Smartphones are amazing items. They've only been around for 10 years or so but already most of us can't live without one – or that's what it feels like anyway, especially when you leave yours at home, lose it, or its battery runs out leaving you with a useless lump of glass and magic internal gubbins.
Battery life is the one area that smartphones don't seem so smart, with most struggling to get a day's heavy use out of a charge. Fortunately there are handy pocket power stations available, and here we are testing one such item, the MiPOW Power Tube 3000, which is compatible with any lightning-connector iPhone or iPad.
The '3000' in the name refers to its battery power: 3000mAh, which is more capacious than the batteries in all but a couple of high-end smartphones. That is plenty or juice to carry around with you, potentially giving you an extra day's-worth of iPhone useage.
That part of the MiPOW works perfectly – it takes around four hours to fully charge via its built-in USB connector, and it is a svelte 85g so will hide away in a pocket or handbag almost unnoticed. However its smart design and tactile plastic and metal finish may mean you want to leave it out on show – it's a handsome little stick, as far as these things go.
Pair it up with the JuiceSync2 app via Bluetooth 4.0, and it adds extra talents. The app will analyse your phone's battery useage, giving you useful feedback on why your juice is used so quickly. You can also use the app to find your phone and vice-versa thanks to built-in GPS location.
Furthermore, the Power Tube acts as a 'selfie shutter' – a remote shatter release for your phone's camera. This feature is pretty useful, particularly if you have a mini-tripod for your smartphone and frequently take group selfies. It can also be used as a PowerPoint slide controller.
The only problem – and it's a major one – is that I couldn't test the remote shutter features because the app wouldn't recognise my Power Tube. It was paired correctly to my iPhone 6s Plus (iOS 9.2) via Bluetooth but the app wouldn't budge, frustratingly.
None of the Power Tube's features feel like gimmicks, except perhaps the battery analysis (you'd have to be pretty keen to be interested in that!). It is three genuinely useful tools in one, albeit an expensive one, and if we could only have managed to pair it properly it could have been deserving of a higher score.