Monoprice 5000mAh External Battery Pack

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I’ve given up on trying to find a durable iPhone battery pack. The Monoprice case didn’t work out (not a surprise) nor did the mophie Juice Pack (this was a surprise). However, I still have a need to conveniently recharge my phone away from an electrical outlet, especially while traveling.

This time I chose a solution that I thought would be more elegant in its utility.

Late last week I purchased a Monoprice 5000mAh External Battery Pack. It includes two USB charging ports (one for 1 Amp devices and another for those that need 2.1 Amp) for output and can be recharged via a micro-USB port. The cost was reasonable at just under $30.

Now, I haven’t had any problems with the inexpensive cables I’ve purchased from Monoprice. However, the devices are often hit-and-miss. So far, this one seems to be a winner but having owned this item for less than a week isn’t enough time to really know yet.

The elegance of this package is that I can use it with almost any small device that can be charged via USB. Combined with a few UPS backups, a CPAP battery, and a solar battery at home I now have one more emergency power source in the event that I ever need it.

It also fits easily into my laptop bag. It’s not tiny. It’s larger than the iPhone but it does fit into a pocket well enough that one can connect the charging cable from the iPhone to the battery back and carry it around.

I’ve used it several times this week to keep my phone charged at times when I was using the phone more frequently than usual.

Updated 11/17/2012: This continues to be a good solution for charging my iPhone without having to use a wall charger or when one isn’t available. I’ve used it several times to charge other devices including a couple of different Android devices, my wife’s Sharp FX, and a mifi device.

Monoprice Screen Cleaning Wipes

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A few months ago I purchased several containers of screen cleaning wipes from Monoprice.com. At first they seemed like a great bargain compared to similar wipes I have purchased at Walmart. However, after using them for a while I’ve since realized they’re not very good.

They’ll work OK for cleaning dust off of plain surfaces. However, they do not work for cleaning screens or glass. Either they leave a residue or they simply don’t provide enough cleaning solution/alcohol to effectively clean. They also leave fibers behind.

Overall, I don’t recommend these for cleaning screens. I’ll probably use up the rest for cleaning dust off my desk and some other areas, but not on any computers.

Monoprice Micro USB Battery Pack (2800mAh) and a Sharp FX Smartphone

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A couple of months ago my wife changed phones and ended up with a Sharp FX. While shopping on Monoprice this week I decided to get her a backup battery that she could carry in her purse just in case she needed to charge her phone while out. She wasn’t having problems with the phone’s battery life, but I figured I’d get it and then she could decide if she’d use it (if she didn’t want it I’m sure I could have found other uses for it).

I purchased a Monoprice Micro USB Backup Battery Pack for Smart Phones, Cell Phones and Cameras (2800mAh) for $13.28. Just as with the flexible keyboard, if it turns out to be a piece of junk, well, we didn’t spend much on it but perhaps it will outperform its cost. Since we just started using it tonight I can’t state whether or not it’s any good but it is connected to her phone and appears to be charging it. The actual capacity and battery life are things that will only be demonstrated over time, so if I learn anything new I’ll add it to this post as an update.

Updated 09/14/2011: My wife has used the battery to charge her phone on at least two occasions. It seems to be working as expected.

Monoprice Flexible Keyboard

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My friends are well aware that I like to purchase computer and A/V cables from Monoprice, along with the occasional device or odd item. Well, this purchase was certainly an impulse buy. Part of the reason I tossed it into the cart was so I wouldn’t end up with the shipping cost being more than the cost of the items I was ordering. In addition, it may actually be useful at some point.

This week I bought a Monoprice Deluxe Ultra-Slim Flexible Keyboard (a hell of a title considering it’s just a flexible USB keyboard). I thought it might be practical at some point, if a friend asks me to work on a computer. I wouldn’t need their keyboard as well (and I already have a couple of monitors and mice). Perhaps it would be handy in some kind of emergency (“Quick! Does anyone have a keyboard in their car!?!”).

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Monoprice Communicator C1 (SATA HDD Docking Station)

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I’ve been eyeing a hard drive dock for the past few years, mostly for the convenience it would offer. My toolkit already includes an IDE and SATA to USB adapter along with a couple of USB drive enclosures. The advantage of the dock is that I could have an adapter in a dedicated location that doesn’t require removing any screws or re-arranging cables in order to connect a bare drive.

I recently ordered one from Monoprice for just under $22. It arrived today and I connected it to my Mac. I haven’t used it much, but I did drop a 500 GB, 3.5″ SATA drive in and I can state that it does work. How well it works or holds up will be appended to this post in the future, if there’s anything noteworthy to add. I’m using it via the USB connection – my current iMac doesn’t have eSATA capability. I like that it has an on/off switch – a feature that isn’t always included in USB hard drive adapters.

Monoprice 1800mAh Backup Battery Case for iPhone 4

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The Short Version: It’s worth exactly what you pay for it. If you really need a reliable, high-capacity battery case that’s worth the inconvenience of carrying a brick then I don’t recommend this case. Mine has sat unused on a shelf for months. I may just charge it up once a month for emergency use at home. It does a good job of maintaining a charge when unused for a long period of time but unfortunately I started having a problem with the case randomly stop charging and then restart, even when it was sitting on a flat surface. I suspect the dock connector is failing, which is similar to problems others have mentioned in product reviews for this device.

My iPhone 4 battery still works well but I have noticed that it doesn’t last quite as long as it used to, especially if I’m using it for power-hungry tasks such as playing a game or browsing the Web. I think I’ve treated the battery well by making it a habit to not leave it on the charger all night and instead only plug it in until it reaches 100%.

This week I started browsing iPhone battery cases. I perused the reviews for several, but I couldn’t make up my mind. The battery performance drop wasn’t enough to justify spending $60-$80.

At one point I jumped over to Monoprice.com and came across a backup battery case that had good reviews and only cost about $24. I went ahead and ordered one. It arrived today.

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