Power your iPhone (and other gadgets) for up to a week – Gadling reviews the ZAGGsparq

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 investment

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.

Final thoughts

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

Daily deal – Kensington iPod and iPhone battery pack for $26.24 (after rebate)

My daily deal for today is for a product I reviewed last year. The Kensington Mini battery pack and charger for iPod and iPhone is (as the name implies), a portable backup battery pack for your iPod or iPhone.

The device can charge off any USB charger or USB port, and comes complete with a retractable miniUSB charging cable.

The battery pack can add up to about 30 hours of music playtime, 6 hours of video, or 3 hours of talk time. To start charging your device, you simply plug the battery pack into the dock connector of your iPod.

When I wrote my review, this product retailed for about $47. It has since come down in price, and is on sale at Buy.com for $36.24. The deal gets even sweeter once you apply the Kensington $10 rebate to your purchase.

The rebate form is valid for purchases made till January 11th, so don’t wait too long. Buy.com will ship the unit for free.

Daily deal – APC UPB10 battery pack for $14.95

My daily deal for today is the kind of product you should buy first, then decide whether you really need it.

The APC UPB10 is a small external Lithium-Ion battery pack suitable for charging most USB powered devices. This includes most Blackberry devices, iPod devices, the iPhone and almost every other smartphone on the market.

The device comes with a standard USB cable for charging off your PC or existing USB charger. To charge your device, you simply plug it into the UPB10 and let it do its work.

The 10Wh capacity of the battery is sufficient to fully charge most devices once or twice.

A device like this can be a true lifesaver, if you have ever found yourself stranded at an airport with a dead phone , or mid-flight with a dead iPod, you’ll learn to appreciate the ability to breathe some life back into your gadgets. Just remember to carry your USB cable wherever you go, or to buy a spare.

The UPB10 normally retails for about $50, but Frys.com has it on sale for just $14.95. Shipping is about $6 for most destinations, and lucky readers with a local Fry’s store can opt for in-store pickup to save the shipping costs.

Daily deal – Black and Decker 20 Watt portable charger

Today’s daily deal is for the Black and Decker Pocket Power 20 watt charger.

This portable charger has an internal battery pack, and an integrated inverter that turns battery power into AC power and a standard USB port. With these 2 charging methods, you’ll be able to charge and power small gadgets using their own AC adapter or a USB charging cable. The device has enough capacity to power devices that draw up to 20 watts, which means almost any mobile phone,mp3 player, PDA or other small device. It will not power a laptop or any other high power appliance.

The Black and Decker 20 watt portable power charger is currently on sale for just $14.95 at Amazon.com. Amazon customers with a Prime account will get free shipping, all other customers will have to pay shipping or purchase enough to reach the $25 threshold for free shipping.

If you don’t already carry a gadget like this, I can highly recommend purchasing one. If you ever run out of power on your mobile phone or iPod, you simply plug it into this unit. The internal battery pack has enough juice for about 2-3 full charges on most small gadgets.

(via: Fatwallet.com)