Whenever I travel, I always make sure that I have some way of charging my iPhone and iPad on the go. Looking for a wall socket to charge up whilst remaining there for the entire duration is not an option in my book. Over the past few years, I’ve used smartphone battery cases like the mophie Juice Pack Air, PhoneSuit Elite, and the even solar-charging Eton Mobius. They packed in about one full charge, so at most, these cases were good for a two-day trip.
Recently, I’ve been using the HyperJuice Plug 15,600 mAh external battery pack, and even though it isn’t a battery case per se, I’ve found that it suits me perfectly for longer trips. Let’s take a look at it. And yes, we’re giving it away to one of you!
The HyperJuice Plug is manufactured by a Chinese company called Sanho Corporation, which mainly focuses on Apple accessories and also makes external batteries for the MacBook; for which the company has won several accolades in design and engineering.
The HyperJuice Plug is available in two configurations: 10,400 mAh and 15,600 mAh. The 15,600 mAh model is priced at $159.95 and is $30 dearer and slightly longer than its lesser-capacity brethen. To be honest, I question the need for the 10,400 mAh model and would recommend paying the extra $30 for the peace of mind. You can get them in six attractive colours options.
The external battery pack idea is neither novel nor recent. The current market is riddled with battery packs of varying capacity and gimmicks, all designed to complicate the decision-making process for the consumer.
TYLT’s $89.99 Powerplant has a 5,200 mAh internal battery pack, which only provides two full charges and is oddly shaped like a brick. It does however, feature a Flex Arm with built-in Lightning connector.
New Trent’s iCarrier is a serious contender. At $76.95, it’s less than half the price of the HyperJuice Plug, and features a 12,000 mAh internal battery.
The HyperJuice Plug
To recap, the exact model that we’re reviewing is the HyperJuice Plug 15,600 mAh in Jewel, which is currently one of the highest capacity external Li-Ion battery packs I’ve encountered. It’s about the size of a small book — 155 x 88 x 20 mm; and weighs 453.5 g. On its own, it might feel rather heavy but didn’t notice it at all when placed in a backpack along with the rest of my gear. It doesn’t really add a substantial amount of weight. The HyperJuice Plug also has 5 LED indicators to display the amount of remaining charge it holds.
What makes the HyperJuice Plug stand out among its competitors is its built-in retractable wall plug. This negates the need for an additional cable to charge the battery pack. Instead, all you do is slide the wall plug out, and plug it into a wall socket. The only downside to the idea is the fact that the retractable wall plug isn’t interchangeable and comes with a US-style 2-prong plug head. While this may work well in the US, you will need an adapter in other parts of the world. I’ve tried using this in Australia with the supplied US-to-Australia adapter, and the HyperJuice Plug is simply too heavy to stay plugged in firmly to the wall socket. My solution is to charge it by connecting to a powerboard and placing it on the floor.
Unlike most external battery packs with only one specified high-output USB port, the HyperJuice Plug features an Intelligent Power Distribution System. Basically it shares the 15W of power between two USB ports. It will deliver 5W (5V, 1A) of power to any port connected to smartphones, and 10W (5V, 2.1A) to any port connected to a tablet. If two tablets are connected simultaneously, it will share its maximum power of 15W equally between the two ports i.e. 7.5W (5V, 1.5A) and 7.5W (5V, 1.5A).
The 15,600 mAh HyperJuice Plug claims to be able to provide the first and second generation iPads with an additional 23 extra hours of battery life, the third generation iPad with 13 extra hours, and can fully recharge an iPhone up to 11 times. Although I haven’t personally tested their claims on the extended iPad battery life, I have used it to recharge my iPhone 5. Realistically, the HyperJuice Plug is able to perform 7-8 complete recharges before requiring a recharge itself.
When that happens, just slide the plug out and find the nearest wall socket. Because it’s quite heavy, the HyperJuice Plug might sag slightly when connected to an international socket or when using a travel adapter. In fact, you might even think that the two prongs will break from holding its weight. Rest assured that the construction is quite solid. If you’re concerned, it might help to use something to prop it up and support its weight. From experience, it takes between 12-18 hours to fully charge the HyperJuice Plug. So charge it well before an upcoming trip.
Should you buy the HyperJuice Plug?
For short trips, I’d arm myself with an iPhone battery case, like the mophie Juice Pack Helium (which we’ll be reviewing soon). But if I’m travelling for more than a week, I’d definitely take the HyperJuice Plug with me. It manages to pack in enough juice to recharge my iPhone 5 at least seven times.
Moreover, I love its design: it’s slim and conveniently shaped like a book so it’s easy to store. Plus, since it features a built-in retractable wall plug, it means I won’t need to bring along an additional cable to charge it. The only down side? It’s a US-style plug.