Powertraveller's Powergorilla portable laptop charger ($289) is potentially more useful than other power packs in that it can charge both your notebook and another portable electronic device at the same time--with no outlet in sight. Considering the number of gadgets a road warrior travels with, the Powergorilla could be a handy tool, but its high price gives us pause.
The Powergorilla is a flat aluminum slab with two rubber grips on either side of the unit. Measuring 8.7 x 5.1 x 0.6 inches and weighing 1.4 pounds, it's a bit cumbersome to carry around in anything short of a laptop bag or backpack. On the top of the unit, there's a plug for charging the device, and two output plugs: one for USB gadgets, and another for powering or charging a laptop. The unit has a 2.5-inch display that shows available battery life and the current power level. It also lets you change the output voltage (5v, 16v, 19v, or 24v) depending on the device you want to juice.
What You Can Charge
The Powergorilla comes with 8 male and 7 female laptop adapters, which work such brands as Acer, Apple, ASUS, Dell, Gateway, IBM, Sony, and Toshiba notebooks; check to make sure your notebook is supported. We easily found the right plug for our Gateway notebook. Adapters for iPod/iPhone, LG, microUSB, miniUSB, Motorola, Nokia, PSP, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson phones are also included, as are three Worldwide AC adapter tips. The charger also comes with a small neoprene carrying case with a zipper.
The device's "over-charging" protection helps save energy by automatically stopping a charge when your gadgets' batteries are full. The Powergorilla also has built-in overheating protection, and we noticed the unit never got hot to the touch.
The Powergorilla should be able to provide an extra 2 to 6 hours of power for a notebook, and more than 20 hours for smaller devices, such as cell phones and PMPs. During our tests, we charged the Powergorilla by plugging it into an outlet; its battery was completely full in 4 hours and 22 minutes. The retailer that provided us with the unit, EcoGeekLiving.com, claimed it would charge in 2 to 3 hours.
To charge a Gateway T Series notebook, we set the Powergorilla to the 19v power setting, and it filled the laptop's six-cell battery up to 62 percent--enough for 2 hours of use--in 1 hour and 13 minutes before it ran out of stored electricity. That's not bad considering the speed with which it was able to complete this task. With a Lenovo IdeaPad S10e netbook, whose six-cell battery lasts nearly 5 hours on a charge, the Powergorilla only provided enough power for 2 hours and 21 minutes of use.
With both the Gateway notebook and a T-Mobile G1 smart phone plugged into the unit, we were able to bring the notebook up 49 percent and fill up the G1 halfway in 1 hour and 50 minutes; at that point, the Powergorilla was out of juice. With just a single Nokia N82 plugged in, we were able to fully power the phone in 2 hours and 6 minutes at the 5v setting.
Powergorilla Portable Laptop Charger Verdict
The price for the Powergorilla Portable Laptop Charger seems rather steep, but it's a good accessory to have on hand when you need to provide extra juice to more than one gadget. It won't fill up your notebook's battery, but you'll get a few more hours of productivity before needing an outlet.