I never really thought that I would need something like this. After all, I included a basic AC adapter in with our bug out bags for my wife’s iPhone, we have a DC charger for her phone in the car, and we even keep a charged prepaid phone in the car as well. Why would I need one more piece of electronics?
Well, the more I thought about it the more I came to realize that I couldn’t necessarily rely on an external power source, be it a wall plug or even a car to power our (likely) one and only two-way communication device when we’re bugging out. Who knows if the cell towers would work, whether the phones lines will be jammed, or what, but I decided a lack of power wasn’t going to be my bottleneck.
Anyway, this battery pack is capable of charging a variety of devices, including (according to the description) the “iPhone 4S 4 3Gs 3G, Android, Samsung Galaxy Note S S2, HTC EVO sensation Thunderbolt Nexus, Droid Motorola Razr, LG optimus V, Blackberry Bold curve Torch.” It comes with a cable to charge certain phones (can’t remember which now) but not the iPhone due to apparent proprietary issues (argh!). This is only slightly annoying as it means you will need to include the appropriate cord to charge Apple products with the battery pack. As such, if you intend to keep this battery in your bug out bag (as I do) then you’ll want to order an extra cord. You also need to already have a wall charger (with USB output) in order to charge the unit itself. So, long explanation short, if you have an iPhone then buy a complete wall charger and cable set; other phones probably only need the wall charger and not a cable. Buy an aftermarket from Amazon and save lots of money.
As for the unit itself, it’s rather solid, compact, and comes in a convenient carrying case too. I decided to place mine in a zip loc bag for extra protection from water or rain just in case. Unfortunately, I couldn’t shove the wall charger and cable into the provided carrying case so it all just went in the zip loc bag. Note: I considered vacuum sealing everything for 100% water protection but then I wouldn’t have been able to take it out for periodic recharging.
Besides being able to charge small devices it can be used as a mini light (though fairly dim) and even a laser pointer (not sure why I would want that). When charging (or discharging), the unit has four blue LED lights on the front that indicate state of charge (e.g., 25%, 50%, 75%, 100%). It takes up to 5-6 hours to fully recharge the unit from the wall.
Now the reason why I bought it…
Why I bought this battery pack is that depending on the device you’re trying to charge you should get two to three (or more) full charges out of it (for most smartphones, that is). Think about how useful that is! Never tried it on an iPad or larger devices but that’s not what it’s intended for.
Recharging a device is very straightforward. Just plug in your phone as usual and instead of connecting to the wall charger you use the battery pack.
What I found during my tests…
Over the course of a few days I decided to test the battery charger so I know what to expect out of it.
I started with charging our iPod Touch (2nd generation) which has a 800-900 mAh battery (I never could figure out which size was correct) because my kids use it a lot and really run down the battery. I was able to charge it multiple times, twice when it was 2/3 discharged and once when 1/2 discharged for an approximate total charge of, let’s say, 1500 mAh. I also charged my wife’s iPhone when it was slightly more than 1/3 discharged; because it has a larger battery capacity (of about 1400 mAh) I used another 500 mAh. Added together that’s a total of 2000 mAh (or 2 amps total), which should be significantly less than the 5200 mAh that the battery charger can hold. So, I was confused when the four LED lights seemed to indicate that the battery pack had less than 50% charge left.
Anyway, I decided to keep going and over the course of about two days I charged either the iPod Touch or iPhone at various states of discharge for an very approximate additional charging of about 2200-2500 mAh. Added all together, I believe I used between 4200-4500 mAh of total charge from the Trent iTorch Battery Pack (as compared to the listed 5200 mAh capacity) and because it still hadn’t run out of juice I was satisfied enough that it was as advertised.
So, I recharged the unit, packaged it up, and placed it in our bug out bag. I would suspect that I’ll need to periodically take it out and top off the battery charge but probably not very often (maybe every few months). Overall, it seems solid and does what I wanted, though, I only wished I didn’t have to also purchase an additional cord for my phone.