battery.  It cost her $30.  It sucked, to say the least.  While finely crafted, it offered a measly 1 time charge and only then would charge my iPhone 50%.  I was extremely appreciative of her thought but let’s be honest here between us, that just will not cut it for our uses.  Hence the need for a back up.  In my search for such an item I scoured the web looking for a quality unit that would perform exemplary but at a reasonable price.  I looked at Richard Solo.  I looked at iSound.  I looked at them all.  Prices, capacity, function…But then I stumbled on one completely by accident from a company called “iMaxPower” and one particular product called The IMP500.

     What caught my attention in the listing is the fact that it had “38 hour video play back“.   When I saw this in combination with their reasonable price of $53.95 I was hooked to find out more.  So I do what I always do for myself and my readers.  I investigated.  Therein (as you will see in the site) is a 10 min Video with the head of the company demonstrating the IMP500, John Chang.  In the video he explains and shows how to use the IMP500.  I was very interested in this product and decided to contact iMpaxPower and Mr. Chang.  After an email and a follow up call, Mr. Chang immediately sent me an IMP500 to test, review and now you will get to know everything that you need to know about this product and the company that builds it.  So hang on kids cause here we go!

     First off, delivery of the item (shipping is free for orders over $30, BTW) arrived no later than 3 days.  Yes three days! That in itself is good, damned good.  The packaging is a typical hermetically sealed blister package.  Removal of the items are simply done with a sharp knife or razor blade along the sides.  But aside from this, who really cares about the packaging?  But aside from getting it to us, Packaging means nothing.  So moving on…

     Inside, there is an:

  • AC Adapter
  • 2 Component adapters (iDevice & Mini USB)
  • Self Retractable Wire for charging
  • The IMP500 PowerPack

 

     What surprised me was actually how small the IMP500 is.  It is literally the size of a 2007  BlackBerry.  To give you perspective here, it is approximately 40% thicker than that of the iPhone. Slightly shorter and wider than the iPhone as well.  Essentially it is the size of cellular device.  So portability is going to be a cake-walk.  This in combination with the self retracting charge-wire makes portability a dream.  The same wire is used to charge both the IMP500 and the iPhone.  Which makes the need to carry your cumbersome, stock sync cable with you, no longer necessary.  The IMP500 can be charged via the wall or the USB port on your computer.  Charge time via the wall out of the box is 4 hours.  From 0-100% is 6 hours.  It is also important and worth mentioning that while for the purpose of this review I will constantly refer to the iPhone, the IMP500 PowerPack is not relegated to the iPhone alone.  No sir!  It is good for just about any portable device as can be seen in the picture on top of this article.  Now time to test this bad boy called the IMP500.

     Let me take some time to explain how the IMP500 works.  Most battery backups that we have seen actually clip into the bottom of the phone itself, no wires.  The IMP500 uses a tether.  So instead of the unit itself clipping itself into the bottom of the phone, the IMP500 uses the included wire.  The wire was ingeniously designed to charge the IMP500 from the wall but also be used to charge the iPhone from the IMP500.  Yes that is correct, the wire serves a dual purpose.  So if you are looking for a backup battery that has no need for wires to charge the iPhone, the IMP500 is not what you are looking for.  However, iMaxPower is actually in development to make such an item (according to my discussion with Mr. Chang) and yes you can be sure that I will be testing that out for you as well.  The power meter is displayed  by the use of three LED lights on the top of the unit. 3 lit, means close to, or at 100%.  2, less than 50%.  1 means the powerpack is close to depletion.  The IMP500 is activated by the obvious power button in the upper left hand corner on the face of the powerpack.  So it is simply plug one end of the wire into the IMP500, the other end into the iPhone, and press the power button for 1-2 sec to see the LEDs turn on and your iPhone is drinking the nectar of the electronic Gods.  Tron indeed , would be pleased.

