Movie lovers best friend – Gadling reviews the Kensington travel battery pack for the iPhone and iPod Touch

Regular readers will know that I’m a huge fan of portable chargers that can keep my gadgets running way past their normal battery life. In this review, I’ll show you a neat little iPhone/iPod Touch charger that doubles as a viewing base.

The “Kensington Travel Battery Pack and Charger for iPhone and iPod touch” features a Lithium-Ion battery pack, flip stand and integrated USB connector for recharging the pack itself. Inside the pack is an 1100mAh battery – enough to double the battery capacity of most iPhone and iPod models.

The built in USB plug connects to any USB charger or USB port on your computer. A full recharge takes just over two hours and 5 LEDs’s show the charging status.

To use the pack, you simply flip open the lid, and plug it into the dock connector of your device. The top of the lid is at the perfect angle for viewing a movie, which is just as well, because you can’t change its angle. The stand has a rubber non-slip pad, which helps keep your iPod and its battery pack in place.

There really isn’t much more to add about this product – it works exactly as described, is nice and compact (a mere 2.2 ounces) and can double the run-time of your device.

At $69.99, it does not come cheap – and other products (including some from Kensington) often provide a larger battery capacity. That said – this is the first dual-purpose charger/stand I have ever reviewed, and the added bonus does help justify the price.

The good news is that most Kensington retailers have managed to shave almost $30 off the price – and stores like Amazon and are selling it for just $40.

PROS: Extremely compact, great for viewing movies
CONS: Limited 1100mAh battery capacity, MSRP is fairly high compared to other products.

You’ll find the Kensington Travel Battery Pack and Charger for iPhone and iPod touch on their site – and at most Kensington retailers.

Get yourself in the holiday spirit with Slacker iPhone Holiday Radio

In need of some cheering up this holiday season? Slacker just released a free Christmas version of their popular iPhone/iPod Touch streaming music app.

The Holiday version includes 11 festive channels, including “Dysfunctional Holiday” and several channels to cater for your personal taste in music.

As with the regular Slacker player, this one is free of charge. When you upgrade to Slacker Plus, you remove the ads from inside the app, and add the ability to skip more than 6 times per hour.

Still, even without the plus upgrade, this app is a fun and free way to get your daily fix of Christmas music. Thankfully the app also allows you to “ban” certain songs, which is exactly what I’ll do when “Last Christmas” pops up in my playlist.

You’ll find Slacker iPhone Holiday Radio in the App Store under “Slacker Holiday”, or by clicking this link (iTunes URL)

Gadling gear review – Altec Lansing iMT800 MIX – the boombox is back!

The year is 1984 – you put on your backpack, fill your pockets with twenty bucks worth of D cell’s, and grab a couple of your best Duran Duran and Culture Club tapes off the dresser. As you leave on your trip, you carry your Panasonic Boombox to the car, ready to use it while walking down the street at your destination – because that is what cool people do.

It may have been years since anyone traveled with a Boombox, let alone had anything that required tapes, but portable audio is more alive than ever. Some people may travel with a portable speaker, but others may be in need of something with a little more “oomph”.

The Altec Lansing iMT800 “MIX” Boombox is the boombox from the 80’s – reinvented. The MIX has some of that great 80’s styling, combined with the features you’d expect from a current generation music accessory.

At first glance, it is hard to not notice the massive speakers on the front and side of the unit. In the middle is an iPod dock and a display, and on the top are controls and 2 additional inputs.
The MIX comes with the usual assortment of iPod docking adapters, making it compatible with any iPod, iPod Touch or iPhone with a dock connector. Once inserted into the MIX, a metal bracket slides down over your player, keeping it in place, and preventing it from falling out.

Like the old Boomboxes from the 80’s, the MIX also takes a huge stash of D cell batteries – 8 in total. They’ll keep the unit running for about 30 hours (manufacturer rating).

