Thursday, January 14, 2010

Charging the iPhone

So there I was, on the train to London, when my iPhone died on me. Not in any permanent sense, you understand. Just in that all too frequent battery-needs-charging kind of way. The evening before, there had seemed to be a fair amount of charge left in the battery so I had made the mistake of not plugging it in. I had made the even worse mistake of leaving the house without my charger. All iPhone users know that you simply don't do this. iPhones chomp through their battery life at a notorious rate!

As it turned out, it would have been preferable if my phone had not chosen that moment to die on me because, shortly after the trained pulled out of the station, the convenor of the meeting to which I was headed tried to phone me to tell me it had been cancelled due to the weather. While it was too late to save myself the cost of the ticket, I could have got off at the next station and come back home, saving myself a lot of bother. London is a place I only visit out of necessity - when that necessity is removed, so is all desire to head towards the Big Smoke. As it was, I only learned of the cancellation when I arrived at the venue covered in a light dusting of snow with ice blocks for feet.

In the absence of my charger cable, I had popped into a few places on St Pancras station, looking for one of those one-off battery doodads that you plug into your phone to give you a DC power supply. No-one had them. Sod's law. At one stage they were everywhere.

I did find one option at Vodafone. They have a tower of coin operated charging bays in little lockers. They work pretty much like a parking meter. You plug in your phone, pay your money, lock the box and go and amuse yourself for half an hour (or whatever). Sadly, my phone wasn't having any of that, and the battery was as flat when I returned as it had been when I left. They refunded me my £1 (which was the cost of a half hour's charge time) without even being asked.

But perhaps it would have been better if I had had one of these two things for charging up the iPhone, as reviewed in PC magazine (and drawn to my attention by my sleep-in technical support man). I love the description of the solar charger as being "as much use a cat flap on a submarine in Britain’s current climate". Perhaps I won't dash out and buy one of those, then! Especially at that price tag. The Dexim P-Flip, on the other hand, has promise. I might have to explore that.


V Yonkers said...

I'm interested, are you able to charge your phone on the train if you have a converter (one thing our trains do have in the US).

Like you, I hate going to NY City and would rather get off at the next stop than have to actually go into the city!

Elaine said...


I use one of these and it's great. It keeps its charge well until you need it, then gives your iPhone at least another full charge. There might be a newer version of it around now.

Garry Platt said...

Just for interest (and my nosiness) what apps do you have on your iPhone Karyn?

The upsycho said...

@V_Yonkers Some trains have AC/DC sockets for phones and laptops. I usually carry the cable that plugs into my laptop and charge up that way... I'm bound to be working on the laptop anyway.

@Elaine Nice. Thanks.

@Garry Nosy is good. A prerequisite for learning. I have:
Voice memos
Bible Reader
Remember the Milk
Block Lite
reMovem (free version)
Sugar Sync
A book of love poems (Oi! I heard that!)
Several games for my sons

Barry Sampson said...

If there's one thing that frustrates me about my iPhone it's the battery life. These days I'm never without my PowerMonkey eXplorer. Not the cheapest of options but come with charging tips for just about everything, so worth the money I think.

I picked mine up for £35 on ebay :)