Portable backup power gadgets are nothing new. We’ve covered a whole bunch of them here, but today’s battery pack is something really special. Most power packs have the capacity for one or two full charges of your portable gadget, so imagine how cool it would be if you carried something capable of making your iPhone (or other device) last for up to a week.
This review will introduce you to the ZAGGsparq. The ZAGG name probably rings a bell, they are better known for their excellent device protection film, and their recently introduced ZAGGbox multimedia hub.
The ZAGGsparq looks like your everyday power brick. It features folding prongs, 2 USB ports, a button and 4 LED’s. It is what is inside the ZAGGsparq that makes it so handy – an AC charger (suitable for 100V-240V outlets) and a 6000mAh Lithium-Polymer battery pack. If that number doesn’t make any sense, all you need to know is that the battery in the iPhone 3G is 1150mAh. This means you can get up to five full iPhone charges from the ZAGGsparq.
Using the ZAGGsparq
Using the ZAGGsparq is just like using any regular USB charger – you plug your device(s) into the USB port, and plug the unit into the wall. When you need power on the go, you just plug them directly into the unit, and skip the outlet.
Despite its high capacity, the unit weighs just 8.4 ounces. This is obviously heavier than the original iPhone charger (which is tiny), but when you travel a lot, being able to keep your phone going this long is invaluable. Just imagine a powerpack that can keep your iPhone playing video for up to 50 hours non-stop, or even as much as 150 hours of music.
The price of such a luxury is fairly steep – the ZAGGsparq sells for $99.99 (down from its normal price of $129.99). If you never find yourself with a dead phone, then spending $100 isn’t going to make much sense. But if you have ever been stuck at the airport, or mid-flight with a dead device, you’ll find the investment pretty simple to justify.
Of course, the ZAGGsparq isn’t just for the iPhone – it’ll work with any device that can be charged over USB. This includes all Blackberries, iPods, many digital cameras and game consoles and anything else with a compatible USB charger cord. It will not power your laptop or netbook, for that you’ll need to invest in something like the Tekkeon MyPower All.
There is very little not to like about a device that promises to keep your gadgets going. The weight is not too bad, it has two USB ports and it works on any international power supply (assuming you carry your own plug adapters). Included with the unit is a European (mainland) plug adapter, but no USB cables.
My only minor issue with the device is that the fourth power status LED never seems to stay on – even when I have not used the device. After a full charge, I have all four lights, but after a couple of hours it always drops to three. Still, it has not impacted its power capacity (at least not that I have noticed) and in my tests, it really does deliver on its promise – my iPhone 3GS has been charged every night on the ZAGGsparq for the past 4 nights, without the need for a wall outlet.
PROS: Huge battery capacity, dual USB ports, worldwide power compatibility
CONS: Possibly unreliable battery indicator
Product page: ZAGGsparq