Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mugen Power Extended Battery N900 - Hands on Review

A few months back I wrote a post mentioning that I had ordered a Mugen Power battery for my N900. If you have been by my blog here before then you may know that while I love my N900 the battery life isn't all that amazing (like most smart phones). If I am using the N900 to it's fullest extent I am able to drain the stock battery in just over two hours.

The stock battery weighs in at 1320 mAh. The Mugen Power extended battery is nearly twice this size (2400 mAh).

Look and Feel:
The N900 is a bulky hand held by default and the Mugen Power doesn't exactly help this figure.

The extended battery makes the N900 around 30% thicker, as a comparison base this isn't much larger than the Otter Box makes the N900.

The Mugen Power comes with a replacement back panel for the N900 (see the above image). This back panel is of a quality make and clips firmly to N900. Unlike the default panel, this Mugen Power panel does not contain a shutter over the camera lenses. For those that use the camera lenses opening to trigger applications launching on their N900 (I know I do), don't worry because there is an up/down switch on the Mugen Power panel that performs the same function as the old shutter. Another important thing to note is that while this back does make the N900 a bit thicker it doesn't obstruct the camera lenses at all.

Also, since I mentioned the Otter Box - it is worth noting is that you cannot use the Mugen Power with the Otter Box case.

Duration and Usage:
In my couple of weeks of testing I found the Mugen Power to over twice as long as the stock battery during my every day use. I went from having to find an outlet (or a powered USB port) by 2pm - too being able to get through my entire day on a single charge. Before I would connect to 3g only when using it to conserve battery, with the Mugen Power I could now leave my mobile Internet connected the entire day without a second thought.

When you first get the Mugen Power, as with any lithium ion battery, you will want to fully charge and then fully discharge the battery several times to maximize it's capacity. I found that even with my 3g connected all day I had trouble fully draining the battery to an empty state in just a twelve hour period.

Why the Delay:
The final thing I would like to mention about the Mugen Power is one of reasons why it has taken me five months since placing the order to write this summary. About two weeks after receiving my Mugen Power battery (right after it was finally broken in of course) my N900 took a tumble off of my kitchen table to the hardwood floor. I am not sure if it was just a fluke with the battery I had received, but this less than three foot tumble to the floor was enough to render the battery completely useless.

The battery refused to charge and after contacting Mugen Power they advised me against using the battery any further. Mugen was very understanding, all I had to do was pay to ship the broken battery back over seas and Mugen then sent me a replacement free of charge.

The Cost:
The extended battery does come with a bit of a hefty price tag, just under 100 USD. If you are someone that doesn't like having to remember to charge their N900 halfway through the day (or doesn't want to) then the Mugen Power battery is a quality piece of hardware worth the price.

Do you think you are going to pick up an extended battery for your N900? What other accessories do you have for your N900 that make it a more enjoyable hand held to use?

~Jeff Hoogland