Accessories: Nokia N8 External Battery Pack built into N8 case, unboxing, video demo, gallery and review
Since our first review products with MobileFun (with the OtterBox case for the N8) I had been perusing their site for some more Nokia N8 accessories which I thought you guys might like (specifically N8 as that’s the main Nokia I test now).
P.S. Click to enlarge the images.
Of the many things I’ve been looking at, this one has been pinned on by bookmarks bar since two Saturdays ago. I’ve been busy last week finishing redecoration so was not able to review anything (not unless you wanted to see these things covered in paint and plaster :p). An email to MobileFun on Thursday and it arrived Friday morning. Amazing stuff. This isn’t just for review units. It’s advertised on their page as one of the reasons to choose MobileFun (next day is great for any last minute gifts, no?).
As you can see, it’s an external battery pack for the Nokia N8. As such, I had to use it for a few days prior to releasing this review. I’ve seen quite a few tweets and facebook messages about this accessory so it seems one definitely worth checking out.
Here’s the link to the product page:
I love portable chargers. Particularly for the N8. You can’t really change the battery on the N8 on the fly (unless you have Litchfield skills) so keeping it juiced up by having a portable charger to plug is especially advantageous. However, it is slightly awkward to have to keep remembering to plug it in or worse, use whilst plugged in.
This case goes that extra step by being a portable charger for your N8 that integrates into your Nokia N8. This is particularly useful for a multimedia monster like the N8, when on a day out, travelling, or on holiday – you’ve just got one gadget essentially to think about. e.g. if you bring your N8 to gadget events for photos and videos, this would last you through extremely heavy use.
It’s possibly not as sleek as it could be but for what it does (giving you more than twice your usual battery life) it’s more than forgiveable. I need one of these for my Omnia 7 so I can stop charging it every day. My N8 still has full battery (Since Saturday, moderate use).
This is a touch lengthy, so let’s split it into four categories.
- Packaging and the case itself
- Battery Life
OK let’s look at it.
1) Packaging and the case itself
Here’s the packaging.
It comes in a clear hard plastic box case, which I think looks good and provides good protection for the product during transit (the package itself is send in a bubblewrapped envelope).
Now this case opens easily AT THE BOTTOM. There is a small plastic circle that you take off and open out easily like a hinge (I got in the hard way at the top – yeah avoid that).
Inside this plastic box is a foam padded cardboard that houses your case-come-battery pack. No instructions came with this.
The case is a hard, black plastic but with a kind of suede texture to it, helping it to be more grippy than, say, just a naked N8. This case doesn’t completely enclose the N8, it’s still exposed at the top. This possibly makes it easier to insert the N8 into a hard case for sliding in.
The Nokia N8 has two options for charging. The 2mm pin at the bottom or the MicroUSB port at the side.
The case takes advantage of this design by using the 2mm to plug into your N8 keeping it constantly on charge.
I thought it would be difficult to align the pin perfectly (and thus not break it) but no, you just slide the N8 into the case, pushing from the top of the N8 and it pops right in to the charging pin.
This is an important concern since this is what connects this charger to your N8 – one of the issues I’ve had with portable chargers is the wearing away of the connection point (or cable). You can’t really get it that wrong as once the N8 is about 1cm from the pin, it is already aligned by the rigid sides of the case and cannot move to be misaligned.
To remove, just pull the N8 out – the easiest way is to hold the sides of the charger case and the sides of the N8, pulling the N8.
To charge just flick the switch on at the bottom. A green light will come on and you will see the N8’s battery icon do the charging animation.
It’s up to you when you want to turn this on or off.
The bottom of the case also has two charging ports, one for another 2mm pin insert and a microUSB slot – giving you the option to charge it either way.
When charging, the LED light is red. When finished, the LED light just turns off.
The case adds about 5mm on top of the recessed camera portion. It’s a thickness a N97/N900 owner would not mind.
Since the case doesn’t completely enclose the N8, you’ve still got direct access to the microSD slot (not that most people change this that often anyway) and the volume and power key.
The cutout for the micro-USB slot makes this accessible, and there are new charging ports at the bottom (2mm and microUSB) to charge the case).
The cutouts at the side though do make it difficult to reach the lock switch with your thumb and the shutter button with an index finger. A good tip here is to follow the design of the otterbox, which didn’t just make a hole for access to the switch, but angled the entrance to that hole so that even a fat thumb can still use it with a case. Similarly the camera shutter portion could have possibly been improved by having a layer of silicone to press over it. The camera shutter button is still usable, though I’d recommend using the touch button. With the lock switch, my fat index finger had to resort to using the nail. (If you can’t do that, you can still lock using the power button).
There is no elegant solution for the wrist strap. It does fit but looks odd.
I love how I can just be away from any charger, essentially just holding one product and if I see by battery is dropping, I just flick a switch and the N8 will charge itself. It reminds be of the phantom Symbian bug where the charger keeps doing the charge motion when it isn’t connected to anything. But actually, yes it does charge.
3. Battery life
This is possibly the most important part since this is what you wanted from the case-charger.
As noted, 1500mAh from this pack. Add the 1200mAh already in your N8 and you’ve got 2700mAh altogether.
Well, we started our test on Saturday and in normal use the N8 itself still holds charge. We will update this post accordingly after longer testing.
There are some battery life times printed on the case packaging – this looks to be just the case on its own. Note: extend battery life by reducing what’s being multitasked. i.e. if you’re just watching a video, turn off the browser, gravity, games etc in the background, Bluetooth and WiFi too if you can.
|Talk Time||6h (mix 2G/3G)||6.5h||12.5h|
|Standby||390h||390h||780h (12 days)|
|Internet||4h (3G) 5h (WiFi)||6.5h (3G) 8G (WiFi)||10.5 (3G) 13H (WiFi)|
|Audio Play||25h (online) 50h (offline)||31h||56h|
|Video Play||5h 720p H.264||9H (codec not stated)||14H?|
Videos in H.264 and in standard definition will improve on battery life.
Most likely, unless travelling, you’d be doing a combination of these on a day to day basis. What ever you can get with your N8 now, you’ll double it and a little more.
Now this case isn’t going to be for everyone. Immediately, it will not be for any fans who don’t like cases full stop and just want the naked glory of the N8 on its own.
Nor might it for someone who might not be able to handle the extra chubbiness, and as noted there is a little difficulty in getting to the lock switch and shutter button. The general aesthetics may also be a concern, but looking at similar cases for other phones, this does look to be the standard design (e.g. versions for iPhone 3GS, though recent iPhone 4 ones to blend in better, possibly helped by the simplistic flat rectangular design).
However, if you want a convenient way to have extra battery power (more photos and videos to capture, more music listening, longer maps use, longer gaming, more films to watch etc) then I highly recommend this.
In comparison with dedicated portable chargers, you don’t have that extra step of having to plug the N8 in, and also it’s much easier to use the N8 whilst it is simultaneously being charged – no dangling wires. However, being built into the N8 case, it does mean of course it will only be suitable for the N8 (unlike other portable chargers that can charge any Nokia and other gadgets too).
I’ve already seen many tweets and facebook posts that seem really happy about this product for the Nokia N8. This is a worthwhile accessory to consider. The folks at MobileFun do offer a 30 day window by which to return this power pack case if you don’t want it. If you’re travelling often, on holiday, going on a day out or away from a plug for some time, this is a useful piece of kit to have for your N8.
Comparison with the OtterBox
tl:dr – Great charger come case, if you can stand the appearance and bulk it’s worth trying out and getting as it will supercharge your N8.