     Now the video said “38 hours video playback”.  I wanted to test this for myself and yes, I really did test this.  So I hooked up my 3G already charged to 100%.  Hooked up the IMP500 to my iPhone, hit play, started a stop watch, and hit the road to go about my life…

     About a day later I checked on the IMP500 and saw one LED was still lit and that the powerpack was low on power.  I watched it carefully from this point on to get the most accurate reading.  The unit died at 16.5 hours.  And the iPhone died 4.5 hours later.  Oddly, I did not feel cheated (I mean 21 hrs of video playback is no small feat here), I was surprised considering the 17 hour disparity but yet felt no gripe of a bait and switch.  Could it have been my being so impressed with the IMP500?  Regardless, this I felt had to be addressed.  I immediately called Mr. Chang, asking if maybe I had received a defective product.  We went over the test parameters  I performed, together.  We then realized that the original test was done on an iPhone 1st Gen, with all ancillary items turned off including the volume and the fact that the 1st Gen has no 3G.  Hence, it by default has less battery consumption.  On the box it says 25 hour video playback.  Considering the 3G/3GS consume power faster and also the fact that I left everything on; 3G, WiFi, Volume, etc…21 hours for such a small powerpack is extraordinarily impressive.  Let me put it to you this way.  If you have 21 straight hours to watch movies on your iPhone, you have way too much time on your hands, which does not describe many of us.  So you are not going to need 38 hours anyway.  But does not 21 hours also seem like a lot of pure function?  I say a resounding, yes.

     21 Hours of constant playback is a flight to China.  CHINA!  Think about that for just a second.  You are going to sleep sometime within that 21 hours.  So 21 hours for such a small compact battery is simply amazing to me.  “How do they do this ?” you may be asking yourself.  Well aside it being an ancient Chinese Secret, the little known fact about iMaxPower, is that they are no cheap, lame, third party manufacturer for power cells.  No, not like Richard Solo, or iSound who simply dabble in this market.  iMaxPower, secretly, deviously is actually a subsidiary of an actual OEM company that manufactures power cells for some of the largest computer manufacturers in the world.  Now the names of these companies were told to me, but under pain of death I was sworn to secrecy. But take my word for it.  If you decide to get one of the IMP500s’ for yourself then you are getting an OEM battery, under a different name in a different package.  Now how many companies do you know that can claim that?  So the quality here regarding iMaxPower should be incontrovertible.

     So let’s talk about the battery simply as an auxiliary power source for charging.  Yes I tested this for you as well.  The IMP500 PowerPack at 100% capacity is good for 4 full recharges of the iPhone before the IMP500 itself, needs to be recharged.  The packaging boasts the IMP500 is good for 500 recharges.  (This we will have to take their word for.  Since I cannot test this in 2 weeks).  The IMP500 comes in two colors.  Black and White.  Retail price for the units vary based on color”

 

  • Black/Blue $53.95
  • White/Blue $49.95

 

     Now why there is a price discrepancy between colors?  I have no idea, but again, I am here to speak about functionality and simply report the facts, not debate them.   From my experience the customer service with iMaxPower is good, they are receptive and accommodating.  The IMP500s’ performance, even though slightly exaggerated based on the findings of my test,  performs beyond anything I have seen to date, and iMaxPower’s claim that “This is the most powerful backup battery in the market today” may very well be true.  I can say to date I have not found one to top it.

     In summary:

 

  • Extreme Portability
  • Small
  • Convenient
  • Very Powerful with 21 hrs video playback
  • Incredibly, 4 full recharges of the iPhone
  • Good customer support
  • Reasonably priced

 

     So if you are going someplace for an extended period of time and you have no real access to a wall plug, such as a camping trip, a long flight, an office where the USB port is out, or even just on the go and you forgot to charge your iPhone properly?  You simply cannot go wrong with procuring one for yourself if you are in need of a battery backup.  I give the product a resounding thumbs up and the “Hilty seal of approval”.

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