TYLT Smart Charger Hardware Review

TYLT Smart Charger Hardware Review

Dec 8, 2015

TYLT is all but synonymous with mobile power, and it doesn’t hurt that thy make stuff that dares to be attractive. Such is what we hope to find in the new TYLT 6K Smart Charger.

The review package that TYLT sent us reflects the item in its retail presentation. The container itself has TYLT’s signature flair, and has the charger, plugin adapters and documentation; the charger comes in blue (there is a grey option too). The prongs are designed to fold in when not in use, preserving the unit’s overall profile, and also incorporates a flat wrap-around micro-USB cable (a Lightning cable version is also available for iOS users).

On the front, there is a simple, push-button battery level LED that allows one to keep tabs on how much juice is available.

The charger is a surprisingly handy with regards to size; it looks like a small brick with rounded corners, and is on the verge of being pocketable. Officially, it comes in at 3 x 3.35 x 1.06 inches, and weighs 5.35 ounces, packing a 6,000 mAh LI-on polymer battery.


The unit’s main calling card is its usability. First and foremost, it is a travel charger; its size lends itself to functional portability, somewhat eliminating the need for an extra cable due to the built-in micro-USB end, while also providing an extra pass-through USB slot for an additional one. The foldout prongs are a great idea, making any and every compatible outlet a viable, on-the-spot power source.

Toss in the battery storage, and one is able to procure extended functionality on the go for multiple mobile devices, so that even when the outlet isn’t available, one has a true portable charger.

The smart charging technology allows devices to be charged till full, and then for the battery to be topped off, which is a great idea. The 2.4A output means it won’t shirk even the roughest mobile charging responsibilities, and real world usage supports this premise. The unit fully charges in under eight hours.

An accessory’s true worth lays in its ability to become close to indispensable. In more ways than one, this one gets there. At $69.99, it is an investment, but it’s extended functionality adds to its value.

Bracketron Road Boost XL Charger Hardware Review

Bracketron Road Boost XL Charger Hardware Review

Apr 29, 2015

To be fair, it just makes sense.

Consider the virtually unending need to power mobile devices… phones, tablets and everything in-between. The number increases exponentially with every computer-savvy person in one’s household.

Then, one thing that tends to happen with kids is battery loss. Mine always find a way to go back to the car — usually in search of a battery dead device, funnily enough — and will then leave a light on, or even a door open. The end result is a dead battery. Seriously, this has happened often enough for me to add checking the car lights and doors every night as part of my daily nighttime routine.

Even for folks with perfect offspring, a dead battery is one of those things that one wants to be ready for. There are plenty of dedicated mobile options, yes, but what about something that is gentke enough to juice up aforementioned mobile devices and still have the muscle to jump-start a car battery?

What if it was just as portable as a regular mobile charger? Now we’re talking… enter the Bracketron Road Boost 3-in-1 Emergency Jump-Start Power Bank.


Based on the retail package Bracketron, it is mostly black, with neon green accents; it is relatively handy at 6.5 x 3 x 1 inches. The bank of buttons, ports and lights on the one long side give an inkling to how it does what it is supposed to do: USB and car charging output ports, power button/flashlight control, voltage and level LEDs, on/off switch, input jack and a jack to connect the auto charging clamps. The review package also came with a storage pouch, wall charger, car charger and jumper cable clamps.

The unit arrived with a charge… all the better to play with immediately. It’s device charging functionality is easily engaged with a 2.1A output; charging the bank itself is equally intuitive using the supplied cable. It charges devices pretty quickly too; I was even able to charge my stubborn device that requires higher amperage. With regards to jumping a car, I had to manufacture an event, but the unit worked very well.

It’s such an interesting option. I like the little things (like included car charger and travel pouch), and the advertised 3000 cycles of battery life and 3 month standby time are definitely attractive; my biggest concern with this type of solution is the it loosing charge. With this, I feel comfortable leaving it in the glove box and setting a reminder every 60 days to top it off. The flashlight is equally appreciated for obvious reasons, and while I might fuss at the fact that it only does one mobile device directly at a time, I will note the mobile charging is a secondary benefit. I do wonder about the long-term durability of the cable; it holds up well initially.

It isn’t the first time this type of solution has hit the market, but it does feel like a mature one. At $129.95, it might not be considered to be too much of an upfront investment.

Nova Blox External Battery Hardware Review

Nova Blox External Battery Hardware Review

Mar 31, 2015

The Juno Power Nova Blox External Battery is a mobile option that looks to give extended life to our mobile devices.

It’s a relatively small piece, mostly silver with deliberate black accents. It has a button on the side, with a micro-USB charging port and what looks to be a prominent LED light on one end, and on the opposite end, there is a USB outlet port. Officially, it comes in at 2.87 x 2.01 x 0.83 inches, and weighs 4.65 ounces. Overall, it is barely bigger than a box of tic tacs, which makes it quite portable and even fairly pocketable. The retail package also provides a micro-USB cable (which can be used to charge the unit and also as an output cable) as well as documentation. We got the silver, and there are other trim options.

