Everybody runs short of power now and then. Some sooner than later but eventually it will happen.
My previous device, a Palm Tungsten T3, was a real power beast. Especially when using Wi-Fi, I can see the power meter go down while I watched. I kept this device connected to my laptop whenever I could just to keep it topped off as much as possible as precaution for whatever future situation.
My current device — a Treo 680 — is a lot better, but I still need to charge it at least daily, especially when doing a lot of phone calls. But sometimes, mostly when not really convenient, there is no way to plug it in or connect to a powered USB port to do a quick recharge. What to do then?
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In comes Proporta, with its USB Mobile Device Charger with Car and World AC Power. This boasts a 3400 mAh battery that can charge whatever device uses an USB port for refueling. I had the opportunity to review this, and tried it out on a couple of my devices. A duration test was done using my Tungsten T3.
What’s In the Box?
But first things first; what is in the box? The device comes in a normal box together with a World charger which can handle most commonly used outlet types worldwide. A white mini-USB cable is used to connect this World Charger or a Car Cigarette Lighter Charger to a handheld or smartphone.
There is also a retractable cable in the box with a USB connector on one side and a standard jack on the other side. In the box are also a variety of connectors which can be connected to this jack to allow connectivity with quite a number of devices.
The battery pack has a remarkable color and shape. It made me immediately think about an iPod, since it has more or less the same rounded shape and it is equally white. Even the ON switch looks like a miniature version of the iPod navigator (or whatever that is called). My guess is iPod owners were the primary target population for this charger. An impression which gets enhanced by the fact one of the provided connectors will fit an iPod.
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I also noticed a connector to be used with a Nokia-type of phone and another one with a connector which at first sight resembled an Athena connector (the one used on the Treo 650 and later Treos, as well as Tungsten E2, LifeDrive and Palm TX). Unfortunately I was unable to use this last connector since it was just a bit too wide to be used on my 680. Crosschecking with the very responsive people of Proporta learned me this particular connector was actually intended for use with some Motorola devices. They confirmed dedicated Athena style adapters are available.
The charger also has a feature which allows it to be connected to a keyring which can come in handy for real road warriors (like myself).
Using the USB Mobile Device Charger is pretty straightforward. You connect the charger cable with the appropriate connector (or use your device’s USB cable), plug it in the USB port of the charger, and press the button. A light will turn green when current is flowing, and will shut down automatically when no current has been drawn for a minute or so.
The idea is not to have this charger connected to your device all the time since you just will waste energy that is dissipated by the battery protection circuitry of your device. You should use your device, recharge when the battery level becomes low, and disconnect again when it reaches 85% to 90% power. That way you should be able to get several recharges without the need to stay close to a power outlet or USB port for quite a while.
I did a test with my T3 and reached close to 16 hours of continuous use. I am sure I would have got even more battery time if I had applied the above mentioned procedure.
One thing which needs to be mentioned for Treo 680 owners: when connected to the USB Mobile charger (I used the standard HotSync cable), the charging indicator will NOT show on your device. I tested this as well on my T3 using also an external AA-cell battery pack, and came to the conclusion this is related to 680, as the charging indicator does show on T3 using both USB charger and battery pack. The 680 will trickle charge, though; it only takes a bit more time.
Charging the USB Mobile Device Charger itself is also easy: connect the mini-USB side of the charger cable to the battery pack and plug the USB end into either the World Charger, the Car charger, or any powered USB port. Red indicates charging, green shows charging has been completed.
There are similar products available. Some, if not most, based on rechargeable AA cells. However not that many provide the ability to have 3400 mAh in a stylish package which does not take too much hassle to carry around and is extremely simple to use.
Certainly the fact you can recharge this product from any powered USB style port adds a lot of possible options to recharge and be back on the road. I’d highly recommend it for people on the road as versatile recharging solution for quite a lot of devices.
The Proporta USB Mobile Device Charger with World and Car Adapter can be purchased via www.proporta.com and sells for $44.95.