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3.16.2012

PowerGen Mobile Juice Pack Ultra Review

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It’s that time of year…the frantic month before the Penny Arcade Expo East.  Time to start packing your PAX bag, find your chargers, mobile devices, memory cards, and portable games.  Last year at PAX we ran our iPhone batteries dead several times over.  It’s a geeky gathering and everyone there has a tendency to tweet, photograph, surf, and otherwise play around with our phones during 3 very long days of the convention.  Last year my wife and I came prepared with a backup battery.  It was a Griffin TuneJuice.

It’s a handy little battery pack.  It takes 3 AAA batteries & puts out enough USB power to top off an iPhone.  I think most of the time I could usually get back to full from 20 or 30% on an 3GS using it.  It eats through your charged batteries fast, and recharging Lithium-Ion cells in your hotel room isn’t a very fast process.  At the end of the day we’d usually stick one of the phones in the room on a charger while we used the TuneJuice to nurse the other phone during concerts or dinner.
This year I’m planning ahead and we’re going to carry a little better solution.  I picked up a PowerGen Mobile Juice Pack Ultra based on Amazon feedback.  I also considered the Mophie Powerstation brick, but decided to give the PowerGen a shot due to the much lower price.
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The PowerGen battery arrived yesterday, so I gave it a charge (it came 2/3 full) which took a couple of hours. The packaging says it takes 5-6 hours to fill the pack up from empty and that it can fill an iPhone in about 1.5 hours. Included in the package are a wide array of phone and device adapters, covering most of the major devices including iPhone, iPod, iPad 30-pin dock connector, all flavors of USB, and 2 USB cable pigtails to use with the adapters.
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Pushing the button on the pack displays the battery level lights, double tapping turns on the LED flashlight.  The pack shuts off charging after 6 seconds if no device is connected. IMG_4058
Case quality, fit, and finish are all good.  It’s shiny, and gets smudged easily, but who cares, it’s going in your laptop bag and you know it.  It charges via a micro USB port on the side.  The included charger is a AC to USB wall plug capable of charging the pack at 1W / 1000mA (so you can probably use it as a spare iPad charger) Charging via computer USB would take longer because of the lower Amperage on most computer USB ports.
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To charge a device, you just assemble the cable you need using one of the two different length USB pigtails and one of the ends, or use your existing device cable with a USB A connector on it.  Plug in the device and tap the “home” button.
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JuicePack iPad test
To sum up you get about 55% of an iPad charge over the course of 3 to 3.5 hours. The reviews and packaging say you should be able to get about 2 iPhone 4/4S charges out of it, and after running it out on the iPad I believe it. This pack does output the full 1000mA that iPads and other hungry devices want, so you can charge and use it at the same time. It’s small enough to keep in a pocket.  I test charged my wife’s iPhone 4S up from 9% to 95% in 1h 45min, it only lowered the battery pack gauge to 3 lights / 75%.
The plan is to take this little guy with us this year.  We should be able to top off both phones from one charge, and it charges fast enough to fill up overnight at the hotel room.  I also picked up DS and 3DS USB charge cables so I can charge them if needed. (The 3DS is a battery hog and using standby mode & street pass all day will probably run the battery down)  I tested charging these as well and it worked fine.
If I needed to charge faster I’d probably look into the Mophie pack. It has higher amperage and should work faster.

6 comments:

  1. Timely post for me. My wife just picked up an iPad 2 to use as a point-of-sale device for festivals where she sells hand-dyed fiber products (yarn, fleece, etc...). We rarely have electric in the booth and this batter charger sounds like a good start to topping it off in the middle of a 10 day.

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  2. I would maybe look at the mophie as its a faster charger or look at a higher capacity pack for the iPad. Make sure whatever you pick can output 1000mAh. This one works for iPad. But it's slow. Works really well for phones and handheld games though.

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  3. Use and charge, what does speed matter then? It's quick enough to keep up with that much.

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  4. I got a Powergen 5200 for Christmas this year, 2012. Already in February 2013, it stopped holding a charge. Worthless!

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  5. I'm going to purchase one; just in time for PAX East this year after learning my lesson last time. After one year of use; was this a good purchase?

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  6. Hi, my PowerGen mobile pack 6000, bought only a few months ago, seems to only charge up to 50% of its capacity, I'm talking about the unit itself. I only get 2 of the 4 blue lights lit despite it being plugged in all night. Am I doing something wrong? Do I need to run it down completely before recharging, or maybe its faulty and needs to go back. Thanks for any advice? Any advice gratefully received.

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