Review: ezGear powerStick Shuffle
Pros: Simple iPod battery pack provides more than two full recharges of the iPod shuffle with four typical AA batteries - perhaps more than four times, depending on the batteries you use. Brings iPod shuffle back from the dead.
Cons: No frills like remaining power indicator; by comparison with Apple’s option, unlikely to be carried around with your iPod shuffle except on trips.
Some time ago, we looked at ezGear’s powerStick (iLounge rating: B), a battery charger for Dock Connecting iPods. ezGear has also introduced powerStick Shuffle ($22.98), an almost identical accessory designed for use with the small, wearable iPod shuffle.
You pop four batteries into either version of the powerStick, connect your iPod to a short attached cable (here, a USB port), and flip a black power switch to turn on the current. A green light shows that power’s on, and your iPod goes into charging mode. With the powerStick Shuffle, your iPod shuffle’s front and back lights also go on, becoming solid green when charging is complete. The powerStick has no remaining charge indicator; you just use it until its batteries run out.
While it’s not the smallest iPod shuffle battery accessory - that would be Apple’s iPod shuffle Battery Pack (iLounge rating: A-), which is slight enough to be wearable, and better designed aesthetically - this powerStick is cheaper by a few bucks and provides more power. We fully recharged the iPod shuffle twice from the powerStick, with a signficant partial charge on the third run, for an added 48 hours of play time beyond the shuffle’s internal battery. (On a second test with better batteries, we were able to recharge the iPod shuffle fully four times.) As with all replaceable cell battery chargers, your experience may vary based on the batteries you buy; ezGear’s didn’t come with a set, so we used what we had around. By comparison, Apple’s Pack with its included Energizers added between 20-22 hours.
Whether you’ll prefer the powerStick or the Apple Battery Pack will depend on your needs. For everyday convenience, we preferred Apple’s Pack by a bit, which goes anywhere the shuffle goes without requiring the powerStick’s added bulk. Given the shuffle’s uniquely small design, and its already-solid run time, we’re pretty confident that most people will be more satisfied with an equally portable pack that more than doubles its internal capacity, and is intended to be used concurrently.
However, travelers who plan to be away from power outlets for a while will find more to like about the powerStick. True, you might not want to carry it around every day while you’re using the shuffle, and its cost of battery replentishment is higher - it requires four AA batteries to Apple’s two AAAs, and unlike Apple’s, you’ll need to buy your own first set. That aside, it’s a good, recommendable product that worked well and won’t take up too much space in a traveler’s bag. Mostly because of the shuffle’s lower power consumption, it’s a more useful accessory for the shuffle than its older brother was for the full-sized iPod; it can bring your shuffle’s battery back from the dead multiple times. That alone makes it a good and worthwhile new offering.