Review: Seidio Innocell 2600mAh Battery 76
The Seidio Innocell 2600mAh Extended Battery for the Palm Pre will add noticeable bulk - there’s no question about that. The question is this: does the substantial improvement in battery life (and I do mean substantial) make the sacrifice in form factor worthwhile?
Fit and Feel
The battery is big. It’s over twice the size of the stock 1150mAh battery, and the fit is almost too snug. Pushing the battery all the way into the battery compartment caused visible movement in the components surrounding the battery compartment - specifically the thermal tape covering the radio. So yeah, the fit is secure, in fact I didn't even try to push the battery all the way in because the above issue, instead I left a millimeter of play underneath it.
Seidio claims that the back cover, which hugs the back of the Pre like a glove, adds “only about 4mm” to the Pre. That 4mm, though, alters the feel of the device in your hand and in your pocket considerably. Instead of the svelte, curvy device you’re used to, you’ll be brandishing what feels like a stumpy brick. This isn’t to say it makes the device feel terrible, since Seidio was smart with the curvature of the back cover, but it’s a significant enough downgrade that should make you think twice before going with the larger extended battery. This, combined with a noticeably heavier battery, adds to what I’d describe as a tank-like (and strangely more robust) feel to the phone.
The holes cut for the flash and camera work great and don’t obstruct light (in my testing, anyway), and the finish of the back cover is a smooth, matte plastic that feels good in the hand. The extra internal volume created by the larger cover seemed to increase the performance of the speakerphone.
Officially, the back cover isn't Touchstone compatible, but if you're as determined as some of our forum members, you could try hacking the Touchstone components on to the cover.
Seidio claims 126% more capacity in its 2600mAh battery over the stock 1150mAh battery, and I found battery life to be absolutely stellar with it installed. While I can’t compare the performance of the two in terms of talk and standby time as I lack multiple units and the means of testing such things reliably, I can tell you that it felt like I was using a BlackBerry again in the battery life department. I consider myself a heavy user, and the part of the very group this battery is aimed for. I’m constantly browsing the web, testing applications for PreCentral, frequently emailing, and with the stock battery I often find myself in need of a charge by late afternoon.
After properly charging the battery (Seidio recommends a full 8 hour charge and 5 full charge cycles before the battery reaches full performance), I was able to go for nearly two days on a single charge before the battery finally gave up the ghost and I needed to find an outlet. Impressive.
The price point is good (currently going for $64.95 in the PreCentral Accessory Store), and the battery life benefits of this thing are indisputable, but I was relieved to switch back to the standard battery and back cover, returning my Pre to the form factor that I’ve come to love after testing concluded. If you’re really going to be without access to a car or wall outlet of some kind for extended periods, I would advocate going with the Seidio 1350mAh battery instead. You’ll have the stock battery as a spare and a higher capacity battery without sacrificing the feel of the device.
With the form factor complaints aside, what would make me consider keeping the thing in my phone? Here’s an idea I had earlier: the extra bulk of the back cover actually allows the Pre to sit on its side, with the screen at a 90 degree angle to the surface it’s sitting on. Why not build a kickstand into the back (think Nokia N900) that would allow the screen to sit at a pleasantly viewable 45 degree angle? Give it some thought, Seidio.
If you don't really care about the feel of the device, then this is a 5 star product through and through. I have a suspicion, though, that most Pre owners out there do, so that factor knocks the overall rating down.
The PreCentral Accessory Store provided the battery for review.