Monday, February 4, 2008
The Lil' Sync USB Mobile Power Pack: Power on the Go
Posted by Jason Dunn in "HARDWARE" @ 08:00 AM
External batteries either work or they don't, and the Lil' Sync USB Mobile Power Pack from PPC Techs works. But how do you decide between this battery and another one? You look at power capacity, size, price, weight, etc. When I want to use a small, portable device battery, I use the excellent Proporta Mobile Device Charger, so that's what I'm going to compare the Lil' Sync USB Mobile Power Pack to since I think that's its main competition.
First and foremost, it's all about the power. The PPC Techs unit packs an impressive 4400 mAh of power, which is 29% more than the 3400 mAh that the Proporta unit supplies. Equally important is how much juice the battery kicks out - the PPC Techs unit manages an impressive 1000mA of output. This is enough to charge my Zune 80, which is something the Proporta battery can't do because it tops out at 700mA. So from a power perspective, the PPC Techs Lil' Sync USB Mobile Power Pack wins hands down. There's more to consider though: price and weight. The PPC Techs unit costs $69 USD, the Proporta $44.95. The PPC techs unit is thicker and a bit heavier but shorter (2.75" L x 2.10" W x .86" H, 4.3 ounces) while the Proporta unit is wider and longer, but thinner and lighter (3.9" L x 2.4" W x 0.6" H inches, 4.2 ounces).
I haven't had a chance to do any hard-core testing with the PPC Techs battery, but with its 4400 mAh battery, I could completely charge my T-Mobile Dash (with its 960 mAh battery) around four times and still have a bit of juice left to spare (there's always some power lost when one battery charges another). Put another way, I'd be able to recharge my Zune 80, my Dash, and my wife's iPod Shuffle - probably two times each. That's a lot of recharging!
The PPC Techs power pack is kind of like the Millennium Falcon: it's not much to look at, but it's got it where it counts (I don't think it can make point-five past lightspeed though). I actually prefer the manual off/on switch to other implementations because I know that when it's in "on" mode, it's supplying power. The Lil' Sync USB Mobile Power Pack recharges with an included USB cable - you connect the miniUSB end to the battery, and the USB end to any USB port and wait for it to complete charging. There's a helpful power level indicator that shows you approximately how much power the battery has left - 100% full, 66% remaining, or 33% remaining.
All in all, I'm really impressed with this little battery and I look forward to taking it with me on my next vacation. It's a bit more expensive than Proporta's offering, but the extra battery power, and especially the extra power output, make it the first battery I'll take with me when I need to extend the battery life of my mobile devices. If we had an Editor's Choice award at Pocket PC Thoughts, this product would definitely win it.
Jason Dunn owns and operates Thoughts Media Inc., a company dedicated to creating the best in online communities. He enjoys mobile devices, digital media content creation/editing, and pretty much all technology. He lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with his lovely wife, and his sometimes obedient dog. He likes things that help him use his electronic gizmos for longer between power outlets.