Review: Seidio 3500mAh Battery for the BlackBerry Bold

By Al Sacco on 26 Jan 2009 10:39 am EST
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Seidio 3500mAh Battery for the BlackBerry Bold

The BlackBerry Bold 9000 , Research In Motion (RIM)'s high-end, 3G smartphone is a stunning and impressive device on many levels. Unfortunately, battery life is not one of its strong points-I consider myself lucky if the Bold makes it through a full day without a charge.

In the past, BlackBerry devices were lauded for their outstanding battery life, and anyone making the switch from an older device, such as an 8700 or an original Pearl 8100, to the new Bold is sure to notice a drastic change. That decreased battery life is due largely to the Bold's 3G support (GSM/UMTS/HSDPA), Wi-Fi and power-hungry 624-MHz processor. But thanks to accessory maker Seidio and its line of batteries for the BlackBerry Bold, the ability to go 24 hours or more on a single charge is easily within your reach.

Seidio currently offers two batteries for the Bold 9000: the Innocell 1650mAh Extended Battery, which is almost the exact size and shape as the battery that ships with the Bold, but with slightly more power storage capacity; and the Seidio 3500mAh Extended Battery with door, which provides more than double the battery life of the standard Bold battery RIM, according to Seidio, but also requires a separate battery cover.

I wanted the most Bold-battery-bang for my buck, so I reviewed the 3500mAh battery pack. (For more on the smaller, 1650mAh Seidio battery for Bold, read "In Stock: 1650mAh OEM Size Extended Battery for the Bold") And though it certainly delivers on its promise to double the battery life of my BlackBerry Bold, the extended power comes at a hefty price-and I don't just mean the $59.99 you'll need to scrounge up to purchase it. Read on for my explanation.

The Battery Is Half Full (The Positive)

The best thing about the Seidio 3500mAh li-ion polymer battery pack for the Bold is the fact that it does provide almost double the life of the standard, 1500 mAh li-ion battery that ships with the device. In my tests, with AT&T 3G enabled, full cellular coverage (all five bars) and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned off, I got just over eight and a half hours of talk time using the Seidio 3500mAh battery. Compared to the talk time offered by the standard 1500mAh Bold battery, which amounted to almost four and a half hours of talk time using the same settings, that's an increase of nearly 100 percent.

Seidio 3500
Seidio - Keeps their Packaging Simple

The instructions that came along with the 3500mAh Seidio battery state that for the product's optimal performance, you should charge it for at least eight hours the first time you use it, which I did. The company also says that battery life should increase after five or six charges, though I cannot confirm this. I've fully charged and drained the battery roughly half a dozen times since I received it last week, and I can't say that I've noticed any significant change in battery life thus far.

Seidio 3500
Extended Cover on the left; OEM Cover on the right

Since, I'm not at all a fan of the faux-leather battery cover that ships with the BlackBerry Bold, I really appreciate the battery door that comes with the Seidio 3500mAh battery-though its size is not ideal. (More on that in the next section.) The Seidio door is black with a dusted, matte finish, and it's much better looking than the standard Bold battery door, at least in my opinion, except for its "bulge." And there are spaces or openings for every port and speaker vent, as well as both the camera and flash, just as there are in RIM's Bold battery cover.

Seidio 3500
Standard Battery compared to Extended Seidio 3500mAh Battery

And considering the 3500mAh Seidio battery sells for $59.99, just ten dollars more than the 1550mAh Seidio option-and it comes with a new battery door-it's probably your best buy when it comes to extended batteries for the BlackBerry Bold.

The Battery Is Half Empty (The Negative)

The obvious downside to the 3500mAh Seidio Bold battery is the fact that's significantly larger than the battery pack that comes with the device, and therefore, it requires a special-and some might say, awkward-battery cover. As stated above, the battery door comes with Seidio's 3500mAh battery, so you don't need to buy it separately; however, it really does change the overall look and feel of the BlackBerry Bold, and that in itself might be enough to deter some users who really appreciate the device's aesthetic.

Seidio 3500
Seidio Extended Cover vs. OEM Battery Cover

It's worth noting that the Seidio Bold battery door literally reeked of toxic-smelling paint when it first arrived, which I did not appreciate. But after a few days of use, the smell decreased so it's barely noticeable anymore. The door itself is also a serious pain in the ‘Berry to remove; I had to use a thin piece of plastic or thick paper to wedge between the cover and my Bold every time I wanted to remove it.

To be honest, the extra bulk of the 3500mAh battery-in both size and weight-doesn't bother me much. In fact, I expected not to like the product at all for this very reason, but I'll admit that it's not as bad as I had anticipated. The 3500mAh battery is roughly the same height and width as the standard Bold power pack from RIM, but it's more than twice the thickness, hence the need for a custom battery door. It also weighs a few ounces more than the RIM battery, which means the already slightly-hefty Bold is even heavier with the Seidio battery intact.

