My iPod Mini Battery Adventure

On April 4, 2007, in iPod Mini, Opinion, Review, by Rich Lefko


My iPod Mini Battery Adventure
Company: Other World Computing

Price: Variable-Depends on the iPod and shipping method
http://www.macsales.com

I’ve had an original first gen ipod mini for several years now. I have not replaced it with a newer iPod, simply because it provides everything I need an iPod for, and that is music. For me, watching a movie on a 2.5” screen just doesn’t cut it. If Apple ever comes out with a bigger screen iPod, I might rethink that. But I digress….

Over the years I’ve found that I frequently need to charge my mini up….and it’s becoming more frequent every week. For instance, after fully charging it up just yesterday, I got about 2 hours out of it before the little battery symbol was down at zero. This becomes a real hassle because I MUST remember to charge it up every night, otherwise I have to fumble with cables and the power port in my car in the morning, which is a real drag.

So I started researching the replacement of my battery. There are companies that will just sell you a battery, or a battery and tools, or a battery with full installation.

One of the first places I looked at was Other World Computing. I’ve done business with this company many times, and I find their quality great, and their customer service superior. On their site I found they offer the standard fare, battery, battery w/tools, full installation. Since I do lots of my own computer repair, I figured I’d just do it myself. One of the many useful things to see at the OWC site is their tech center. They have many videos of various hardware installations. In fact, I used their video of memory and Hard Drive installation to upgrade my Macbook’s HD and memory. These “How To” videos can even be downloaded at different quality settings based on your connection speed.

I downloaded the iPod Mini battery replacement movie and watched it. I was willing to try it myself until they got to the part about heating the unit up to soften the adhesive that keeps the top and bottom caps glued on. Not really my cup of tea.

So I decided at that point I was going to have someone else install the battery.

Sure, OWC can do the job, but I like choice and I am a shopper at heart, always looking for the best deal.
Another search of the web yielded another company that also does the iPod battery installation. iResQ. Both OWC and IResQ offer basically the same service. They will replace your current Mini battery (400mAh) with a new 650mAh battery…adding a whopping 50% longer run time. iResQ will also do other repairs and even offers a larger HD for the mini. Since there is nothing wrong with my iPod, and I didn’t need to expand it, I decided to only compare the battery replacement services.

For a $54 flat fee, iResQ will send a DHL custom “iBox” to your door for packing. There are other shipping options available. Then pick it up the next day, and turn your iPod around the same day and return it overnight, the next business day. I’m sure some of that timing depends on where you live. Now I’m a Logistics Manager in real life and I had some questions about the pick up and turn around, so I sent an email off to them. The reply I got was less than adequate, only one of the 4 questions I asked was answered and it took a day to get a response. I don’t know about you, but it bugs me when I ask simple questions and don’t get answers back, forcing me to ask again. In today’s world, I simple don’t ask again….I move on. I really don’t have the time to chase people. My logic is simple….if you can’t give me the customer service I expect when I’m seeking you out initially as a business, what can I expect once I’ve given you my money, especially if I have a problem???

On to OWC…
For $58.99 OWC offers the same capacity battery and a similar pick up service. OWC promises that once received your iPod battery will be replaced with 24 hours and on it’s way back to you within 72 hours…..those are “business day” hours, Monday through Friday. The big difference between OWC and iResQ is the initial shipping of the box to you. With OWC you choose how fast you want that box sent to you and you pay the shipping on that shipment as well. For example, I chose the Fedex 2 Day option that cost me an additional $9.80. Bringing the total for OWC to $66.94. You can choose cheaper options to keep the price down, but they take longer. For example, UPS Ground would only cost $4.50. This may be the case with iResQ as well, but I couldn’t get an answer……remember?
I sent the exact same set of questions to OWC that I sent to IResQ. After sending the mail, I immediately got a “received” response from OWC. I had a response from OWC support that evening, about 2 hours later. Each question was answered.

After looking at these two options I decided I was going to use OWC….for three reasons.
1) I like their support. If I have a problem/issue, I know they will respond.
2) I don’t like DHL. I am a logistics professional in real life and DHL is NOT a very good carrier. While FEDEX has its downside as well, they are more reliable than DHL in my experience.
3) I know OWC. It’s a good company, and they have always made things right if they went wrong.
For me, these 3 reasons were worth the extra $12.94.

The waiting game
I placed the order on Friday and a FEDEX box arrived at my door Tuesday evening, which was the correct timeframe. The box had the replacement battery in it, and a padded shipping envelope while inside the box was an insert that suspended your iPod in a way that would prevent any shocks. A clear instruction sheet with pictures was provided. Following the instruction sheet, I placed my iPod in the padded shipping envelope, and placed the envelope between the insert. I then filled out the requested information. It asked for my iPod Serial number, which I thought was a good idea for me to jot down to be sure I got MY iPod back. In addition, I also took some digital pictures of my iPod on all sides, just in case a new “ding” or dent showed up. I then filled out the air waybill, checked off the “overnight P1” option, closed and taped the box shut.

The next day, I took the box to a Kinko’s (which is owned by FEDEX) and handed it over for shipment. That was at 5PM on Wednesday evening.

The next morning I tracked my box on the FEDEX website and noted it’s delivery to OWC at 10AM Central time.
At this point, I expected my iPod the following Monday. I figured they would receive my iPod and it would get into the queue by Thursday with a Friday ship, even overnight, would not arrive until Monday.

Thursday morning my wife called and said, “there’s a box here for you”. I thought, “It couldn’t be possible?” But it was.
When I got home on Thursday evening, there was the box from OWC with my iPod in it. I unpacked the box and removed my iPod and examined it completely…..it looked exactly the same as the day I put it in the box…except maybe a tad cleaner.

I fired it up and all of my music was still there, nothing had changed. It had a half charge so I stuck it in the dock to fully charge it.

I am pleased to say that I have not run this battery down yet and it’s been on for a good 5 hours so far.
Overall, I am very pleased with the service from OWC.

Rated 4 out of 5—Due to the higher cost and a little difficulty understanding the order process on their website.

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