The Lenmar Portable Mini-USB Charger ($24.95, but as low as $15.99 online) is a small device that, as its name implies, charges cell phones and other gadgets via its mini-USB port. There's no need to be plugged into an AC outlet; once charged, this accessory can restore power to mobile devices fairly quickly. It didn't fully charge our iPhone, but if you need more juice in a pinch this affordable accessory is a must-have.
The Portable Mini-USB Charger, which houses a 5.2-volt lithium ion battery, measures 2.5 x 1.5 x 0.5 inches--about the size of a box of Tic-Tacs. It weighs only 1.5 ounces. Two USB ports are on the top of the unit: one standard-size for charging the device through your computer, and a mini-USB for outputting juice. The Mini-USB Charger comes with plugs for the iPhone, mini-USB, and micro-USB. Additional tips are available at www.lenmar.com for $9.95, but they're hard to find; you'll need to search for "tips" on the Web site. The charger is available in black, blue, green, silver, pink, and red.
During our tests, we were able to fully charge the device itself in 1 hour and 2 minutes; a small LED on the device changes from red to blue when it is fully charged. It was able to juice a BlackBerry Curve to 75 percent in just over an hour. Likewise, we recharged an iPod nano fully in an hour and a half, with some power to spare; we were able to provide a quarter-charge to another nano's battery afterward. On another full charge, we were able to juice an iPhone to about 50 percent capacity in 34 minutes before the charger ran out of power.
Given its low price and very light weight, we're impressed by the Lenmar Portable Mini-USB Charger. It refuels relatively quickly and will bring your dead cell phone, smart phone, music player, or other device back to life when you can't get to an outlet.