The short battery life that accompanies our Android smartphones can be one of the biggest everyday frustrations. Users have opted to use multiple and extended batteries or plug themselves to a power outlet as often as possible. Another great solution for this issue is to buy a handy portable battery charger. The IOGear GearPower High Capacity Mobile Power Station (Amazon link posted below) happens to be one of the best (and most affordable) options available.
We thought the best test for any portable charger would be CES, since attendees spend most of the time outdoors. Whether it be on the showfloor or at any of the other events, those 4G LTE smartphones are bound to die off in the middle of the day.
After carrying multiple portable charging devices, the IOGEAR Mobile Power Station was definitely the one that stood out from the crowd. Some of the other ones were a bit smaller, but were not even worth carrying around, as they barely tickled our devices’ batteries. Others were simply not as efficient, so I decided to carry this one as my sole alternative charging unit.
Everything went great throughout CES, and I managed to never run out of battery without using a single power outlet at the convention center. This bad boy holds a 6,600 mAh battery and has two ports, which allows you to charge a couple of devices simultaneously. The charging station is also not as large and heavy as some of the competing portable chargers.
It’s definitely not the smallest, but this device does have the advantage of featuring 2 USB charging ports. One of them is a 2.1 amp charging port while the other one charges at 1 amp. The 2.1 A USB port is meant for more power-hungry devices, but you can also use it for the little guys. It simply affects the speed at which the device is being charged.
While its 6,600 mAh battery can charge the average smartphone 3-4 times, it does not perform as well in the real world. This would be the case if the device were turned off while charging, but you usually use a device while plugged to the external battery. I am usually able to charge my HTC Thunderbolt about twice while using it (with 4G LTE).
It is important to note that this charger by no means charges your devices as fast as a power outlet would. It usually takes about 4 hours to fully charge the Thunderbolt when plugged in to the 2.1A port (while using it). I am able to completely charge an iPod Nano within half an hour, though (1A port). It all depends on your device and how much juice it eats up.
This IOGear charger is very straight-forward and simple to use, as are most portable chargers. It has one button, a light indicator, a micro USB port for charging the portable battery, and two USB ports for charging your devices. That’s it. And it’s just as simple to operate.
Simply press the button, and the light indicator will let you know how charged your IOGear power station’s battery is (4 blue lights for full battery and 0 for empty). To charge your devices, plug them in to either of the USB ports and press the button to begin juicing up your device(s). When the portable battery dies, plug your micro USB cable/power charger (two pieces) in to the power outlet, and the light indicator will let you know when the device is fully charged.
There is downside, though. The portable charger cannot charge your devices while it is being charged itself. Adding such a feature would have been great, but this is definitely not a deal breaker. If you’re charging the battery, you’re probably near a power outlet, anyway. But let’s take a look at the good and the bad:
- Large battery – 6,600 mAh
- 2 USB ports – 2.1A and 1A
- Easy to use
- Very portable, considering its functionality (3.5×4.4×0.6 inches ; 7.2 ounces)
- Can’t charge portable battery and devices simultaneously
- Charging speed is much slower than a power outlet (but not horrible, either)
The pros definitely overshadow the cons with this product. It’s definitely one of the best portable chargers we’ve seen. And for its price, it’s quite a no-brainer if you’re looking to extend your battery life. This device goes for a mere $42.24 at Amazon, and it ships for free with Super Saver Shipping.
It is small enough to carry around in your bag or in a larger pocket. I usually wear cargo pants/shorts, so I would just stick this charger on one of the lower pockets with a cable coming up to my regular side pocket (where my phone would be). You can easily stick both in a bag or back pack, though, if you’re not into wearing cables.
We would recommend the IOGear Mobile Power Station to anyone in the market for a portable charger. Be sure to take a look at it before making your decision. There are more images, as well as a video, posted below. Go ahead and take a look at it for more details, and long live our batteries!
Would you guys get one of these for a bit over $42? (Amazon link is right below if you are interested). If you currently use another of these devices, do you think it is better? Which one is it?
Amazon link: IOGear GearPower High Capacity Mobile Power Station