Today we’re looking at a better way to... POWER DEVICES ON THE GO!
Devices get thinner and batteries get bigger capacities. It’s an odd concept that looks strange on paper but has become more or less expected in consumer electronics. Every cell phone released from here on should at least give you a full day’s use. That’s still not enough for some, for you I’ll feature the Zero Lemon 9300 mAh extended battery. Zero Lemon makes batteries for a nice range of phones, but only for phones. For tablets, bluetooth accessories and anything else with a USB tail swinging in the wind, Limeade’s 18000 mAh Blast L180X is enough power for a full vacation in one compact package. This much power used to need wheels and a carrying handle but can now fit comfortably in your pocket. Finally, we welcome all comers here so if you’re still using ancient AAA, AA, C, or D batteries I’ve even found a modern way to do that; Sanyo’s Eneloop Super Power Pack of rechargeable NiMh batteries. Every piece can fit in a backpack and with these three options there isn’t much that you couldn’t power on the go.
NOTE: I did receive “universal” laptop chargers for this review roundup as well. Due to the fact that the tips weren’t truly universal, I’m going to hold off until a later time, giving the companies a chance to address the issues that popped up.
9300 mAh extended battery for the Galaxy Note 2 by ZeroLemon
When the Note 2 was released here in the states it packed the largest stock battery available in a smartphone, 3,100 mAh. More than enough for a full day's work or play. Some play harder though... ZeroLemon's extended battery was the kind of product that leaves your mouth agape and makes you chuckle. It seems so outrageous, something like the first time you heard an electric car could go get the equivalent of 100 miles to the gallon. We can always use more fuel and a longer range of use, but when you're used to a certain standard the next step can just seem shocking.
So now that you've taken a moment to let the shock subside, is the battery what it seems? The first thing you'll notice and most unique thing about the ZeroLemon battery is the size/shape. Even though this battery offers 3 times the charge of the stock battery and more power than any other extended battery on the market today, it isn't that much bigger than extended batteries that offer half of the capacity. It's possible because of their unique stacked design. The company has basically taken a stock battery and glued it to a second battery that is the width and height of the entire phone's back but still as thin as the stock battery. This stepped design conceals the bulk very well. ZeroLemon includes a TPU case that when applied looks and feels like Otterbox's Defender case in the hand. Definitely thicker but not too bulky to use comfortably. If you have an old Defender case around, there are many popular mods online where industrious souls have cut out holes to allow you to use this mega battery with the look and full protection of a normal Otterbox case. The included case is fitted to the metal border of the phone and it offers a very nice grip as it comes.
The battery actually performs too. Of course the way you use your phone will determine how long 9300 mAh will last, but I personally averaged about 2.5 days per charge. You'll definitely charge this overnight and you'll want to make sure you initially give it a full 12 hours before first use. Like any extended battery, you won't see the full potential until you calibrate. To do that, simply run the battery out and charge it from zero to full. Then you need to run the battery back to zero without attaching a charger between. The more you do this, the truer life you'll get. I did the full cycle three times to be safe and I'm very happy with the results. They offer versions for many popular phones at very decent prices. BUY WITH CONFIDENCE.
18000 mAh Blast L180X battery backup by Limeade
You'll think that's a typo above but it isn't, 18,000 mAh external battery pack. You can almost charge that ZeroLemon battery twice. Limeade’s Blast has two USB outputs for dual charging of any USB powered devices. While the company offers three different capacity chargers, the 18,000 definitely turns the most heads. It is double the price of it's smaller sibling, the L156X which still boasts an impressive 15,600 mAh. If you really can't live without the extra 2400 mAh then go for the big boy, for my money the 15,600 is the winner.
