Review: Compact Power Systems Cellboost for iPod and iPod mini
Company: Compact Power Systems
Model: Cellboost for iPod/iPod mini
Compatible: iPod 3G, 4G/photo/color, mini
Pros: The least expensive iPod/iPod mini recharging solution yet released, intended for easy disposal once you’ve recharged your battery fully once. Easy to carry around, good for travel and short-term needs.
Cons: Not as good of a long-term solution as rechargeable batteries, which although priced higher are reusable and potentially offer more iPod recharges per use.
Many batteries and chargers have been released for the iPod family over the years, but Compact Power Systems is the first to offer a disposable, single-use iPod recharger. Relying on the same technology used to recharge cellular telephones on the go, Cellboost for iPod and iPod mini ($9.99) provides a cheap way to replentish your iPod’s battery wherever you may be.
Each Cellboost pack is a white glossy plastic bulb that attaches temporarily to the bottom of any Dock Connector-equipped iPod (iPod 3G, 4G/color/photo, or mini) with a plastic Dock Connector plug. The bulb is a bit thicker than the thickest current iPod (60GB), but about as wide as an iPod mini and less than half the height - a size that’s easily pocketable or tossed into a bag. A clear protective cap for the plug is included, and detaches for easy iPod connection. Once you’re done using both parts, you throw them away.
Cellboost comes with a sticker that says that to “maximize play time, use while iPod is ‘on’,“but we found that this didn’t fully explain the best way to use the battery. The disposable charger does best when connected to a partially charged iPod or when connected to a dead and powered-off iPod: it generally will fully recharge the battery of any dead iPod to which it’s connected, doubling the play time of that iPod. This is a best-case scenario, and benefits more recent, lower power-consumption iPods and iPod minis more than older models.
But if it’s connected to an iPod with a dead battery and asked to power current playback, its run time will vary, and not in an especially positive way. A third-generation iPod ran for around five and a half hours when connected, while a first-generation iPod mini ran for around four hours. These numbers, of course, will increase when used with fourth-generation iPods, color iPods, and second-generation iPod minis, each of which runs longer than its predecessors. Our feeling is that Cellboost is thus best used as a passive recharger - optimally when the iPod’s turned off and can recharge quietly, or second-best when the iPod already has some internal battery power remaining.
Overall, Cellboost is the most inexpensive recharging accessory yet released for the iPod, and a nice innovation in that regard. Though your results will vary based on the iPod you use and the way you use it, it’s a recommendable option - especially for travelers. Other inexpensive alternatives such as chargers with disposable 9V cells (e.g. Griffin’s TuneJuice, iLounge rating: B) sell for at least twice the price, and deliver comparable results. Because you’ll be disposing of one battery per full iPod charge, the Cellboosts aren’t the best long-term solutions we’ve seen, or the most environmentally friendly, but they’re easy to carry and use no matter where in the world you may be going.