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Critical Golf: Unbiased Golf Equipment Reviews

Energizer AP1500 (iPower)

Energizer AP1500 (iPower)

Score

B

Grade

86

Our overall impression of the Energizer AP1500 (which is also marketed as the Energizer iPower) is that it falls into the middle tier of the iPhone battery extenders that we tested – it excels in some aspects (3-year warranty! Super lightweight!) and falls short in others (disappointing recharging power). Note that the AP-1500 is made by XPAL Power, who apparently licenses the “Energizer” brand name, and NOT the Energizer Battery Company.

SCORE
86
GRADE
B
Ease of Set-Up
88
Size/Weight
88
Style
84
Battery Life / Usage Impressions
84
Value
84

Retail price: $79.99


88 / B+

Ease of Set-Up

The Energizer AP1500 comes with a USB-mini cable (mini-cables have a small connector, but not as small as a micro cable). The instruction manual is clear and concise, which is always helpful, since even with simple devices like battery packs, there are variations in how competing products operate. But here’s an oddity – the manual states that the USB cable of the AP1500 only serves to charge the device, and that you can’t sync to iTunes through the AP1500. But when we plugged it in, the iPhone went through the sync process. Color us confused…

One minor nit we experienced is that the rubber cap that covers the input receptacle of the USB-micro cable when it is not being charged tore off the first time we unplugged the cable from the AP1500. Not a big deal, since most other devices don’t even provide a protective cap, but it always makes us sad when stuff breaks.

The AP1500 has a blue power bar on the front of the device that indicates the remaining charge. Pressing a small button on the left side lights up the power bar. While the power bar looks like it provides an infinite amount of precision on the remaining charge, it’s actually no different from the other battery extenders in that it is only illuminated in 4 different sectors, which indicate the remaining charge level (4 illuminated lights means between 100% and 75% charge remaining, 3 illuminated lights means between 75% and 50% charge remaining, etc.)

As a side note, the Energizer AP1500 is certified by Apple as “Made for iPhone.” Even though the certification isn’t a huge differentiator among the products we tested (the Trent IMP190 is the only one not certified), we still appreciate the comfort that the iPhone will not explode when you plug it into the battery extender that you just bought.


88 / B+

Size/Weight

The Energizer AP1500 takes the crown as the lightest iPhone battery extender in our comparison test, coming in at 2.2 ounces (as tested). Note that the AP1500’s web site page actually lists it heavier, at 2.9 ounces. That’s not good marketing! Oddly enough, the AP1500 takes up a fair amount of space – with an iPhone installed, the combined device is about 0.5″ longer, 0.23″ wider, and 0.1″ deeper than an iPhone itself, making it one of the larger devices we tested.


84 / B

Style

The AP1500 looks pretty much like most of the other iPhone battery packs. Made of plastic, it is somewhat unique in having little bumps at certain spots on the side of the device that help the user maintain a steady grip. The AP1500 does not cover the top of the iPhone, thus leaving the camera lens, headset jack, ring/silent switch and sleep/wake button unobscured (strategic cutaways also provide access to the volume buttons). The downside is that you don’t get the added bonus of a protective case if you were to drop the iPhone on its top half. Those hoping to express their individuality with a battery packs should look elsewhere – the AP1500 only comes in shiny black with a white interior.


84 / B

Battery Life / Usage Impressions

The Energizer AP1500 finished in the back half of the pack in our performance testing. This isn’t surprising, as we would expect a trade-off for the light weight. For details on our performance testing methodology, see our description of “How We Test.”

  • At 1500 mAh (milliamp hours), the capacity of the AP1500 is at the median among the battery extenders we tested. The packaging actually states that the capacity is 1200 mAh, but the specifications on the web site list it at 1500, and the name of the product itself seems to support 1500 as well.
  • In our “real world” test on the golf course, the Energizer AP1500 averaged approximately 26% battery life remaining after a round, finishing last in our test – yikes! This doesn’t quite put you at a desperation level for power, but it does leave you looking for a recharge at the earliest opportunity.
  • Strangely, the AP1500 performed much better in our recharging test. We were typically able to recharge a completely drained iPhone up to about 60% using the Energizer AP1500 (which took about 1 hour and 45 minutes). Note that our “real world” test includes more variables (the length of the round, the network coverage, and the satellite reception on a given day), so the poor golf course performance could be the result of a statistically insignificant sample size.
  • As mentioned above, the device is made of smooth plastic, which makes it easy to slip in and out of your pocket. This is particularly handy for quick access on the golf course. The bumpy texture provided at key spots on the sides helped keep the iPhone in our hands, and not on the concrete.

84 / B

Value

With a retail price of $79.99, the Energizer AP1500 falls into the median of iPhone battery pack pricing. At that price, we have a tough time endorsing the product, as it falls short on charging performance and doesn’t deliver any aesthetic “wow” factor. Still, we recommend doing a price check before you make any decision, as most iPhone battery packs can be purchased at prices significantly below MSRP.