Review: PhoneSuit’s Primo iPhone/iPod battery - Macenstein

Review: PhoneSuit’s Primo iPhone/iPod battery

PhoneSuit’s been making a pretty decent name for itself in the “rechargeable external iPhone battery” game, and their latest offering, the Primo, is a welcome, if not pint-sized addition to the family.

Available in either black or white and costing $34.95 (PhoneSuit also offers a 3-pack bundle including 3 of PhoneSuit’s screen protectors as well for only : $89.95 – a savings of $15 over buying the batteries individually) the thumb-sized, “works with iPhone”-certified Primo contains an 800mAh battery, roughly enough power to get you up to a 55% charge from a dead iPhone in our tests. That’s enough for 3 hours of talk, or 45 hours of music.

Design-wise the Primo is pretty cool. It’s smooth, gum-sized form factor slips easily into pockets, and it’s small enough that you can attach it to your keychain with the included string loop. Being a man who fears things on his keychain, I’ve just been throwing them in my pocket. The top pops off to reveal a standard Dock connector which should charge just about any REAL iPod (obviously the shuffle doesn’t count) or iPhone.

The unit recharges in a few hours via an included mini USB cable. There are 3 LEDs on the unit to indicate charge amount. When the 2 left most lights are green, you’re good to go. The only way to check charge is to plug the Primo into the Dock port of a device, as there are not buttons on the unit itself.


I don’t really have anything bad to say about the Primo, as it works as advertised and it certainly lives up to its portability claims. I suppose my only real question would be one of value, as $40 for half an iPhone battery charge might seem a little steep when a full-charge solution (with some amount of case-like protection) can be had for about twice as much by a number of accessory makers, including PhoneSuit’s own Mili. But if one decided to buy the 3-Pack you actually end up getting more battery bang for your buck than most stand alone battery cases, plus you have the option of sharing them with other iPod-loving family members with different models (something you can’t do with fitted case style batteries).

So the only real question is whether the trade-off between power and the super–small form factor is worth it to you. Personally I hate the feeling of being out and about without a battery backup of some sort, as I don’t like feeling that I HAVE to conserve my battery. So throwing something as small as the Primo in a pocket or bag (or, I suppose putting it on a keychain if you’re into that) is a great way to make sure you can play Plants Vs Zombies in a doctor’s waiting room without worrying you’ll miss an important call.

The only other minor gripe I might have would be for those of you hoping to use the Primo as a keychain, the included string is pretty flimsy feeling, and you may need to replace it with something a bit more substantial.


PhoneSuit’s Primo is a fairly clever and versatile idea that can charge just about any Apple product with a Dock connector. It’s sleek, compact form factor allows it to easy slip into pockets, bags, and even attach to a keychain for go-anywhere charging. While it does not provide the protection of case-like external batteries, it does offer the ability to charge different types of gear (iPods, iPhones, iPod touch’s…), which fitted case-style batteries cannot. Those considering a Primo should check out the 3-pack bundle which delivers the best value.

Price: $34.95 (PhoneSuit also offers a 3-pack bundle including 3 of PhoneSuit’s screen protectors as well for only : $89.95 – a savings of $15 over buying the batteries individually)
Pros: Small, smooth portable design, delivers 800 mAh for 3 hours of talk or 45 hours of music, works on almost any Dock equipped iPod or iPhone, works with iPhone certified, 3-pack is a great value
Cons: a Bit expensive if buying only 1, keychain string seems flimsy

6 Responses to “Review: PhoneSuit’s Primo iPhone/iPod battery”
  1. G says:

    Check your math on the 3-pack savings.

  2. Saqib Hasan says:

    Um how do you save $40 when buying three at $90? I get a saving of only $15?

  3. @Saqib,

    You’re right, actually. the 3-pack comes with 3 of their screen protectors as well, so you save $40 off the price of three batteries AND 3 screen protectors, but only $15 over the batteries themselves. I shall amend.

    – The Doc

  4. Jonro says:

    The fact that you can use that type of external battery pack with any iPod makes it a good feature, but there might be better deals out there than the Primo. I bought an external battery pack made by Kensington about a year and half ago. I’ve only used it once, and that was on an overnight train trip, but I could have just plugged my iPhone into the wall as Amtrak had plugs by each seat.

  5. Richard says:

    Personally I wouldnt mind if the iphone was a little thicker with double the battery life, i know, if you turn off WIFI and bluetooth and just use it as a phone it lasts much longer.. but i have a sony K800 for that – I want iFun without having to carry around external power packs and rechargers etc

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