Volta Review

Delivering products that squeeze performance out of older Macs, Sonnet Technology has made a move on the iPod market, and it’s a welcome step. The Volta promises up to 16-hours of additional video playback on enabled iPods, and up to 80 hours of audio playback on 60GB and video-enabled iPods. While it’s focused on larger video-enabled iPods, the Volta works with any player that’s equipped with a Dock connector. The solution means you can listen to your music and/or watch your video even on the longest of journeys.

Of all the battery rechargers we’ve looked at here at Macworld Plus, this one appears to offer the highest build quality, it’s a product that’s built to last, even in the toughest remote locations. Dimensions are 5.1 x 11.1 x 2.6cm, so it’s portable enough to fit inside a small travel bag – essential as airline luggage restrictions become more severe.

The Volta clips to the back of the iPod. Fully charged, it’s capable of powering the iPod as if the media player were connected to a computer or an AC adaptor. It ships with a belt clip and a charging cable that can be used with any computer, AC adaptor or car charger that’s equipped with a USB port. This is good news because it means you don’t have to possess access to a computer to recharge your recharger, making it a flexible solution if you travel frequently, want an iPod, but don’t want the bother of carrying a computer around.

The Volta is also one of the first battery chargers to appear to feature a pass-through port on the back of the unit. This is incredibly useful, as it means you can use your complement of iPod add-ons (such as the Apple Camera Connector, a voice recorder or FM transmitter) while the device recharges your iPod. Our test unit took just over six hours to fully charge. A red light shows on the front of the unit when charging, but switches off when this is complete. Switch the unit on and up to three green LED lights illuminate: three lights show the unit is fully charged, while one light represents it’s only partially ready for action. Sonnet claims its recharging device has a standby time of approximately a week, though we found some residual power (enough to almost fully recharge an iPod photo) left in the test unit four weeks after originally charging it.

OUR VERDICT

Superior build quality, focused design and hours of extra playback time help this product stand out from competing solutions of its type. Despite that, the Volta commands a premium price compared to others in its class. Some users may prefer rechargers that use ordinary batteries, but the Volta remains a very good choice.

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