Sonnet iPod battery replacement pack
How to revive a run-down iPod
Review Sonnet isn't the only company to offer iPod battery upgrades, but it's the first to bundle a video installation guide. With printed instructions typically about as basic as it's possible to get, does Sonnet's approach make battery replacement an easier task for the non-techie?
Opening the blister pack exposes the slimline 3.7V battery, which Sonnet claims provides a 2200mAh capacity, though not on either the battery itself or the packaging it's sold in. The pack also contains a pair of plastic iPod disassembly tools, and a CD-ROM with the installation videos.
Sonnet provides movies in English, French, German and Japanese, with separate videos for first and second-generation iPods, third-generation players, fourth-generation devices, and the iPod Mini. You make your selection through a neat interactive, which finally fires up the appropriate video on QuickTime Player.
The movies are 320 x 240, which is a little small, I'd say, when viewed on any screen that's 1024 x 768 or larger. Fortunately, the picture quality is sufficiently good to allow you to drag the window out to near full-screen size and still see reasonably clearly what's going on.
After a warning against the perils of static electricity and a disclaimer freeing Sonnet from liability for damage you cause to your iPod, the video proceeds with the walkthrough. It's shot looking down on a black work space, so there's nothing to distract you from the procedure you'll follow. The voice-over is reassuring, and there are generally few edits so you're not left with the sense that Sonnet is glossing over the difficult bits. There are one or two instances where the demonstrator's hands get in the way, or a close-up would have been appropriate, but generally the narration and pictures make it clear what you have to do.
Having watched the video through to familiarise myself with what I was about to do, I set to work replacing the battery in my first-generation iPod, which I've owned and used for almost four years. To check the benefits of the upgrade, I charged my unmodified iPod overnight and then played through the 972 songs in sequence, over and over until the battery drained. I connected the standard-issue earphones and set the volume to 50 per cent.
I got around nine hours and 37 minutes of playtime out of it, though that's more than I feel I get when I'm out and about, not least because of the way power seems to leach out of it while it's sitting on the shelf, and because I change tracks more frequently, activating the hard drive every time.