What do you do when you need juice and there’s no outlet!? Get a portable battery.
Before my trip to Austin for SXSW, part of the preparation process involved buying some supplementary electronics to make traveling and non-stop usage of my gadgets possible. During a typical day I usually have direct access to a laptop or an outlet, along with countless chargers so I usually never have to worry. However, at an event like SXSW where you’re traveling between a convention center, restaurants, halls, hotels rooms, and every where in between; sometimes chargers and outlets are extremely hard to come by.
After some research I came upon the PNY 7800 PowerPack. The PowerPack is a dual-port portable battery which allows for simultaneous charging of two devices at once. The charging ports are universal, allowing you to charge virtually any devices which uses a USB charging cable. To that effect, the PNY PowerPack can charge iPhones, Android phones, Blackberries, Windows phones, etc. I chose the 7800 mAh version since its can hold an enormous capacity. The box states that “a fully charged 7800 PowerPack can recharge most smartphones up to two times”, of course varying by device. After two and a half weeks of normal use I can confirm that, that statement is true. The PowerPack charges very quickly, taking my iPhone 5S from 10% to 100% in 40-45 minutes during two different times of a day of non-stop usage. After two charges I still had about 20% left so it was nice to still have an emergency reserve.
In the box is the battery pack itself, and its connector cable which charges the pack through USB. You can charge it through any wall charger that has a USB connection, a laptop, or computer. One of the best features of the PowerPack is the fact that right on the outside of the battery is a digital display that tells you exactly how much power (in percentage) is remaining in the pack.
I mentioned before that you can charge two devices at once. One of the PowerPack’s USB connections delivers 2.1 amps while the other delivers 1 amp. As logic would dictate, the faster number means faster charging. The lower amp rate is to account for older devices (typically pre-2007) which came with chargers that weren’t designed to take advantage of faster USB chargers.
You can still plug pretty much any USB device into either side but if it’s an older model it will take a little longer to charge. If your device is SUPER old (im talking about 2000….) then plugging it in to the 2.1 amp side may not do anything at all and you’ll have to use the 1 amp side. You won’t harm your device either way.
The battery pack is about the same width of two iphones stacked on top of each other so you probably won’t have this in your pocket (especially if you’re wearing skinny jeans or don’t have pockets to begin with). However the device is very light at 2.9 ounces (~82 grams) so its comfortable to carry or slip in a bag or purse. The build is very good, it looks nice with the brushed aluminum, and it doesn’t feel cheap. There are smaller versions that have that still have the useful digital display and are cheaper, but they hold a smaller amount of power. Check out the PowerPack 5200 or the PowerPack 2600 (can only charge one device).
According to PNY, you can recharge this guy over and over without having to worry much about battery degradation (I’ll revisit this myself every quarter or longer to see if it’s still the case…). The PowerPack goes for $39.99 on the PNY site, though I purchased mine from Best Buy for $30. It’s currently going for $34.24 at B&H Photo & Video and $34.98 at BestBuy. Note that both places do free shipping–BestBuy does price match.
All that being said the PNY PowerPack 7800 worked out fantastically for me and remains my go-to portable battery when I’m out on extended periods without access to an outlet. Have any questions about this review? Leave a comment below!