When at home, or in a hotel, the unit can also operate off the included AC adapter. I would have preferred to see the AC adapter built into the unit, but that would have pushed its weight to the max.

On the front and top of the MIX are carrying handles – they are not just for decoration, as they really are strong enough to hold the unit with. This means you can actually use the Altec Lansing iMT800 MIX as a shoulder carried boombox, listening to Van Halen playing off your 32GB iPhone 3GS. Sure, you’ll look like a bit of a dork, but that probably has more to do with your taste in music. On the rear of the MIX is the AC jack and FM antenna.

The MIX offers 4 different music sources – iPod/iPhone, FM Radio and 2 AUX inputs. The unit comes with 2 3.5mm cables, which means you can hook up a non-Apple device like a Zune or a Blackberry.

The display on the front of the MIX is very cool – it can be programmed with your own personal startup message, and displays what kind of iPod is inserted. It also shows the track name when you play stuff off the iPod dock. The display also shows RDS information from any compatible radio station you are tuned in to.

Controlling the MIX is simple – the top has just 4 buttons and a dial. Included with the unit is a wireless remote control. This remote can control the power, source, iPod track, volume and radio preset. It has a slick carabiner clip on the top, should you feel the urge to clip it to your pants.

Now on to the most important part of the product – the audio. If you were planning to use the MIX to take care of the music at your next party, you will not be disappointed. Not only does it sound fantastic, it can be cranked up to MAX to produce some absolutely mind blowing volume, without any distortion.

The integrated equalizer is great – in basic mode, it lets you control bass and treble, and if you hold down the EQ button along with the track forward/back buttons at the same time, you enter a more advanced 7 band EQ mode.

All joking aside, I’m sure not many of you will seriously be considering purchasing one of these to carry around on your shoulders on your next trip. At 10.1lbs (without batteries), it’ll take up a considerable amount of your baggage allowance. That said – it is the perfect companion for a road trip or a day at the beach.

The iMT800 MIX retails for $299.95, which is about $100 cheaper than a comparable portable system.

There are a couple of minor things I would have wanted to see on the unit – The iPod control is very basic, you can only play/pause and skip tracks. At this price point, a full iPod control would have been nicer. I would have also liked to see a video output on the unit. Other than those minor gripes, I’m very impressed with the iMT800. Sound is fantastic and I love the looks – this thing really screams “loud”.

The iMT800 MIX Digital Boombox is available directly from Altec Lansing or as a pre-order from

Daily gear deal – Energizer Energi To Go iPod Battery Charger shipped for $7

Today’s daily gear deal passed through Gadling a month ago, but recently dropped to the silly low price of just $7.

The Energizer Energi to Go Battery charger is compatible with the iPhone (1st gen and 3g), the 4th gen iPod nano and the 1st and 2nd gen iPod touch.

The device is the epitome of simplicity – you pop 2 AA batteries in it (included), plug your iPhone or iPod into the dock, and let it charge.

2 Energizer Lithium batteries should be able to provide 3 full charges for an iPod nano, 2 full charges for the iPod Touch and one full charge for an iPhone.

The product weighs less than 2 ounces, and the dock connector folds into the unit, making it perfect for carrying in your bag for that not so unlikely event that your iPhone or iPod is drained by the time you get home.

This product normally retails for as much as $40, but is trying to get rid of them for just $7! That nice low price even includes free shipping, so you can’t really afford not to pick one up.

Daily deal – Energizer Energi To Go iPod/iPhone charger pack for $10

Today’s daily deal is for the Energizer Energi To Go portable power pack for the iPod and iPhone.

This battery powered dock can deliver up to 2 full charges for your device, depending on the model.

A fully charged set of batteries will bring your iPod or iPhone back to 100% in 2-3 hours.

Included with the device are 2 lithium batteries, any kind of battery will work, but these lithium batteries provide the most power.

The Energi To Go charger normally retails for about $30, but is currently on sale at for just $9.99, with free shipping!