For 40 bucks you can buy some fairly sexy items for your iPod — a cool case, hip headphones, or a sleek stand — but I’ve yet to find a $40 accessory that adds as much value to a first- or second generation iPod as
Newer Technology’s high-capacity iPod Replacement Battery.
Sexy it ain’t, but there’s nothing unattractive about the battery’s ability to play an iPod uninterrupted for over 21 hours.
What You Get
The Newer Battery comes with printed instructions that detail how to open the iPod and replace its battery along with two nylon tools for opening the case. I tested the battery on my Frankenpod — an original first-generation 5GB iPod that carries a 15GB drive I salvaged from a third-generation iPod. This iPod has been opened enough times that I’m now able to remove the back plate with my fingernails so to test the tools I used them on a 20GB second-generation iPod that I’ve never opened.
It took a bit of work to insert the tip of the first tool between the front and back of the iPod, but I finally managed it. Thankfully, the tools give you a lot to hold onto — they’re about the size of a child’s crayon. They’re also reasonably sturdy. After attacking the iPod’s case at least a half a dozen times, the tools maintained their edge.
What You See
The instructions are clear but not as accurate as they might be. For example, in order to clearly display where to insert the first tool, the instructions picture the iPod sitting on its back and suggest that you work on the iPod while it lies on a soft work surface. It will take those attempting to replace the battery about three seconds to realize that the only way to crack this nut is to pick the iPod up in one hand, and maneuver the tool with the other.
The instructions also fail to mention that, in some cases, you may need to remove the iPod’s hard drive in order to access the battery connector on the motherboard. It might also have been wise to caution users to keep a tight grip on the hard drive’s data connector while removing the battery — which is stuck to the hard drive on these iPod models with some seriously sticky rubber pads. If you wrench the battery away without holding the hard drive in place, you can break this crucial connector.
How it Fits
I’ve replaced the battery in this iPod before and expected this replacement to be uneventful — and it nearly was. The only surprise was that the Newer battery is a bit wider than the stock iPod battery and other replacements I’ve installed. This slightly larger size translated into having to bend the foil sides of the battery to help it fit and to press the case a little more firmly into place than I’ve had to with other battery replacements.
How it Fared
Apple tells us that you gain the greatest battery charge from your iPod by pressing Play and stepping away. To see just what this battery was capable of, I turned off EQ and Sound Check, adjusted the iPod’s volume to about 50-percent, navigated to Songs, pressed Play, and let the iPod entertain itself until the charge ran out. The songs on the iPod were largely encoded in either AAC or MP3 format but it also contained a few large AIFF files and audio books.
I pushed Play at 5:10 PM and the iPod finally showed its drained battery icon 21 hours and 25 minutes later at 2:35 PM the next day.
What We Think
Obviously, if you use an iPod the way it was intended — pushing buttons, scrolling through playlists, and switching on EQ and the backlight — you won’t get this kind of life out of a single charge. But you should certainly be able to double the play time of your iPod’s current battery with little trouble. Sexy or not, for $40 I think that’s a hell of a bargain.