Iogear's GearJuice--Mobile Pocket Power proves that portable gadget chargers don't have to be unsightly. The sleek cell phone and MP3 charger holds at least three full cell phone charges, eliminating the hassle of finding a power outlet on the road and carrying around extra adapters. But without your laptop, the GearJuice has limited power.
The palm-sized shiny black pack is slim and lightweight and fits easily into a back pocket. The push of a single button on the front of the device lets you know how much juice is left with a blue four-bar LED. The side of the device has a standard USB port and a small DC jack for charging.
A coiled USB cable is included in the package. It's used to charge the GearJuice and transfer its charge to your gadgets. The six included interchangeable tips attach to the end of the cord and, according to Iogear, can charge any standard portable device in the market. That seems a bit ambitious, considering the included mini USB, two Nokia, a Samsung, and two Sony Ericsson tips cover a limited number of handsets, MP3 players, and Bluetooth headsets. The GearJuice does work with iPods but not the iPhone. And any device that can be charged using a standard USB cord can be recharged through the device's female USB port. If your phone or device tip isn't included, a number of tips are available for purchase through Iogear's Web site starting at $4.99.
Charging the power pack took three hours through a laptop's USB port. We were disappointed not to see an AC adapter in the package. Those who'd like to power their mobile devices on the road without a laptop are going to be limited to three charges (which is sufficient for short trips) or left looking for the closest PC. By plugging the USB cord into the side of the device and attaching the mini-USB port tip to the cord's other end, we were able to charge our almost-dead BlackBerry 8830 in about an hour and a half. Like most other chargers of this breed, the GearJuice isn't exactly speedy on the recharge. What's more, our BlackBerry lost its full charge quicker than it typically does when it's charged via an AC power adapter, suggesting a full recharge of a device isn't really a full recharge.
On the other hand, we had no problem bringing a dead phone back to life with the pack. We plugged the Samsung tip into a dead Samsung UpStage and were happy to see that we could use the phone while it charged. We were able to make a call in less than a minute. However, we wish the cable were long enough so that we could tuck the GearJuice into a pocket while it was connected to our phone; the pack hung from our ear as we made calls. True to Iogear's word, we got about three full phone charges from the pack before having to recharge. The company maintains that the battery's cycle will provide 500 full charges.
If you travel with your laptop and own a phone that uses one of the supported tips, you'll find the GearJuice to be an indispensable accessory. For the price, this is one of the best chargers available.
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