The iPad is not just a cool gadget that you use now and then, for many it is in their hands all day long. And the last thing you want to do is tether your iPad to the wall to charge it before your day is done. Granted, battery life is pretty good, but if you find yourself using 3G a lot or in some other way burning thru your battery faster than you’d like, seriously consider picking up a PowerBack case from Kensington.
At first glance you’ll notice that it’s very well made, in fact even the box in came was so nice, you may not want to throw it away. The iPad itself fits perfectly by sliding it in from the top. The plastic has a good soft touch feel and will last for a long time. All of the buttons are easily accessible. There is a button on the side which you can press to see an indication of how much charge is left (1 to 4 blue lights). One of the best and most unique features of this case is its ability to work as a stand in all three positions. Typing tilt, upright landscape, and the most rare upright portrait. The later is especially useful when viewing PDFs or using apps not designed for landscape orientation. A negative point on this is that by using a metal rod as the support in all these ways, it really has to have a stable surface to rest on. I can’t put it on my lap in typing tilt mode, and using it on a bed is even a little unstable.
As a battery extender it’s outstanding. On a typical day my iPad would always be below 15% by the time I went to bed. With the power back I was able to use it all day long and still have over 60% battery life left. Even though I technically didn’t need the extra juice, psychologically it’s nice to use it all day and still have so much power to spare. The other way it can be used is as a mobile charging station. Since the case is a bit bulky and offers no screen protection, you may want to go ahead and use a slimmer case during the day. Then when power gets low, slide it in the PowerBack and you’re ready to keep going.
Generally it synced and charged just fine using a standard micro USB cable. Though on one occasion we had some trouble with the iPad recognizing it as a charger. It was plugged in all night and it charged up the PowerBack but the iPad was still dead. One more note on charging. There was no wall charger included. Most will use their PC to charge and USB wall chargers are easy to come by, but it would have been a nice touch to include one in the box. Overall it is a very nice product that does what it says, it extends the battery life of your iPad. This in turn extends your productivity (or your entertainment). If you travel a lot or just can’t stop playing Angry Birds, this is a must have accessory for your iPad. The Kensington Powerback can be found on Amazon for $59 or $79.99 at Kensington’s online store.
Good: Long battery life. Functional as a stand. Can charge/sync swith any standard micro USB.
Bad: Bulky. No screen protection. Stand has limitations. No included charger included.