MiLi Power Pack
The MiLi Power Pack is the workhorse among the iPhone battery extenders we tested. It’s not much of a looker, but it showed significantly better recharging power than its competitors. If maximizing the time between recharging is of utmost importance to you, then look no further than the MiLi.
Retail price: $99.95
Ease of Set-Up
The MiLi Power Pack comes with a USB-mini cable (mini-cables have a small connector, but not as small as a micro cable). When the iPhone is connected to the MiLi, plugging the MiLi into a computer with the USB cable will charge both the iPhone and the MiLi, and will also sync the iPhone to iTunes on the computer. A nifty feature of the MiLi is that it has a USB out port as well, so you can use it to charge any other device that has a USB charging cable, like a BlackBerry or an iPod. Sweet!
You have the option to use the MiLi solely as an emergency back-up battery because it has a “power” button – even when the iPhone is docked in the MiLi, charging will not begin until the “power” button is pressed. The MiLi sports 4 blue lights on the front of the device that indicate the available charge. Pressing the “power” button will illuminate the lights (4 illuminated lights means between 100% and 75% charge remaining, 3 illuminated lights means between 75% and 50% charge remaining, etc.).
The MiLi Power Pack is certified by Apple as “Works With iPhone,” but we experienced some bugginess while charging that made us question the value of the certification (or the rigor with which certification testing is done). Every once in awhile when we were recharging the iPhone solely through the MiLi, the phone would stop charging (with the accompanying audible chirp) and display a yellow warning that read “Charging is not supported with this accessory.” If we disconnected and reconnected the iPhone to the MiLi, we received a different warning in a grey box that read “This accessory is not made to work with iPhone. Charging is not supported with this accessory.” It would then present the option to “Dismiss” – which, when we pushed the button, would re-initiate charging. We were always able to ultimately complete a full recharge, but the hassle of it prompted us to dock the MiLi a few points.
One additional complaint – the instruction manual could use a bit of editing by a native English speaker (“Press the power button to start charging in condition of no external electrical source connected”).
The MiLi Power Pack tied for the heaviest device in our comparison test, weighing 2.8 ounces (as tested), and was also one of the bulkiest battery extenders. If you’re looking to maintain the iPhone’s svelte form factor, the MiLi is not the product for you.
The MiLi Power Pack does not cover the top of the iPhone, thus leaving the camera lens, headset jack, ring/silent switch, volume buttons and sleep/wake button unobscured. The corollary, of course, is that you do not get the benefit of a full protective cover.
The MiLi is made of shiny plastic, and comes with either a black exterior (with your choice of a blue, green, grey or black interior) or white exterior (with your choice of an orange, green, gray or white interior). In our eyes, however, the bulk of the device overshadows any style points you hoped to gain by picking a snazzy color combination.
Battery Life / Usage Impressions
Oh, but the bulk of the MiLi Power Pack is put to good use when it comes time to charge the iPhone. The MiLi easily outdistanced its competitors to win top honors in both our “real world” and our recharging tests. For details on our performance testing methodology, see our description of “How We Test.”
- At 2000 mAh (milliamp hours), the MiLi Power Pack had the largest capacity among the battery packs we tested.
- In our “real world” test on the golf course, the MiLi averaged 78% battery life remaining after a round – significantly more than the competition.
- We were always able to completely recharge a completely drained iPhone up to 100% in about 3 hours. On occasion, we were able to subsequently use the MiLi to recharge the iPhone (after we completely drained the iPhone again) up to an additional 10%. Nice!
- 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.
We were torn in our assessment of the value of the MiLi Power Pack. With a retail price of $99.95, it was the most expensive iPhone battery extender we tested. On top of that, the glitches we occasionally experienced while charging were frustrating. But we see plenty of evidence that most retailers don’t charge anywhere near MSRP (it seems to retail on Amazon for less than half of that, and even PhoneSuit, the maker of the device, is selling the MiLi Power Pack on its own web site for $79.95). And it does provide more juice than anyone else. So in the end, we awarded a B+ on value – it’s pretty good, but there’s room for improvement.