Whichever model you'll pick, each looks identical except for a slightly smaller build for the L130X (13000 mAh). Each charger is wrapped in a very modern and clean looking smudge resistant matte black rubber. On the top you'll find two USB outputs, one at 2.1A (tablets and large phones) and one at 1A (most standard smartphones, bluetooth accessories, etc). Next to the USB outputs you'll find an LED flashlight because why not? Two taps of the single side button turn it on or off. A microUSB input charges the battery pack itself with 2A which is double the power of most other external battery backups. The 18,000 mAh version is fully charged in 11 hours thanks to the super fast 2A charging speeds. Along the front of every pack is a 4 light battery indicator that illuminates what you have left with a single press of the side button. Everything about the pack is intuitive. Whatever should be included in a battery pack is included. Finally an included dual purpose microusb/30-pin apple charging cable decreases clutter. It really feels like someone wanted to design their own perfect backup battery and then decided to share it with the world.
The one thing you're left wanting for is laptop charging. To have all of this capacity and no way to charge my dying laptop is always a bummer. Other battery packs with this much juice almost always offer a “universal” laptop charging option. They come with sets of interchangeable tips and they work for most but can't normally keep up with newly released computers. If you have a laptop that you're happy with and you can find one of these batteries that offers a compatible tip, you need to seriously consider these true all in one backups. If you're strictly mobile though and you survive with a phone, tablet, and some bluetooth accessories then BUY WITH CONFIDENCE. The Limeade battery packs offer more than enough confidence to go anywhere and do anything with your mobile devices for days. At half the price of the 18000 mAh version, The Limeade Blast L156X is my true recommendation through the company's full line. The 18,000 mAh version should be closer to $75 to make the jump possible, at double the price, stick with the 15,600 mAh version and save $50.
Eneloop Super Power Pack by Sanyo
Though it can seem so, not every device is rechargeable by design these days. Bluetooth speakers and keyboards can sneak them in and so can most of your home's remote controls, smoke/carbon dioxide detectors, clocks, etc. These pieces still demand some good old fashioned AA, AAA, C, or D disposable juice, but old fashioned batteries are just so wasteful. The convenience of never needing to find an outlet is nice, but each household throwing away hundreds of batteries a year is not so nice. Rechargeable batteries are thankfully cheap enough now that if you haven't already, you NEED to make the switch and this might be the best way to do so quickly, easily, and CHEAPLY!
Sanyo's Eneloop emerged as a leader in rechargeable batteries that work. Many seek out the brands that they grew up with just because of name recognition, but anyone that does some basic research clearly realizes there is a difference in the market. Sanyo understands the product that they are designing. That seems like a given, but more often than not, brands play catchup and try to attach their name to an emerging technology when they have no real engineering or innovation to add to the category. Sanyo doesn't fit in with that group.
The Super Power Pack is an all in one battery center for your home. It's a powerful idea, no more junk drawer full of random rolling orange, silver, and black cylinders. The hole system come in an organized reusable carrying case that resembles a simple home tool kit. Inside individual compartments hold 8 AA, 2 AAA, 2 “C” sized spacers that power C devices using AA batteries, and finally 2 “D” sized spacers that also use AA batteries to power devices asking for D batteries. All of the pieces are charged by a single wall charger that is also included in the pack. To get you started immediately, the batteries come pre charged at nearly ¾ capacity. It's important to note a couple of things about using the C and D spacers. They each use a single AA battery for power while traditional C and D batteries will have capacities between 3-5 times that much. You can find rechargeable C and D batteries out there but they are very expensive and most likely need dedicated chargers. The other thing to consider, the spacers are made of plastic and they are open on the bottom, If you aren't careful, the spacer can catch on the negative terminal spring on many devices and possibly cause damage. You'll need to always be careful when installing and removing the spacers.
The batteries are each individually rated to be good for 1500 charging cycles. That means that if you decided to fully use and charge these batteries once a day, every day, you'd still be covered for 4 full years of power. Another benefit is no memory degradation. Over time some rechargeable devices gradually hold less and less of a charge, the Eneloop system shows no “memory effect”. You'll get a full charge every time for the full life of the battery. In the same vein, these batteries don't leech power over time while not in use at the rate other batteries can. A fully charged battery can be placed in a drawer and after 3 years you'll still see 75% power remaining.
I won't need to buy another battery or charger with the combination of the above devices. No more juggling power adapters, no more waste for the environment, and no more wasted dollars!
Thank you again to the companies above for supplying their product for review.
ENJOY YOUR GADGETS!