My new best friend: The New Trent iGrip IMP1100 Universal Battery Case includes a “leather” padfolio case with the standard iPad viewing window on one side a dedicated slot for the included 11,000 mA battery on the other side. Brilliant! During the widespread power outages caused by the derecho in the northern Chicago suburbsthis week, the IMP1100 kept two greedy cell phones powered for 36 hours. If only it could power my home’s well pump as well I’d be set!

At 11,000 mA, the iGrip rechargeable battery has enough juice to recharge an iPad fully one time, or a standard cell phone like the iPhone 5-6 times.

The large battery capacity means you’ll be able to power your devices longer, but it also means you’ll be recharging the battery itself at least overnight. The iGrip battery charges using your device’s power cable, it does not come with its own. It’s meant to use the iPad’s charging block and cable, but I’ve found that it plays nicely with the third-party 2.1A USB chargers I’ve bought for the iPad. Sadly, the iGrip uses what looks to be a 3.5mm male connector instead of a universal micro-USB or iPad connection to charge itself. But the USB to 3.5mm cable is skinnier than my other USB cables so it’s easy to carry along.

Have I mentioned that this rechargeable battery is light as a feather? After lugging some heavy batteries around, I was seriously skeptical that this featherweight would hold any charge at all, let alone enough to recharge my phone six times over. But it does. However they did it, they could teach the rest of the mobile electronics industry what thin and light really means. In this case light doesn’t mean flimsy, though. It has lived in my purse for four months with only cosmetic damage. By cosmetic I mean that constantly rubbing against the back of my iPad has worn some smooth spots in slightly textured plastic of the battery’s case. That’s only to be expected from the way I treat it.

I’ve used the iGrip IMP1100 rechargeable battery to power my iPad (original), HTC Thunderbolt, and BlackBerry Storm 2. Anything that charges with a USB cable at 2.1A or less should be able to charge from this battery. The manufacturer’s site also lists compatibility with:

  • Compatible with 2G 3G 3Gs 4G iPhone
  • Compatible with iPad2 and iPad
  • Compatible with all generation 2G 3G 4G iPod touch
  • Compatible with Motorola Droid
  • Compatible with HTC Android (EVO, incredible, X1, nexus)
  • Compatible with Blackberry (9630, 9700, 9550, 9800)
  • Compatible with major brand portable game system, such as Nintendo DS, Nintendo DS lite, Sony PSP. Adapters will be sold separately
  • Also work with Kindle reading device

When fully charged, the battery LED glows green and slowly turns to blue as power decreases. While it’s recharging, the blue LED is steadily lit and the green flashes. The iGrip features an on/off switch to hoard battery power when not in use. I let it sit for weeks in my purse fully charged without using it, and when I had to press it into service this week it seemed to be fully powered up still. If it did lose any charge in the meantime I didn’t miss it.

Now let’s talk about the case. It has four viewing angles thanks to indentations on the battery compartment, a snap closure, and side-entry for the iPad and the battery to ensure that your devices won’t slip out while it’s closed. Very smart. All the necessary charging ports are exposed while the devices are in the case, so you can slip the charging cables into place while you’re using the devices in the case. Again, very smart.

Configurations of the New Trent IMP1100 iGrip Universal Battery Case for iPadsStill, when the iGrip battery & case arrived, the first thing I did was toss the case in a drawer. It claims to be leather, but mine looked, felt and smelled synthetic. The case that I received is also brown, not black as pictured, so I may have gotten an older model. If it matters to you, I’d recommend sending them an email to confirm the case color and material. The death knell for me, though, was that the case didn’t fit in the purse I bought specifically to hold my iPad, phone and all the other electronics I just have to have with me all the time. It doesn’t add noticeable thickness or width, unless you have a bag that’s already a close fit with the iPad alone. In a briefcase or backpack it would be just fine.

In the end I didn’t really care about the case, though, because at $69 with free shipping from the manufacturer I feel like I got a bargain on the battery alone. And after its performance this week during the power outage, I know I did!