The iPad 2 is not just a cool gadget that you use now and then, for many it is in their hands all day long. And the last thing you want to do is to have to tether your iPad to the wall to charge it before your day is done. Granted, battery life on the iPad 2 is pretty good, but if you find yourself using 3G a lot or in some other way burning through your battery faster than you would like, you should seriously consider picking up a PowerBack case from Kensington.
At first glance you’ll notice that this accessory is very well made, in fact even the box in came was so nice, you may not want to throw it away. The iPad 2 itself fits perfectly by sliding it in from the top. The plastic has a good soft touch feel and seems like it will last for a long time. All of the buttons are easily accessible. There is a button on the side which you can press to see an indication of how much charge is left (1 to 4 blue lights). But one of the best and most unique features of this case is its ability to work as a stand in all three positions. Typing tilt, upright landscape, and the most rare upright portrait. The latter is especially useful when viewing PDFs or using apps not designed for landscape orientation. However, the negative aspect of this is that by using a metal rod for support in all these ways, the case really has to have a stable surface to rest on. I can’t put it on my lap in typing tilt mode, and using it on a bed is also unstable.
As a battery extender, the PowerBack case is outstanding. On a typical day my iPad would always end up below 15% by the time I went to bed. With the PowerBack I was able to use the iPad 2 all day long and still have over 60% battery life left at the end of the day. Even though I technically didn’t need the extra juice, psychologically it’s nice to use it all day and still have so much power to spare. The other way the PowerBack can be used is as a mobile charging station. Since the case is a bit bulky and offers no screen protection, you may want to go ahead and use a slimmer case during the day. Then when power gets low, slide the iPad in the PowerBack and you’re ready to keep going.
Generally, the PowerBack synced and charged just fine using a standard micro USB cable. Although on one occasion we had some trouble with the iPad recognizing it as a charger. It was plugged in all night and it charged up the PowerBack, but the iPad was still dead. Finally, one more note on charging – there is no wall charger included. Most will use their PC to charge and USB wall chargers are easy to come by, but it would have been a nice touch to include one in the box. Overall the PowerBack Case for iPad 2 is a very nice product that does what it says, it extends the battery life of your iPad. This in turn extends your productivity (or your entertainment). If you travel a lot or just can’t stop playing Angry Birds, this is a must have accessory for your iPad 2. The Kensington PowerBack Case can be found on Amazon for $59 or $79.99 at Kensington’s online store.
Good: Long battery life. Functional as a stand. Can charge/syncs with any standard micro USB.
Bad: Bulky. No screen protection. Stand has limitations. No included wall charger.