Review: Mugen Power 3000mAh Extended Battery for Nokia 808 PureView
What do you get the Nokia 808 PureView owner who's got everything? Why, an extra 1700mAh or so of battery power, of course! This is the official Mugen Power extended battery, complete with replacement battery cover (and integral contact points and antenna for NFC, naturally) - and, as you might expect, it's not exactly cheap. But it is emminently worthy of a review - and on the whole the Mugen Power 3000mAh battery performs completely as advertised, notwithstanding a little confusion in the OS and a few worries over battery contacts.
Mugen Power has been at this game for years, we've seen extended batteries for almost every major Nokia (and other manufacturer) smartphone and it's not surprising to see a power pack that's well built, well packaged and clearly annotated. The instruction leaflet that comes with the pack is a little draconian in its advice, but better safe than sorry. I had the advantage of being able to do the initial charge in a mains charger rather than in my actual 808 - I suspect that average users won't quite follow the advice shown below to the letter, though I doubt problems will ensue.
In this case, the white battery cover had been sent over for review, slightly galling as I had a black 808, but hey, a two-tone device has its own style and, if anything, doesn't look quite as fat, as you'll see in the bottom photo. Here are the two components of the pack - the battery itself, 3.8V nominal voltage at 3000mAh - pretty impressive until you realise how thick the cell is! Note also the internal contacts, mounted on plastic pillars, and the large sticker - the contacts go to the coiled NFC antenna underneath the sticker (and yes, I tested NFC with the replacement back in place and all was well).
The base part of the replacement battery sites in the same well as the original cell, with a 'second storey' cell mounted on top. Here's the result, inserted in my Nokia 808 PureView, note that the Mugen battery sticks out just as far as the 808's camera hump(!):
One thing I've noticed with all Mugen batteries is that they err on the side of having battery contacts (actually sprung receptables for the pins sticking out of the phone's motherboard) that are very tight. The same is true here, out of the box the battery wouldn't glide onto the pins properly, as shown above - the cell remained proud of the bay:
I had to gently prise the contacts apart with a small screw driver and then the battery rode down nicely onto the 808's pins. All of this isn't a showstopper but worth bearing in mind - some TLC is definitely needed in order to get the Mugen Power battery installed properly:
Moment of truth time - the battery cover snapped on neatly enough, albeit without anywhere near the same positive click that the original cover still has. Having said that, the replacement cover hasn't fallen off yet, so I don't want to judge it too harshly.
In place, you can see the result, with the 808's thickest part now being the battery compartment and not the massive camera. This along should give you a good idea of the dimension change needed in adding this accessory. The two-tone look below isn't unattractive, but you do have to keep telling yourself "Yes, it's very chunky but I can forgive that because I'm not ever going to run out of power before the end of the day again!"
The acid test is in use, of course. The 3000mAh claim feels about right, I ran my 808 for a whole (long) weekend (so over 60 hours) of normal use on a single charge and still had some battery power left. However, there's no way to check the capacity or even reliably check the charge remaining, since Symbian OS (obviously) knows nothing of the Mugen battery and works out its stats according to the batteries it knows about.
Thus we have the situation where, even with a fully charged Mugen in place, even Phonetinfo shows a 'nominal capacity' of '1342mAh', which is clearly wrong. The only stat I trust is the actual voltage reported and, luckily, this is (very approximately) mapped by the Symbian OS battery guage. So, although most battery software will give a false reading with this battery in place, at least the sense of 'quite a lot left' or 'nearly empty' in the status bar guage will be appropriate. On Android, Mugen supply a utility to help manage your custom battery - it would be nice to see an equivalent for Symbian.
In summary, there are no real surprises here:
- The Mugen 3000mAh battery is a very solid performer (and worlds away from the cheap batteries you see on eBay)
- It's correspondingly expensive, the best part of US$100 - see Mugen's web site etc.
- With the extended battery cover in place and with the battery in situ, your Nokia 808 gets a lot heavier and thicker.
The trade off between size/weight and battery life (and expense!) is a tricky one and will depend heavily on your use case. One cheaper alternative is simply to buy another standard (or BL-4D) battery and swap them out if you run low on power. But, if you absolutely have to have the most mAh possible in a Nokia 808 PureView, then the Mugen Power solution is, as usual, a perfectly valid, if not trouser-friendly, solution.
Reviewed by Steve Litchfield at