MiLi Power Skin for iPhone 3G and 3GS Review

DSC_0485Until we get an iPhone 4, which offers slightly better battery, we’re going to be living on the wild side using a phone that might not make it to see tomorrow on a single charge. All of us iPhone power users know it’s not too difficult to kill the iPhone battery in half a day. It’s not possible to always be around a charger, especially if you’re on the move. That’s where MiLi’s Power Skin comes in to play. Simply attach this two-piece shell to your iPhone 3G or 3GS and enjoy many more hours of constant usage. It will almost double your battery life, offering an extra 10 hours of 2G talk time (4.5 hours on 3G), 20-27 hours of audio playback, and 6-9 hours of video playback.

What’s Included:
1 x MiLi Power Skin for iPhone 3G and 3GS
1 x MiLi Pocketpal USB Power Adapter
1 x Mini-USB Cable
1 x Users Manual

Set Up:
Set up is simple. First, charge the Power Skin. It may come slightly pre-charged, but you will want to fully charge it before first using it. Plug the supplied USB cable into the USB Power Adapter and plug the mini-USB end into the bottom of the MiLi Power Skin. There is a small rubber cover over the Mini-USB port that you can pop out with your finger nail. The rubber cover is attached to the device so you won’t lose it. Charge the case until the battery the blinking indicator is displaying 4 LEDS. This means it is fully charged. Your Power Skin is now ready to take on the go. Power Skin will not begin feeding your iPhone juice until the battery button on the side is pushed.
You can also charge your iPhone and Power Skin at the same time by plugging in the Mini-USB charger to the Power Skin with the iPhone inside of the case. Your iPhone will be charged first, and then the Power Skin will be charged. Syncing your iPhone with iTunes works in the same fashion using the mini-USB cable.

Since the MiLi power skin is a shell made of glossy white or glossy black plastic, it looks just like a slightly fatter iPhone (without the Apple logo on the back). There are cut outs for all of the ports and buttons, except the 30 Pin Dock connector. MiLi Power Skin uses your iPhone’s 30 pin dock connector to charge your phone. On the side of the device is a discreet button and 4 status LEDS. Each LED represents 25% of battery power. As mentioned, Power Skin is a two piece shell. The top part of the shell is just plastic and it’s function is to complete the case’s seal around the iPhone. This piece stays on tight, you will need to use your nail and provide a decent amount of pressure to remove it. Power Skin is made with a black or white exterior and a slew of interior colors that you will never see once the case is covering your iPhone. On the bottom of the case is the Mini-USB Charging Port, which will charge both the Power Skin and the iPhone, and will also work to sync your iPhone. There is a rubber cover over this port. The face of your iPhone will stick out from the power skin by a millimeter or two. This seems to be a design flaw; you have this huge case on your phone, but it will do nothing when it comes to protecting the front of your phone.

MiLi works as it should. There is no doubt that it offers your iPhone a sufficient amount of battery to really get a full day of usage at the very least. A very important feature of MiLi Power Skin is that you choose when you want it to start charging your phone. I recommend charging once your iPhone is about 30%. It is supposed to stop charging once your iPhone is at 100% battery power, but this action was not immediate. The amount of time it took to transfer all power from MiLi to your iPhone will vary; my tests were all just under 2 hours. The battery charge got better every time I used MiLi, I suppose the battery needs to be broken in. Eventually, I was able to charge my phone to almost 75% capacity. This was using an iPhone 3GS with 3G turned on, and little to no usage while charging. The MiLi powerskin adds some noticeable bulk to your iPhone in addition to some noticeable heft. It weighs almost one half of the iPhone. Personally, I had more of an issue with the bulkiness than the weight, but for the added battery power it was worth it.

Sometimes it’s not easy for us to conserve iPhone battery so we can make it to the end of the day. We always want to have battery power in case of an emergency, isn’t that the real point of having a cell phone? If you want sufficient battery life to last you, at the very least, a full day, then you’re going to have to deal with the tradeoff: bulk and heft. There are a bunch of chargers out there now, but only a few that attach to your iPhone like an actual case. MiLi is one of the nicest we’ve seen, and yes, it’s a tiny bit thinner than the others (Mophie’s Juice Pack and InCase’s PowerSlider). Keep in mind, you don’t need to have the Power Skin on your phone at all times, only when it’s charging. That makes MiLi’s Power Skin is great to leave in your purse or backpack. I also found it very handy at home; I can move around my house freely with my iPhone while it’s charging itself up for a night on the town. It is available now with a glossy white or glossy black exterior. The interior of the case is available in some wild colors, but this aspect of the case will never be seen when attached to the iPhone. It can be purchased for as low as $50, which is roughly the going rate for these types of charging cases.

Good: Almost doubles your iPhone battery, maintains same iPhone look and feel, charging status lights on side
Bad: Adds bulk to your iPhone, does not protect face of iPhone.

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