There are all sorts of battery packs on the market these days, some are very small and compact, and offer a capacity of just 4000 MAH(milliamp hours), while others offer as much as 24000 MAH. As a general rule, the larger the MAH rating, the more expensive the device and the larger the size and weight. For heavy duty users, they may wish to consider something of a higher capacity than 6000 MAH, as they probably carry several other devices in a bag of some sort anyway, so a much larger battery is not necessarily an issue. But for times when you just want to have a couple charges worth of power while away from an electrical outlet, or when you do not need to charge multiple devices at once, a smaller, more lightweight option may be best. Enter external battery chargers like the one being reviewed here.
What's in the Box
In the box, you will find the charger itself, a carrying pouch, and a coiled micro USB port for charging the device through something that charges USB powered devices. No additional adapter ends are offered to charge other devices.
Description of Device
This external battery pack measures about the width and length of the iPhone 5, but is about 1.5 times as thick. For those who like numbers, it measures 12.4 CM high, 6.7 CM wide and 1.3 cm thick, or 4.88x2.64x0.51 inches. Unlike a lot of chargers on the market, this one is constructed inside a sturdy aluminum case and feels very solidly built. You will find 3 ports on the top of the pack: 2 USB ports for plugging devices in to charge, and a micro USB port for charging the actual battery. The micro USB port is in the middle between the other 2. On one side, you will find a button, and nothing on the other sides or bottom. If the button is facing away from you and is on the left side, you will find the nearest port is a 1 amp port. On the other side at the top is the 2.1 amp port. 2.1 amp ports are required for tablet charging, and also will charge phones that support this capability much faster than the 1.0 port.
When the rubber hits the road
This battery pack functioned well over the past month that I have used it. It was able to charge my Refreshabraille 18 one full time and also my iPhone 5. I then had enough for about half of a charge further on my iPhone 5 before the battery was depleted. Unlike other battery packs, this one does require that you press the button on the side to begin charging the device you have plugged in. What I like about this charger is that it's small, light weight, and gives me enough power to get through the day with both my iPhone and Refreshabraille 18, with a little left over if needed. if you're a tablet user, this may not quite fit the bill for you, as I was only able to charge my iPad Mini about 70% of the way with this pack before it became dead. However, for a day's worth of use, that should be plenty to get you through I'd think. This battery pack took about 5-6 hours to recharge while plugged in to a 2.1 amp USB port. This means I can use it as needed throughout the day, plug it in, and have it ready to go in the morning again without any issues. One final note of positivity about this battery pack is that it does not have a flashlight. Many battery packs nowadays do have this feature, but for a blind person, this is highly annoying. If you bump the flashlight on, and cannot see that it's on, you may go to charge a device such as your iPod when you need to, only to find out you drained the battery using the flashlight. This is not an concern with this particular charger. There were a few minor things I didn't care for, but were certainly not deal breakers for me given the $20 price tag on the charger. For example, the micro USB plug that comes with the device is a coiled USB cord that only stretches out to about a foot. SO depending on what you're plugging the battery pack in to, this could be an issue due to a lack of cord to work with. Also a minor inconvenience is that there were no ends for other devices such as to a lightning cable, mini USB plug, etc. That said, since you most likely have the correct cord for your device anyway, it's not that big of a deal.Conclusion
While I enjoy having a high capacity battery at my disposal for trips, emergency situations, and other circumstances where I will not be near an electric out let for an extended period of time, I do not wish to carry a bulky battery around with me on a daily basis. This battery pack serves that need and does so very well. Priced at just over $20 on Amazon, I have found it well worth the money, and have also worked with students on budgets who have found it serves their needs as well.