Gary Steel found that he just couldn’t get through the day. Then he found the answer.
There comes a time, however, when you put your foot down. That downward stomping of our main walking mechanism may coincide with a temporary decline in one’s financial health, or simply rage against the machinations of temptation. In my case it was a bit of both: struggling on freelance so-called wages, and with a new mouth to feed to boot, I had to very carefully review the “replace-replace, the latest is the greatest” methodology that had taken hold when I was editing an old-fashioned glossy technology magazine. But the way a certain company keeps expecting its admirers to buy new every year had also started to rankle.
First I found that my 2007 iMac was considered prehistoric, and that although I had copious terabytes of backup disc, and had added the maximum number of supplemental RAM available, and updated systems each time they demanded me to, I was basically running a dunger. Okay, 2007 is old when technology is marching along so furiously, but it seems to me that the built-in obsolescence is largely intentional. The iMac’s biggest problem seemed to be lack of processing power, so that it had difficulty even resolving the latest Mac operating system, which just seems stupid. But in the end, I got tired of the iMac glitching out or chundering to a dead stop, so I remortgaged the house and got a reasonably powerful MacBook Pro that I hope will carry me through to when they just put the latest chipset in our heads.
I’m pretty much glued to my computer, so it needs to work, and efficiently so. But I don’t like cellphones much. I’m on a low-cost plan because I don’t like using them for calls, and find them mostly great for accepting important calls, texting, and keeping up with my email when I’m out of the office. That, and my iPhone is often used when I’m on the go to find information about an address or a restaurant or a CD I’m looking at in a store. That’s why I’m still using an iPhone 4S. I mean – it seems like yesterday that it was being touted as the latest thing. But I guess I’m showing my age there.
It’s been so tempting to update to the very pretty newest versions of the iPhone, or even (shudder) throw my Apple allegiance to the wind and invest (ha!) in the equivalent high-end Samsung device. But not only don’t I have the cash, I also can’t justify the expense, given the circumstantial evidence exposed above.
I can cope with an iPhone in which the camera just does its job without being really special, and I really don’t care about a screen that’s a little less hi-res, although at times I do wish its processing power had a little more, uh… gusto! But the thing that drives me nuts is the fact that I need to plug the damn thing in and charge it up again every single day. Yes, it’s true that I probably forget to turn off certain things that are known as hungry little power suckers (like needlessly updating apps and Bluetooth and whatnot) but still, it seems just ridiculous that a smartphone won’t remain packed with the goodness of real power for say, a week at a time. That way I could actually build it into my schedule, and charge it on a specific day, rather than looking down and realising with horror that right in the middle of a busy day its battery is screaming at me for a quick plug.
It suddenly dawned on me that what I needed was a battery pack. I wasn’t even sure that there would be a compatible power pack available for my iPhone 4S, but that was solved by the Mophie Juice Pack Plus For iPhone 4S (and 4), available online from Mobile Fun. It arrived merely days after I ordered it, fully charged already, so I discarded the ailing and battered original shell, and snapped on this handsome black beast.
The very next day I had to hightail it down country for a couple of days. Normally, I would have had to take my iPhone charger with me, but this time, I decided it was worth the risk to fly free. I wasn’t disappointed. There’s nothing worse than finding yourself in a strange town with a half dead smartphone and no way to charge it, so it did feel rather like freefalling, but importantly, the Mophie had the necessary juice to get me through my few days away.
The accompanying literature reckons that the Mophie “more than doubles the battery power of your iPhone”, and I agree. Yes, I still have to charge it at least once a week, but gone is the horrendous need for my iPhone to suck the teet of the electricity grid every single day, and gone is the fear that when I go out for the day, I’ll have to find somewhere to plug it in, or it’ll let me down at the least convenient moment.
The Mophie is also a really tough case, a hard plastic that’s got a rubbery feel to the fingers. And although it adds a little weight to the iPhone, that’s a small price to pay. What I also like about it is that charging (or connecting to the USB of your computer) is easy, even though it eschews the proprietary Mac connector. At first, I was scared as hell to snap the thing open when I wanted to get at the phone (although there’s really no need), but once you get the knack, you realise it’s not going to break, and that you simply need a bit of heft in the just the right place to disentangle the phone from the power pack/case.
Probably the only thing I found a little bit annoying was that my 56-year-old eyes found it hard to read the tiny type face of the user manual, but that’s a small point, as I’m sure there’s a more readable version of it online somewhere, and who really needs instructions for a battery pack/case, anyway? It’s all fairly self-explanatory.
Thanks to Mophie, my gadget angst has vanished, at least for now. Phew! GARY STEEL
* The Mophie Juice Pack Plus For iPhone 4S (and 4), and a huge range of other smartphone and tablet accessories, is available from Mobile Fun.