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02. 09. 2006

Super-long runtime batteries for iPod with video

I scoffed at the idea of watching full-length movies on the iPod with video, but I just got an incredibly easy-to-use (and fast and cheap) program for ripping DVDs straight into iPod-compatible video, so I've loaded my iPod up with movies I tend to watch over and over, and I'm actually watching them every night while I try to fall asleep. It's actually perfect to listen and only sort of watch on the tiny screen because you can drift in and out and not get so distracted you can't be lulled to sleep. Also, shows I don't normally watch on television, like The Office, I have been getting into on the iPod, probably because of the novelty of watching it on a 2.5" screen. The only problem? Apple says you can get "up to 3 hours" of video playback on a full charge on the 60 GB model, but I find that you're lucky if you can eek out even 2 hours. Unless you're newly re-charged, you're likely to run out of power before you can finish watching a movie.

The GeekPod 100 is a lithium ion battery pack, about the size of the iPod itself, which charges the internal iPod battery while providing 100 hours of audio playback, and about 12 hours of video, on a single charge. The GeekPod takes about 3-4 hours to fully re-charge, about the same as the 5G iPod's battery. There's a fuel guage in the form of 4 LED lights, so you know when it's time charge up again. It does essentially double (even a little more, as the GeekPod weighs 6 oz, a hair over the iPod) the size and weight of the iPod, but in exchange you get quintuple the battery life, and the whole setup is still completely portable. You can also get optional adapter tips to use the GeekPod for powering up and charging your cell phone or PDA. It's compatible with 5G, 4G, and 2G iPods, as well as the Nano, but doesn't work with the Shuffle or the 3G models. The best part is, the GeekPod 100 is normally $150, but is on sale for $69.99 at the moment at Battery Geek.

Another extended battery, XtremeMac's Micropack, will be available in the spring and will provide 80 hours audio playback and 8 hours of video, as well as doubling as a stand for easy video viewing. The Micropack is compatible with all dockable iPods, and there's a dock connecter so you can charge up while syncing the iPod with your computer. There are also dual amplified headphone jacks with individual volume controllers for watching or listening deux. Sounds like it will be great for using at home, but the docked structure will make it harder to carry around than the GeekPod. The MicroPack will cost about $100 and be available from XtremeMac.

Oh yes- the program I'm using for ripping DVDs is Podmaxx Video. It not only rips DVDs into iTunes 6, but will let you copy everything in your iPod onto your computer, overriding that blasted inability of iTunes to let you maneuver music that originated on a different computer. No it won't rip copy-protected DVDs, because that's wrong and no one wants to do that.

Posted by Mia    Category: devices
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Comments (3)

I really like the Belkin Battery Pack. It's only $50 and uses standard AA batteries. The iPod will run for as long as you have batteries to feed it. It gives you 6 hours of video time on 4 AAs. I carry it around in my purse along with a spare package of AAs and I never worry about running out of juice. It doesn't charge the iPod though.


I've heard mixed reviews about the company Battery Geek and their products. Theres talks that they google their name and salt the forums with fake postive reviews... So my question is if you actually bought a geekpod battery, and if so, what was your experience, with performance and especially customer service?

Robert Novotny:

I found out about Battery Geek through Macworld magazine where I saw thier GeekPod 100 featured. As far as the GeekPod goes I'll let you know if my situation changes however so far I have been happy with it. I got over 12 hours of video run time on a single charge on my flight to Australia. I like the size and portability factor of this thing. The footprint of it is about the size of a small deck of cards and it easily fits into my front shirt pocket. As far as the Battery Geek customer service goes I had no problems. I ordered my battery on thier website and received it the very next day by FedEx. They also included a kind thank you letter along with some extra free gifts which I appreciated.

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