Using the unit is intuitive; it came with a good charge (as signified by the hitherto hidden row of charge indicators that line one side), so it was able to be used immediately. Charging pace is good, though, unscientifically, it does feel a tad slower than “regular” AC charging. It’s rated at 4000 mAh capacity (and 5 Volt -2.1A output), so it packs quite a punch.


The power button toggles charging duties, but also has a secondary function: pressing and holding it causes that previously described prominent LED light to show its true purpose as a flashlight. It won’t cut through the darkness Vin Diesel encountered in Pitch Black, in a pinch it isn’t a bad tool to have, especially since a portable charger is key in a power outage situation.

The hold time, raw power output and portability are great features, but almost just as attractive is the pricing. $24.99 on Amazon is competitive. It works with a multitude of devices across platforms… just about most devices that require USB charging functionality.

All in all, as a portable option from a well known entity in the business, it resonates as a great option.

RAVPower USB Charging Station Hardware Review

RAVPower USB Charging Station Hardware Review

Dec 9, 2014

It isn’t me. Really.

I know we’ve been harping on being organized… with good reason, too. With all the devices and accessories, it gets busy. Toss in a kid or two (with their own electronics and such) and a company-issued device, and one begins to approach wired purgatory.

So, it makes sense that accessories that help us to more effectively manage these devices will be if a high premium. Thankfully, proprietary cables are not the norm on Android, because solutions like the RAVPower USB Charging Station use cable standardization as a means to being order to chaos. In essence, this series of products looks to a central port for multiple USB cables, theoretically eliminating the need for several plugs and outlets.

RAVPower sent us two iterations of the product to check out: the four (4) port version (pictured) and the six (6) port one as well. Outside the obvious difference in ports, both units are physically similar, but the 4-Port unit is actually slightly smaller than the “6” at 3.6 x 1.2 x 3.5 inches and 6.1 ounces. Both review units are black, but there is also the option of white. Physically, they both have a polished feel, with a non-slip rubber rectangle on the underside. The port reside on one end, and the power input is on the opposite end. Each unit also comes with a detachable power cord and documentation.


The “6” all but begged to be put through the paces. On paper, it certainly sounds interesting, with three ports rated at a max of 2.4A, and the rest are 1A. Setup is intuitively easy; the unit is plugged into a power source, and then individual electronics can be charged by it via USB cable inserted into onto one of the ports. And yes, the unit charges as advertised. The stated iSmart technology (which adjust charging output as needed) is a simple helper that makes sense.

Where it really shines is the portability. It’s easily slipped in a Go-bag, and while putting it in my pocket isn’t something I would prefer, it can work.

I might be asking too much, but for my needs, even though the unit helps with an organized front, the user will need those USB cables. I am weary about retractable solutions, but maybe, just maybe that could make it perfect. Still, as-is, it is an excellent solution worth trying, and one that lends itself to the notion of being indispensable.

Antec LifeBar 10 Portable Charger Hardware Review

Antec LifeBar 10 Portable Charger Hardware Review

Oct 16, 2014

Yes, batteries in mobile devices have gotten better, but in the spirit of being prepared, it just makes sense to have a backup plan. Way back when, getting a couple extra OEM batteries was sufficient. Now, sealed batteries are more commonplace, and having multiple devices at any given time is not unheard of; in any case, all those extra batteries start to add up.

Nah, it makes sense to have a portable battery, and when it comes to mobile power solutions, few are as capable of Antec; hence, checking out the new LifeBar 10 Portable Charger is far from a chore.

It’s a slick-looking unit, with subtly angled corners gently pulling out octagon-ish shapings from “regular” cuboid. At one end, there is a 5V DC micro-USB port that is itself bordered by two USB output ports.There are LED lights and a reset button. The polished exterior is nice to hold, and size-wise, it is quite pocketable at 5.39 x 2.81 x 0.51 inches and 9 ounces. Visually, it feels like it manages to be be stoic and relaxed at the same time.lb2 The review package (retail) also contained a white USB cable and documentation.

It’s advertised as a 10,000 mAh charger, so expectations are high. The LifeBar 10 came with half a charge, so I was able to get it going immediately. I tried it with several devices: S5, M8 and several devices. The charging rate is equitable, even when used to charge other charging units. With two devices being charged simultaneously, I wasn’t able to discern any loss of rate. Little things like the LED flashlight also make it a bit more useful in a crunch.

Also, the standby time is fairly remarkable; It held charge over several days.

Antec, with this piece, shows it is possible to have a decent product that, well, isn’t ashamed of looking good. It is fine accessory, and if we should be so lucky, its manufacturer won’t tire of bringing similar style to the marketplace.