Multitasking. It’s a wonderful thing, especially when you’re talking hardware that can scratch two itches at once. Which is why the Iomega SuperHero is worth getting excited about: It’s a charging station, sure, but its SD card tailpipe means that it also backs up all those important files you keep on your iPhone. Wait, did I say all? I meant some – and only if you’re really, really patient.
There’s a clear and present need for an iPhone charger that’s the size of a square hockey puck and light enough to disappear inside your carry-on. Business travellers, people too lazy to synch their phones, people who find speaker docks universally gaudy; they’ll find plenty of use for SuperHero as a charger. But! For $US70, you’ve gotta be more than an unobtrusive refuelling station. What sets SuperHero apart is that it automatically backs up your contacts and photos to an included 4GB SD card.
The process really is dumb-simple: you just need to download a SuperHero app, specify whether you want to backup your contacts, photos, or both, and make sure that you your iPhone is unlocked when you dock it. And then? Then you wait.
Let’s make this perfectly clear: the SuperHero works as advertised. It charges your phone; it backs up your contacts and photos. But my word does it take forever. To get my iPhone’s 474 contacts and 169 photos safely ensconced in the SD card’s embrace took three hours and 33 minutes. Restoring them takes nearly twice that. Of course, you only have to go through that initially onerous backup once, and presumably subsequent uploads of one or two photos at a time won’t be so bad. But that first round is excruciating.
It gets worse? It gets worse! The SuperHero doesn’t support multitasking, which means that you’re one phone call away from having all that backing up cruelly interrupted. And remember that it only saves your arse on contacts and photos, meaning you’ll have to sync to your computer anyway if you want any reliable app, music, or video backup.
The SuperHero’s not a bad product, just a limited one. And ultimately, you’re probably better off just putting a Post-it on the fridge reminding you to sync with iTunes, already.