At this time of year, I’m frequently asked for techie gift suggestions. I always respond with a question in kind: “Does the gift recipient own an iPhone?” If the answer is yes, I invariably suggest a backup iPhone battery, especially those that come in the form of a case.

The iPhone is an incredible device, but unfortunately it doesn’t have a great battery. A backup battery is essential for anyone who travels frequently, is often away from a power socket, is an iPhone power user, or simply forgets to regularly charge their iPhone. Actually, at some point everyone with an iPhone will wish they had a backup battery. That’s why it makes such a great gift.

Small Dog sells a couple of different iPhone case / battery combos. The TruePower IV Extended Battery and Charger for iPhone 3G/3GS is the original case with built-in battery. It features up to 24hrs of talk time and lists for $99.99 (on sale for $74.99). This is definitely the biggest, bulkiest iPhone case / battery combo. However, it offers the longest talk time. It also features a built-in flash, which helps the iPhone’s camera take much better photos in low light.

For a sleeker battery / case combo, it’s hard to beat Mophie’s solutions. They don’t match the TruePower’s talk time, but are much closer to a traditional case. The Mophie Juice Pack for iPhone 3G features 6 – 12 hours of talk time, depending on network connections — $99.99, on sale for $89.99.

Meanwhile, the Mophie Juice Pack Air for iPhone 3G/3GS is the thinnest rechargeable battery case we carry. It features 4.5 – 10 hours of talk time depending on network connection. The Mophie Juice Pack Air is available in white, black, or purple – $79.99, on sale for $71.99

Don’t want to use a case with a built in battery? Prefer a stand along portable charger? Check out the Griffin TuneJuice Battery Backup for iPhone or iPod touch. – $29.99. This device uses 4 AA batteries (included). You can buy AA pretty much anywhere, or use rechargeable batteries. This is a basic device that can add up to 2 hours of talk time to an iPhone. Important caveat: it only works with iPhones that still have a little battery power left. It will not charge a fully discharged iPhone or iPod.


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