We’re delighted to publish this excellent insight into two wonderful pieces of kit for your iPhone. One is an extreme solar panelled, rugged case and charger, whilst the the other is an independent fully rechargeable battery supply, exactly what you need for mobile photography.
Nettie Edwards our Award Winning Mobile Photographer and Contributor sets out to find the perfect battery charger and falls in love with a couple of lizards, over to you Nettie (foreword by Joanne Carter).
One of the biggest frustrations of Mobile Photography must be phone battery life, or, to be more precise, the lack of it, particularly when spending long hours out and about, shooting with anything other than the native camera app. Until recently, my workaround was never to leave the house without three (yes THREE!) battery cases. A bit excessive, you might think, but at least I knew that I’d be able shoot throughout the day, even when charging my iPhone battery, unhampered by any extra bits of equipment getting in the way. However, lately I’ve been testing lens systems with integrated phone cases and have enjoyed using them so much that it led me to reconsider plug-in battery chargers. Having heard good things about a company with the intriguing name of Snow Lizard, I decided to make further investigations.
SnowLizard design and manufacture mobile cases, chargers and accessories for people who enjoy an active lifestyle, one of which is the SLXTREEM case: a brilliant piece of equipment that happens to be one of the prizes in TAW’s Night Shots photo competition. Constructed from Polycarbonate, these battery AND solar-powered charging cases for iPhone 4/4S, 5 & iPads are rugged, waterproof to six feet and dust proof, allowing you to carry and use your devices almost anywhere. SnowLizard have also designed a small but perfectly formed range of accessories with which to secure the SLXTREEM “within easy reach while remaining well protected and fully accessible”.
Depending on your concept of extreme, this could range from mountain biking, rock climbing, pot holing and snorkeling, to taking action shots whilst you’re doing the dishes or changing a baby’s nappy. The SLXTREEM could well be the solar-powered case I’ve been looking for to accompany me on my annual Summer music festival trip, when I sleep in a tent for several nights and spend what seems like hours queuing at phone-charging stations.
However, generally speaking, my definition of an active mobile lifestyle is walking 5.5 kilometers around the Versailles Grand Canal: a bit of a trek, but by no stretch of the imagination are the conditions extreme. For these trips, I needed to find a plug-in charger, compatible with a lens/integrated case system, that would keep my iPhone in active service, shooting with Hipstamatic, 6×6 or ProCamera, from Dawn till Dusk. An extremely tall order? Enter another SnowLizard product: the SLPOWER 11.
Like all Snow Lizard products, the SLPOWER 11 is a tough, well-built product. Weighing in at 200g, it’s not the smallest or lightest in the Snow Lizard battery charger range, but it fits easily into my jacket pocket or accessory pouch, taking up less space and feeling no heavier than my three charger cases. Used in conjunction with a longer length USB power cable than the standard Apple issue (mine is 1.8m and was purchased from Maplin Electronics) I can store the SLPOWER in my rucksack or bag and continue shooting without inconvenience. Furthermore, the SLPOWER has two USB ports, so should I need to, I could charge my iPad in the rucksack and simultaneously charge my iPhone whilst shooting. This means that I don’t have to pack so many plugs when traveling: I’m even considering making my next trip to Paris without the multi gang unit that I usually carry with me in case there are not enough sockets in my hotel room.
Snow Lizard claim that the SLPOWER 11 should keep your devices charged for about a week. Obviously, shooting whilst charging runs the unit down faster, but thus far, I’ve found that it provides me with approximately three phone cycles: enough to get me through a day of shooting, with juice to spare: Naturally, a super-fantastic powered battery charger requires a fair amount of time to recharge (technical reviews have indicated 7 hours) so I charge mine overnight. However, the SLPOWER retains its charge for days so there is no need to plug it in to keep it at full capacity when not in use: perfect for those who enjoy long treks in the wilderness or Summer festival weekends.
In my opinion, these fantastic bits of kit are real keepers.
For more information, visit www.snowlizardproducts.com