When I’m at festivals, one of my biggest bugbears is trying to keep my phone charged for long enough to receive emails and make emergency calls. Last year, when I had an HTC with removable batteries, I resorted to taking several fully charged spares to switch in and out. It was cumbersome but it worked. This year, however, I have an iPhone 4S and cannot remove the battery, so I’ve had to look into other means to keep my phone alive.
If, like me, you’re looking for something more durable and efficient than the chargers you can put standard AA batteries, you’ll need to look into a high power charger such as this one from Kit. This type of unit allows you to charge USB supported devices from just about anywhere, and can be recharged and reused again and again.
The unit arrived in a white unbranded box, and the package also included both a micro and mini USB cable. Notably there were no instructions. The unit I received was already around 75% charged though, which meant I could start using it straight away. I was surprised at how compact and light the unit was, having tried similar devices before which looked more like desktop hard drives. The design is simple – a plain white metal casing with a mini USB port on the back for charging the unit, two standard USB ports on the front for charging devices, an inset power button for turning the charger on and four circular lights to indicate the level of charge.
Charging the unit
The unit charges exclusively over USB. If you’ve only got the items included in the package, this means charging via a standard USB port on your computer using the mini USB cable. You could also supplement this set up with a USB mains or car charger if you don’t always want to use your computer, although you’ll need to buy one of these separately. Once the unit is plugged in charging starts instantly, with the four circular top lights blinking and then turning solid blue to indicate a full charge.
Charging your devices
The unit has two front facing USB ports for charging – one at 2.1A and the other at 1A. Instructions would’ve been useful here to explain which should be used for each type of device, although a quick Google search indicates that generally speaking the 2.1A is for tablets and the 1A is for phones.
To start, use your devices standard USB cable to connect with the appropriate bus and then press the white on/off power button on the top of the unit. (Note that you can’t charge a device whilst the unit is plugged in and recharging.) Once your device is fully charged you can unplug the cable and after a few seconds the unit will automatically switch off.
I charged my iPhone 4S in record fast time, then my iPad 2, and then both devices simultaneously without any problem.
This is one of the most compact reusable emergency chargers I’ve come across. It’s also lightweight and perfect for carrying around in a bag or pocket. Although some will be put off by the fact that there are only two charging ports, realistically you’re unlikely to need much more than that when you’re out and about.
My only criticism is with the lack of any form of documentation. Whilst it’s simple enough to use, some guidance as to supported devices for each port and methods of charging would provide useful reassurance.
It retails for £39.99.