A trio of iPhone/iPod chargers for your perusal

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Quick Version: We take a look at three different iPhone/iPod chargers from Kensington, RichardSolo, and i.Sound, weighing the pros and cons of each.

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i.Sound 2-in-1 Charger and Backup Battery

  • MSRP: $49.99
  • Capacity: 1000mAh
  • Includes: Battery, proprietary zip-style cord, folding AC adapter

Pros: The i.Sound battery itself is small in size, and the charger and zip cord don’t take up much room either, so this kit would be great for travelling when bag space is limited. Plus, it’s small enough to actually use while it’s attached to your device. In a pinch, you could snap the battery to your iPhone or iPod without skipping a beat.

Cons: Don’t lose the proprietary power connector, or this thing will be all but useless. Plus, the 1000mAh capacity is well shy of a full recharge for the iPhone’s 1400mAh battery, for instance, so you’ll need to keep it diligently charged, too.

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RichardSolo 1800

  • MSRP: $69.95
  • Capacity: 1800mAh
  • Includes: Battery, mini-USB zip cord, wall charger, car charger with two USB ports, 2G and 3G protective tips (to prevent bending the connector), battery also features laser light and flashlight

Pros: Though the price tag can be off-putting at first, the RichardSolo 1800 kit features enough nerd-tastic extras to bring things back into line. You get an 1800mAh battery, which is good for a complete iPhone recharge and then some, plus you get a compact mini-USB zip cord, a dual-input USB car charger (which everyone needs anyway, right?), a wall charger, and two protective tips to prevent bending the connector.

And as if that wasn’t enough, the battery also has a built-in flashlight and laser pointer. Of course it does, why wouldn’t it? This is Richard Thalheimer, the former Shaper Image guy we’re talking about here. Plus, one of the most thoughtful features of these RichardSolo chargers is the double charging thing — plug your iPhone into the battery and then the battery into the wall and they’ll both charge up.

Cons: At almost the size of an iPhone itself, the RichardSolo 1800 isn’t great for actually using while you’re on the phone. That extra capacity comes at a price. You can, however, use the battery on its own as a laser pointer or flashlight.

Also, at almost $70, the 1800 places itself on the higher end of iPhone/iPod batteries. If you don’t need all the included extras, it might not be worth it for you.

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Kensington Battery Pack and Charger for iPhone and iPod

  • MSRP: $69.99
  • Capacity: 1800mAh
  • Includes: Battery, iPod cable, mini-USB cable, AC adapter

Pros: This Kensington kit suffers from an identity crisis in a good way. On the one hand, it’s a high-capacity iPhone/iPod charger; but you can also take the battery pack out of the equation and use the AC adapter and iPod cable as a standard wall charger. Plus, since the battery pack uses a standard USB connector, you can charge just about any USB-powered device, not just iPods and iPhones. So it’s a good all around charger for many of your portable devices.

Cons: From a traveler’s perspective, the Kensington charging kit does little to cut down on cords and, as such, takes up more packing space than most devices. Also, it’s definitely not a walk-and-talk solution if you need to juice up on the go but, again, you can use it for your other gadgets beyond just your Apple devices. It’s just a question of whether or not $70 for something like that is worth it to you.

Recommendation:

So which charger is right for you? The answer to that is the same as the answer to the question of what the insides of an old person’s pants smell like; Depends. If you need to walk and talk, take a look at the i.Sound. You could also check out the original RichardSolo that we reviewed earlier this year. If you want a pretty-much complete kit for your car and your home and you like to break out into spontaneous presentations or you find yourself caught in the dark a lot, then the RichardSolo 1800 has you covered. Or if you’re looking for a battery that’ll charge more that just your Apple products, perhaps the Kensington Battery Pack would serve you well.

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