MacAlly PowerLink 3-In-1 Battery Pack/Data Sync/Flash Drive for iPhone and iPod
Company: MacAlly, Inc.
Raise your hand if your iPhone battery does not last long enough, especially you iPhone 3G owners.
Have you ever been caught out in the wild with a dead, or nearly dead battery? Did you forget to bring the wall charger, or a cable to connect to your laptop to recharge? Do you need a flash drive to swap an important file with a co-worker?
If you answered yes to any of the above, take a look at MacAlly’s PowerLink for iPhone. It’s a small, easy to pack dongle that combines an emergency iPhone battery, a 2 GB flash drive, and a USB passthrough to connect the iPhone to a computer.
The Weeks Division of MyMac Labs carried a Powerlink for a week in our workhorse Brenthaven laptop case. Here’s what we found.
In a nutshell, the PowerLink works as advertised. The 2GB flash drive feature, which comes formatted for DOS, performed as well as any of the five flash drives in our collection. Read/write speed averaged about 2 MB/sec; that’s not blazing, but right in the middle of the pack. Don’t be bothered by the fact the PowerLink comes formatted for DOS, as that allows the unit to be easily mounted on a Windows PC.
The ability to connect the iPhone to a computer’s USB port without having to carry, find, and untangle a separate USB-iPhone cable was a pleasure. When I connected my iPhone 3G to my MacBook Pro, the iPhone drooped a bit as it touched the desk. This may put a small amount of strain on the dock connector. The connector fit is a just a bit loose, so there are appears to be no significant amount of stress. But I’d be more concerned if the fit was very tight, as the iPhone would be supported only by the dock connector, and not be able to droop enough to touch the desk.
Perhaps the most important capability of the PowerLink is its ability to provide emergency power for the iPhone. PowerLink has 270mAh Li-ion battery built in. Caveat emptor (buyer beware); the PowerLink does NOT recharge the iPhone battery, it acts as an external battery pack. Your extra talk time will depend on the amount of juice left in the iPhone. MacAlly advertises the PowerLink provides 25 minutes of talk time when plugged into a dead iPhone. While we did not test our review unit with a totally dead iPhone, we did find the PowerLink kept our iPhone alive quite a bit longer once the “low battery” warning popped up.
During normal iPhone use, you won’t have the PowerLink connected; it’s an emergency power supply. You need to be careful when using it for emergency power. I shudder to think of the repair cost if you whack the PowerLink while it’s plugged into the iPhone, and rip the dock connector loose.
Conclusion: We like the PowerLink for iPhone. It’s a handy multi-function accessory that allows you to not carry an extra cable and flash drive, plus it provides up to 25 minutes of power for a dead-battery iPhone. Our main concern was having to be very careful not to knock the PowerLink when it was plugged into the iPhone.