One of the main challenges for those of us who attend CES, is making sure our mobile devices stay charged. Year after year we find that, half way through the day, we are scrambling to find somewhere to plug in and repower. Not. This. Year.
No, this year is going to be different; this year we are going to carry enough backup batteries to easily make it through the day. (Yeah, I know we said that last year but, this year, we mean it.)
I reached out to our friends at Just Mobile, and asked if they might be willing to help equip us for the show; they were kind enough to send not one but two of their external backup batteries for review and for use during CES. The Just Mobile Gum line of batteries comes in a variety of sizes and capacities, and we have the two larger capacity batteries in hand..
When it comes to backup batteries there are a few key things to keep in mind.
First, you want the battery to have a decent capacity. After all, what’s the point of carrying an external battery if it won’t actually help you keep going throughout the day?
Second, you want the battery to be simple to use. Consider this: if you are on the go, you don’t want to have to stop and fuss with all sorts of buttons and settings. No, you want to be able to simply plug in your device and keep going.
And third, you want your backup battery to be tough. What’s the point of having a backup battery in your bag if it’s going to break the first time it gets jostled around. I wouldn’t have thought to write this last point except for the fact that I reviewed a huge backup battery a few years ago that had multiple USB ports and, after just a few days of use, every single one of the ports was off-center. I, in turn, didn’t trust the battery to work perfectly ever again, and to prevent overloading my devices with a faulty battery I tossed it into the recycling bin.
The Just Mobile Gum series of backup batteries achieves all three of these key requirements, and it adds a fourth – Just Mobile found a way to make the batteries look cool.
Let’s see what the company has to say about the smaller of the two batteries, and then take a look at the specs and functionality. Then we’ll turn our attention to the larger battery in a follow-up post
- High capacity – 5.200 mAh Li-Ion battery
- High power – 2.1A current
- Micro USB and Dock Connector cable
- Storage pouch included
- 5 LED capacity indicators
What’s In the Box:
- Gum Plus
- Apple dock connector
- USB-to-microUSB cable
- Carrying pouch
- User manual
I love the fact that the battery has just one button and two ports — a microUSB port for charging the battery on one side and a full-size USB port for accessing the charge that is stored on the battery on the other. No, you can’t charge multiple devices at one time with this battery, but since it can rapid-charge an iPhone I think this is less of a consideration than it might otherwise be.
A simple button on top of the battery turns it on and lets you know how much charge is remaining.
And although it’s not necessary, the company includes protective bag and a few cable adapters. The cables work fine if you have a last generation iOS device, but you won’t be able to charge your current generation Apple iOS device unless you supply your own cable.
I appreciate the functionality of the battery, but I also happen to like the way it looks. If I have it sitting on my desk it looks quite decorative. Not something that I particularly need in a backup battery, but it certainly is nice to have.
At 3.1″ x 2.3″ x 0.9″ and weighing in at just 4.62 oz the Just Mobile Gum Plus battery isn’t big, but it sure packs a punch. And while at just under $90 it is a bit on the pricey side, it is one battery that should serve you well for a long time to come. It has a guaranteed place in our CES 2013 gear line up and I expect it to see quite a bit of use for a long while after CES is history. You can.
What I Like: Small but powerful; Simple but effective; Strong and comes with a carry pouch; 5.200 mAh Li-Ion battery charges an iPhone 3 times and can get to 90% in under an hour
What Needs Improvement: Pricey; BYOLC (Bring Your Own Lightning Cable)
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample