We originally ran this piece back in March, but we figured the timing was right to re-run it as summer tour and festival season hits its stride. The Jackery works like a charm to give you plenty of additional mobile battery power. Also, this will be the final Technology Tuesday here on Hidden Track, so we just wanted to thank Parker Harrington for his incredible contributions over the past few years. Look for his new column on our new home.
Mobile batteries haven’t really been something to get excited about. A couple years ago they were novel but they are becoming as ubiquitous as smart phones themselves. All sorts of sizes & shapes have been floating around ranging from monster-sized bricks to form-fitting sleeves like Mophie’s Juice Pack. Yet, I’ve never quite found a portable charging solution that packed enough power, was portable enough, charged quick enough and was versatile enough to make it a great solution for portable charging needs.
Thankfully, Jackery has released three products that all offer ultra fast charging, huge capacity and fantastic form factors. The Mini (2,600 mAh), The Bar (5,600 mAh) and The Giant (10,400 mAh) all sport pretty stylish looks along with some cool features. Read on to learn why these Jackery products make for the best portable charging solutions available.
The Problem: When on the go, like traveling for business, hitting summer festivals or any other time you are away from AC sockets for an extended period, your gadgets crave power. Tablets, e-readers, smartphones, noise-canceling headphones, portable GPS units, gaming devices, portable music players – the list goes on and on. Some smartphone users, of course, have the luxury of removable batteries but having a spare battery only solves the recharging needs for that device. Many people, including iPhone users and Nexus 4 users, don’t have that ability. A portable, external battery can be a Godsend. However, many have charging rates of a slow trickle and don’t have much capacity even though they can be quite heavy. Also, many lose their power quite quickly, even when not charging. Jackery solves all these issues providing blazing fast charging, extremely lightweight, beefy capacity and can hold its power for six months.
The Mini: [$29.95] This is about the size of a lipstick tube and not much heavier, weighing just about 2.5 ounces and measuring 3.7″ x .9″ x .8″. Certainly easy enough to stash in a pocket or travel bag. Jackery claims that the mini is the world’s smallest external rechargeable battery. I love the size of this and perfect for a day of traveling when charging becomes a problem for your phone. Simply charge the mini by plugging into a USB port and four LED lights indicate power level. The sleek design and brushed metal feel absolutely great and extremely sturdy in your hand. The 1 Amp output is enough to quickly charge most devices. Packing 2,600 mAh you’ll get up to 50 hours of additional use out of your iPhone or similar devices.
[Jackery Mini. About the size of a lipstick tube]
The Bar: [$39.95] The Bar is mini’s big brother and about twice the size of The Mini. measuring 3.8″ x 1.8″ x .9″ and weighing a still light 5.4 ounces. I’ve been using The Bar for a couple weeks and couldn’t be happier with the results. Hands down the best portable battery I’ve ever used. Kicking out 2.1A of output, it is the world’s smallest portable battery with that much output. Your phone, tablet or other gadget will charge blazingly fast. With 5,600 mAh power capacity, you’ll be able to take your phone from empty to 100% charge several times. You can get well over 100 extra hours of use for most smartphones making at perfect for a multi-day trip when power will be a premium. In addition to charging, this one also sports an LED flashlight that illuminates brightly (can literally light up a dark room) for 450 hours. Wow! Just like the Mini, it feels sturdy, well made and looks great.
The Giant: [$59.95] If the Bar is the big brother, the Giant is the Grand-Daddy. This monster is still relatively light at 10 ounces and still portable at 4.3″ x 3.1″ x .8″. Packed into this device is 10,400 mAh with two output ports (one at 2.1A and one at 1A). There’s enough power in here to recharge an iPad from empty, several smartphones, and not even put a dent into the power. You can get up to 220 extra hours of operation from an iPhone which makes a perfect for a multi-day camping outing or hitting a multi-day music festival when charging could be an issue. The Giant also sports an LED flashlight.
All three devices have a few things in common:
- You need to press a button to start charging after plugging your device in. This is part of their “power lock” technology which ensures that no power is lost when not actually charging. Several of the external batteries I’ve used in the past, trickle down a few percent every day when not in use. The quick button press may be inconvenient, especially if you forget to hit it when needing a quick charge, but I’ll trade that off any day knowing that they can hold their full charge in standby for up to six months.
- They do come with a USB cord but it is relatively short – you may want to swap it out with a longer one to make charging more convenient.
- There’s no AC plug built into the device so you have to charge via USB only. Charging is pretty quick for all of them but AC can sometimes be easier.
- There’s advanced battery safety with four layers of protection ensuring safety for you and your devices.
Bottom Line: Again, there’s not much to say about portable batteries. Flimsy cases (my Mophie was RMA’ed three times when I had an iPhone), slow charging (.5A) and meager capacities are the norm for many alternatives. The Jackery products simply work. They are ruggedly made and look great. On top of that, for each size, they pack impressive output power and capacity. These are great batteries and you’d be well served to keep one in your travel kit.
Note: I just recently (like today) discovered a similar product to the Jackery Mini on one of my favorite websites: Monoprice. A very similar form factor and equal capacity and output. Only slightly longer but I haven’t evaluated this in person. For the frugal shoppers wanting to save an additional $10, the Battery Backup #9752 is worth consideration. I’ll check it out and update in a coming column.
Jackery Mini $29.95 on Amazon
Jackery Bar $39.95
Jackery Giant $59.95
Hidden Track Technology Tuesday
Have an idea for an article?
Product, app, or web service you are passionate about? Feel free to get in touch with me.