iOS devices have always had battery issues for heavy users. Each new model comes with a bigger battery, but that battery often serves a higher resolution screen, added radios, a faster processor and other features.
There are a variety of battery packs for sale that you can use when you are away from AC or a USB charging port, and there are also integrated battery cases that add some weight and thickness to your iPhone or iPad. Either type of battery pack can get you through a long, data-heavy day.
UNU has a most interesting offering that's just become available. It's an external battery pack called the Superpak (US$39.99 on sale) with a hefty 10,000 mAh rechargeable battery. Some smart software on board can charge iOS devices up to 2X faster than most chargers, and it automatically adjusts to each device plugged in to figure out the device's maximum charging speed.
2 charging ports; 5v/2.1 amp and 5v/1 amp
10,000 mAH Lithium Polymer Battery
Micro USB in from a standard USB cord (included)
4 LEDs to show charging state of the battery pack
Special cable that supports either a micro USB connection or a lightning cable (included)
Colors: Black or white
Dimensions: 3.5 x 3.1 x 0.9 inches
Weight: 8.8 ounces
1 year warranty
The unit itself looks very sturdy, with a hard plastic case. One end lists the specifications of the unit. The other end has a power switch to initiate charging, a micro-USB port for charging the battery pack, 2 output ports and a cord with a fitting that provides both micro-USB and Lightning connections to your device. The top of the case holds the four LED charging indicators -- when all four are lit up, the Superpak is fully charged.
Using the Superpak
The Superpak is simplicity defined -- just plug it in and charge it up. When it's fully charged, it's ready to recharge your iOS devices. Using both ports, you can charge an iPhone and an iPad at the same time. While I don't have scientific tests to back my claim, charging was rapid. My iPhone 6 went from 70% to 90 percent charge using the 1 amp port in about 15 minutes. Using the 2.1 amp port, the iPhone 6 went from 90 percent to fully charged in just a hair over 10 minutes. A fully depleted Superpak can recharge from AC power in five to six hours.
Some third party tests say that the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus can charge twice as fast with a 2.1 Amp charger, and I've certainly confirmed those results with my iPhone 6. Apple's stock charger is only 1 Amp, so this battery will surely speed the process up if you use the 2.1 Amp port. Using the faster port, expect an iPhone 6 to charge from 10 percent to full in just about an hour. You can charge the UNU battery at the same time you are charging an iOS device.
The only missing is a case. I think all battery cases should have a carry case, and this one doesn't.
Summary and final thoughts
The UNU Superpak is a solid piece of hardware with an unusually high power output. It charges rapidly, handles multiple devices, and includes a Lightning connector making it fully compatible with the newer iPhones and iPads.
Basically, potential iPhone users will have to decide between this kind of charging or an integrated battery case. I've used both, but manufacturers are beginning to get less excited about integrated cases, as are consumers it seems. I've had battery cases, but a new phone usually means the battery case won't fit anymore. They also add a lot of bulk to the svelte iPhone designs. More than one battery/case designer has told me they are planning on curtailing those cases in favor of form factors like the UNU. Still, UNU expects to offer integrated battery cases for the new iPhones soon, to meet customer demand from those that don't want to carry the extra pack.
The UNU Superpak is available direct or from Amazon at the same sale price. It's the most powerful battery charger I've seen for iOS devices, and the clever cable that can provide micro-USB and Lightning connectors is really useful. Recommended.