Sunday, July 03, 2011

Hardware Review: Kensington Travel Battery Pack and Charger

The Kensington Travel Battery Pack and Charger provides a nice jolt of battery power while you are on the road and gives you a handy horizontal viewing stand as well. However at its retail of $70 and street price of around $40, other chargers provide a greater value.

I was generally disappointed in the design of this device. The Travel Battery Pack and Charger has an integrated USB connector, but beware, it’s quite short and I had trouble charging the pack with my USB hub and other USB charging devices. Kensington claims the integrated USB tip is a feature since it’s all you need to carry, but I found it an annoyance as its weight made it fall out of my Apple-supplied iPhone charger. The device was an awkward size of 1.50" x 2.75" x 6.00" making it difficult to carry in my jeans pocket or in my laptop bag.

As a charger it delivered 1500 mAH of power which Kensington claims amounts to 23 hours music, up to 7 hours of video and up to 5 hours of talk time. The ergonomics of the device made it near impossible to hold the iPhone and keep the battery connected: this device was simply not designed with talking in mind.

Using the Travel Battery pack while on a flat surface was completely acceptable. The dock protector was an integrated horizontal viewing stand for the iPhone which made it easy to use on the plane to catch up on my TV viewing. I also liked the 6 blue LEDs indicating exactly how much of a charge was left.

While better values exist in external battery chargers, some users might find the “kickstand” cap a neat feature for their extended video viewing needs on the iPhone and others might value the integrated USB port that eliminates the need for a cable. I certainly didn’t and after testing, this devicehas been sitting on the shelf unused. It’s a design that just didn’t work for me.

Pros: A sizable 1500 mAH of power, integrated USB port and horizontal kickstand
Cons: Bulky, difficult to use the short USB connector, difficultly using the phone while charging.

5 out of 10