Seidio 3500
Under the hood - the Seidio 3500mAh adds size, but also extra power

The one true deal-breaker for me is the current lack of available skins/holsters/protective cases that fit my Bold with the 3500mAh battery in place. Because the battery protrudes from the rear side of the Bold, standard Bold skins from RIM and other accessory makers like OtterBox, simply don't fit. Even the OEM leather holster that ships with the Bold is rendered useless by the extended Seidio battery. I'm obsessive about keeping my Bold protected, so this is huge for me. True, you could use something like a BodyGuardz "skin" to protect your 3500mAh-battery-equipped Bold from scratches, but your device would still be open to shock-related damage.

Seidio really needs to release a skin, case, holster, or all three, to go along with its 3500mAh battery and replacement door. Even if such a product was sold separately, I'd buy it.

Finally, though the Seidio 3500mAh extended battery for Bold does indeed provide significantly more battery life than the standard Bold power pack, as advertised, it also takes twice as long to fully charge: About six and a half hours. For folks who charge every night while they're sleeping, this won't be much of an issue. But don't expect to re-up this bad-boy in one quick sitting.

Conclusion: To Extend Your Bold Battery or Not to Extend?

I'll sum my review up like this: I'd be using the Seidio 3500mAh Extended Battery with door for BlackBerry Bold 9000 as my everyday battery if only the company, or another enterprising accessory maker, would offer a skin or case that was meant for use with it and that fit perfectly regardless of the battery bulge. Because there's currently no such thing, and I'm not willing to employ a generic case or holster that wasn't meant specifically for my device, the Seidio 3500mAh battery has found a new home in my desk drawer.

The battery itself works as advertised, delivering significantly more battery life than the standard Bold battery. If longer battery life is more important to you than ensuring your device remains in pristine condition, and you can deal with the additional size and weight, you'll find a friend in Seidio's 3500mAh Extended Battery with door for the Bold.

Right now, Seidio's Innocell 1650mAh Extended Battery for the BlackBerry Bold is a more suitable option for me, as it provides slightly more battery life than the standard RIM Bold battery, costs ten dollars less than its larger sibling, and it doesn't require an additional battery door.


Al Sacco is a staff writer with CIO.com. His Mobile WorkHorse blog was recently nominated for a Jesse H. Neal Award for excellence in business journalism.


Summary: Seidio 3500mAh Extended Batter for the BlackBerry Bold 

Pros:

  • Provides almost double the battery life of standard, OEM BlackBerry Bold battery;
  • Costs just $10 more than Seidio's 1650mAh battery
  • Comes with its own replacement door.

Cons:

  • Size and weight will be a turn off for some
  • Requires a custom battery door, which means standard Bold cases/skins/holsters won't fit; not a great travel battery, due to the need to carry two separate battery covers.

Ratings:

  • Design and Function: 4/5
  • Fit and Finish: 4/5
  • Aesthetics: 3/5
  • Ease of Use: 5/5
  • Performance: 4/5

Purchase:

24 comments

Cheesecake

Aesthetics make the world go round. Seriously though, nice review. Makes me wish I had a Bold to mess around with.

Jason Litka

Any chance of a review on the 1650mAh battery? I've had a lot of bad experiences with 3rd-party batteries in the past (for other phones) that claimed to offer higher-capacity cells but, in fact, actually lasted less time than the original battery.

ipod battery replacement

I'm right with you. Some of these replacement batteries are actually a downgrade from the original battery. This one looks very good, however. *fingers crossed*

bgwavrder

I think you really nailed it. If they want to sell a lot of these, they should also make a holster and skin that will work with the battery. They could've also made a back door that had smoother lines. An an example would be to just not protrude out where the battery is and just allow the whole thing to be fatter. This would also make it easier to create a holster and skin/case that would work.

Great job with this as it really helps with the pros and cons of this accessory.

kasperapd

I spoke with a rep from Seidio and right now there are no plans for an Innocase for the Bold with extended battery :(

They currently have one for the 83xx series, and are looking at one for the 9530.

I agree that if they want to sell more of these batteries, they should make a case to compliment it. Seidio... are you listening??? :)

Send your suggestions to forums@seidio.com

jaxupra

I bought one, and it delivers. The first one I got wouldn't charge using USB, but the replacement works like a charm. I can go two days without charging, but usually plug it in when I'm at my computer. If I were on the road with no access to a charger, I'd just take both the OEM and the 1650 with me.

Snorklewacker

In my first week or so with the Bold, I too had a battery life of about a day (if that--many days I had to charge in order to keep from dying by the end of the day). Then I checked my apps list, and discovered I'd left a couple apps running in the background, most notably the Facebook, Gmail, and Twitterberry apps, that were set to check every few minutes for updates. With all three running, my poor little Bold was hammering the network every couple of minutes, which was undoubtedly contributing to the poor battery.

