Mobius Solar iPhone Rechargeable Battery Case

Mobius Rechargeable Battery Case with Solar Panel for iPhone 4 and 4S
Company: Eton
Price: $80

The Eton Mobius is a charger for the iPhone 4 and 4S that offers two methods for extending the life of your phone’s battery. Slip your phone into the Mobius case and use the provided device connector to charge the Mobius’ lithium battery and your phone off a USB port. Or, flip the case over and let the sun recharge the battery using the Mobius’ solar panel.

The Mobius is essentially a portable power source with built-in obsolescence. Assuming Apple eventually comes out with a new phone and a slightly different shaped case, this charger becomes useless on the upgraded model, but never on the current design.

Until then, you’ve got a charger with ultimate portability. Even if you’re nowhere near a USB port or an outlet, you can recharge the Mobius and your phone as long as the sun is shining. Your iPhone doesn’t need to be in the case when the Mobius battery is being recharged using either its solar panel or the USB connector. You can, for example, leave the case with the solar panel on your car’s dashboard and take your iPhone and go to work. Assuming you don’t park in a covered garage or live in a place dominated by steel-gray skies, there will be plenty of juice in the Mobius when your workday is over.

At the end of the day, if your phone is low or dead,  slip it back into the Mobius. Four LED lights on the bottom will tell you whether the lithium battery is fully or partially recharged.

While your phone is recharging, you’ll still have access to all its features, including the camera. The Mobius has well-designed cut-outs for all the phone’s buttons.

After the Mobius is fully charged, Eton says it can extend your phone life by five hours for talk, eight hours for Internet use and video playback, and 32 hours of audio playback. You would not want to leave your phone in the Mobius while it is recharging because it can get pretty hot.

You’ll find the Mobius operates as advertised, but be warned: It has one obnoxious drawback. Once you lock your iPhone into the case, it’s difficult to get it out. Following Eton’s directions wasn’t much help. The instructions say place a thumb on the Eton logo and “gently” slide the bottom connector away from the phone. That doesn’t work well. If you put a lot of strength into forcing the bottom panel down, you may get lucky, as I did, and see that you can barely get a fingernail into the side of the panel and pry it down further. It can be done, but not easily.

And that’s only the beginning. Once you have the bottom panel down, you’re told to use one finger to lift the top of the plastic case and another finger to pry your iPhone out of the charger. Do not be misled into believing this is simple. In fact, it’s way too much trouble.

Eton must apply some of its innovative talent to correcting this obvious design flaw. Review Rating: 7 out of 10

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