The Best Portable Power Pack

There's the moment when your phone goes below 20 per cent power and you get that foreboding notification — if you don't plug in soon, you're going to die. In some situations, even careful planning can't guarantee a recharge. That's why there are portable power packs — when the power is out, or your travels take you far from an outlet, these are the gadgets that hold a charge for other gadgets. Do these little juice boxes work?

Testing Methodology

We hooked the chargers to a team of gadget guinea pigs low on juice — an iPhone 4, a Samsung Galaxy S3 and an iPad 1. We recorded the battery life on the computer and timed how long it took to recharge on the power packs. After each recharge, we'd deplete the gadget's battery again, and match a different gadget with another charger. For these portable power stations to be effective, they have to work quickly, and they can't crap out before the device is totally gassed up.

3rd Place: Duracell Powerhouse USB Charger

The Duracell doesn't have a long life span. When charging the iPhone 4 at a 45 per cent charge, it lasted for an hour and 10 minutes, boosting the phone to 80 per cent before it cut out. Once the power pack was tapped out and then plugged in, it took a whole three hours to regain its own charge. That's pretty awful, considering that's longer than the amont of time it was working. It's also not compatible with tablets. With a USB port and a mini USB attached, you could technically charge two gadgets at once with this little guy, but you wouldn't want to.

Duracell Powerhouse USB Battery size: 2000mAh Dimensions: 2.5 by 3.3 by .75 inches Weight: 0.5kg Ports: USB, microUSB, microUSB output Time To Recharge: 3 hours from empty Time At Work:one hour and 10 minutes on iPhone 4 Price: $US17.99

2nd Place: Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Mini

The sleek, all black Mophie Juicepack powerstation is lightweight and compact — easy to slip in your purse or your pocket. But it's another case of something that isn't capable of charging your gadget all the way. If you need a power source while you're out for the day, it's a decent option. While it works more swiftly and lasts longer than the Duracell, don't anticipate getting much oomph out of it.

Plugged into an S3 with 24 per cent battery left, the Juicepack took the phone to 54 per cent, over the course of two hours, then it died. The Mophie needed to charge for an hour before it could be used again, after which it took another hour to bring the phone up to a full tank. (Obviously, this was just for testing — in a real scenario, you'd simply plug in the S3).

The Juicepack doesn't work for tablets. That said, it charged more quickly than the Duracell, and it didn't take all that long to be up and running again. If you're out all day and worried about your battery, this is a good thing to have on hand.

Mophie Juice Pack Battery size: 2500mAh Dimensions: 1.92 by 3.64 by 0.53 inches Weight: 196g Ports: 1x USB, 1x microUSB Battery life:2 hours on S3, iPhone 4 Charging:2 hours from empty Price: $89.95 RRP in Australia

BESTMODO! HyperJuice Plug

The HyperJuice Plug is the only charger you need. That is if you were on a long camping trip or suffering through an extended power outage The stalwart brick will power up your iPhone and your iPad simultaneously, and filling them both up without running out. Claiming to be capable of charging your phone 12 times before it goes dark, the HyperJuice Plug is fast and enduring. It took a little over an hour for it to zip the iPhone from 29 per cent to full. Meanwhile, it was also nourishing the iPad, which went from 39 per cent to max power in an hour and a half. And it still had more power left in it. Although it's much heavier than the two chargers it bested, this is the kind of thing you want to remember to pack every time you go on a trip.

HyperJuice Plug Battery size:: 15,600mAh Dimensions: 6.1 by 3.4 by 0.78 inches Weight:453g Ports: 2x USB Battery life:13 hours charging just iPad, 23 for iPhone Charging: 12 hours from empty Price: $US159.95 with Australian adaptor


Comments

    Blah, just got an up / down converter PCB from ebay for $15, tuned it to 5V and hooked it up to a 10 battery bank of 2.9Ah NiMH AA's and a USB socket. Now I have 29Ah of charge for camping for about $50! Blows all these babies out of the water ;-)...

      I just use my existing 120ah battery in the 4wd to charge and run my phone and laptop. It also runs a fridge and lights for four days without charge. I'll just use that I think.

    Is this a paid article? Of course the 15.6k mAh charger is going to be better than a 2k unit. At $160 vs $17.99 you can't compare them side by side.

      +1

      My thoughts exactly. I still have a HyperMac battery pack (HyperJuices' original name before the Apple lawyers got them to change their name); and I have to admit, it's awesome.

      Next time Leslie, try comparing similar products - either similar cost / similar capacity or something. This will actually give us a comparison we can relate to.

      "In my next test I'm going to compare the acceleration speed of three cars. The test environment is they all start from a standing position. All full of fuel. All see how fast they can accelerate - the results will be determined on how fast they reach 100km/ph and the top speed they can attain in the space of 1000m.

      Car 1 - 2012 Mini Cooper
      Car 2 - 2012 Holden SS
      Car 3 - 2012 Bugatti Veyron

      Results.... Wild guess anyone?"

        Holden SS !! ahaha

    Nooo! Apples and oranges can always be equitably compared on Gizmodo.

    Sorta like comparing an MX-5 to an Audi RS8 wagon here. One is cheap and cheerful and great in short bursts. The other is able to be almost all things to all men... at ten times the cost.

    What a useless peice of shite article. I personally have two of the Duracell packs and I love it. I can slip it in my pocket to charge my phone while I go about my business. Try doing that with the hyper juice plug.
    The bonus was I got both of them for $15. Gee I wonder what I would prefer for a device to provide me with a little bit of extra juice until I get to a socket.The massive, heavy device that costa small fortune or something I can chuck in my pocket and cost less than my lunch.

    I bought one of those Duracell ones for cheap off of Catch Of The Day, and I'm glad I didn't pay much for it. When plugged into my S2 it was barely able to keep the percentage the same when just using the phone for web browsing, I couldn't imagine it would last long if I wanted to use it on an extended flight.

    The better option for non iDevice people? Buy a 2nd battery and keep it charged up. My S2 is the HD LTE one from Korea and it came with a 2nd battery and charging dock / stand, which are smaller then the Duracell and means that I get 100% charge, and if needs be I can be recharging the now flat battery off of the Duracell, and if I go through that as well... then the zombies must have happened and the world has come to an end if I've gone 24 hours without a powerpoint...

    I use the Nokia DC-16 which uses a MicroUSB to charge so it works with nearly all smartphone chargers and has a USB port on top so it may work with a iphone cable (have not tried but output is 950 mA???). Funny thing is - its smaller than all the ones you tested while still packing a 2200 mAh battery.

    I'm sorry but there's something hinkey here... The known capacity of the each unit being tested the alleged residual charge in the devices being charged which also have known capacities, the time elapsed to perform each task and the end results just don't add up or make sense - which would lead me to believe your Methodology was flawed in some way.

    $5 iPhone 4 battery from ebay. Comes with miniture screwdriver. Takes 30 seconds to replace battery. 100% charge from empty in 30 seconds.

    That tiny 2000mAh US$18 Duracell one is 0.5kg? While the largest one at 15,600mAh is 453g?
    And dimensions like "1.92 by 3.64 by 0.53 inches" aren't exactly useful to us metric-loving peeps.

    I'll be buying the PowerBank 12,000mAh unit, which also has 2 x USB ports, and only costs $40 with free shipping to Australia on ebay.

    Time for a reboot? Love to see a new comparison.

    Hi I'm looking for a portable power source to run a mini heater with an Australian 3 prog plug. Its only 100w but I can't seem to find anything that you can plug into with a normal household plug, only USB?

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