After I set those to manual updates and started quitting them when not using them, my battery life suddenly jumped back up to two or more days between charges.

shirase

Great review. The pics are extremely useful.

Matafact

I have this, and it works just fine with Seidio Holster, and is fairly secure. Yes, I wish Seidio made a case for the extended life battery, but this battery is great for a plane ride, or us crackberry abusers. I am getting twice the standard battery use out of this product, and am very happy with it!!!

mjm_amelia

I had been using the 3500, but it caused my Bold to restart multiple times a day. After dealing with this for a couple of weeks, I put the original battery in and no longer have the problem.

sling

I have the "Mugen Power" battery, 3600mAh, and the back cover
looks almost identical to OEM
I had to purchase a "Roots" PDA holster due to the thickness of the battery, so far I'm happy!!

atuarre

Just buy more than one regular battery. Not worth all the fuss with dealing with that monster unless you really need it.

armsecond

I have this battery and I'm very pleased with it. I had to get the Seidio holster and it works great itself. It really came down to performance, or the lack there of, with the overall package that is the Bold. I upgraded from a Curve and was used to having good battery performance throughout the day. The Bold was barely making it to mid-afternoon. I had to baby it to get it pass 5:00. That's not the reason you spend the money on a Bold. You want to utilize its performance without thinking about battery consumption. But for whatever reason, Blackberry built a Ferrari with a 10 gallon gas tank. I had to do something, and for me, I would rather have the extra bulk than having to jack with charging multiple batteries. There does seem to be more heat associated with this battery, however, the OEM battery was almost as bad. As far as mjm amelia's comment about hers restarting multiple times, this was happening to me as well. It usually happened when I set the Bold down on a solid surface. As it turns out, the problem is a broken plastic piece that holds the top of the battery in place. This must have broke when I drop it last week. Luckily I was wearing my steel toe boots :-D

sito

what kind of case would fit this new battery?

njdakota454

It might look cheesy but I bought one of these extended batteries and so far the additional time the power gives me is great. I also was worried about having a skin for it. I bought one of those new case-mate skins, the one that even covers the keyboard and i actually cut a square hole in the back of it that allows the battery to protrude out the back of it. it took alot of patience and it might not look perfect (shame case-mate couldnt produce one) but at least i can use this extended battery and feel some level of protection for the screen, keyboard, edges, and around most of the back. good luck!

melodie.chia

I always use aa rechargeable batteries to cut down on costs. Makes so much more sense that using normal batteries and throwing them away once they are all used up. Don't you think this is a better choice?

nimocone#CB

I find that while bulkier, it fits in my hand nicely and I love how long I can go between charges. I got 3.5 days out of mine before I had to charge it. It fits in my 8800 case with the flap just barely closing. I'm not worried about it coming out because it's in snug. In addition, mine did not have any kind of smell to it and I can get the cover off easily.

Very good review and if you want to get rid of yours Al, just leave word here and I'll gladly take it off your hands!

NOKJAA

Thanks Mr. Sacco. Well written review. Will you be doing one on the "Phoenix 2500mAh Extended Battery w/ Door for the BOLD for those of us who don’t particularly care for the ‘Bulge’? Perhaps one of these batteries in the 2400 – 2800mAh ranges would be a nice alternative. I am a proud owner and user of my BOLD. However the battery sucks! See my comments (ranting & raving) elsewhere on this site. I've turned off EVERYTHING except the bare necessities (Blue Tooth for synching with Outlook a few times a day) and still I barley make it a day and a half without recharging!?!?! This is including Auto On/Off…RIDICULOUS!!! In any case I will be buying a replacement. Whether it be the 2500mAh or 3500mAh I need more battery life! Come to think of why doesn’t Duracell make batteries for 3G phones handhelds / PDA’s?...

Also if you want to get rid of it I'll be next in line to nimocone.. :-).

Stinsonddog

I use this battery all weekend long. I love the feel of it in my hand and it lasts forever. Pandora no problem, GPS no problem, both no problem.

www.stinsonddog.com

gomanka

From the seidio website I read, their regular holster can fit the bold with extended battery in place.

pizzo

The 3500 fits fine in my holster. Odd.

dat511

why not just carry an extra original charged battery with you ???

Magssno

Yeh Looks as though this one might be the biz!

Twombat

Body Glove makes a heavy duty silicone sleeve for the Bold - http://www.bodyglove.com/store/products_detail.php?product_id=25757 which includes thick shock protection on the back. With any sharp knife it is is easy to cut out the silicone ribs in the shock protection and then the extended battery fits right into the space. The belt clip has a nice stand attachment built right in.