We’ve seen and reviewed a lot of different external backup batteries for mobile devices. Many of them will be coming to CES next month in the hopes that, for once, we won’t be scrambling to recharge our gear. One of the batteries that will be coming along is the Tekkeon TekCharge MP1580 but calling it an external battery is actually not quite accurate. No, the MP1580 can be thought of as a rechargeable battery charger that can double as an external battery. That means it serves a double function when you are on the go. Priced at under $25 it is a neat little product that can come in quite handy in a pinch. Let’s take a look.
TekCharge MP1580, the next generation of our popular MP1550 power pack, takes advantage of AA batteries (alkaline, or rechargeable NiMH or lithium batteries) to provide emergency power to mobile phones, smart phones, iPod/iPhone, MP3 players, PDAs, digital camcorcers, eBooks, GPS and more. This small mobile charger includes a voltage regulator so it wont’ harm your device or its battery.
TekCharge connects to your device in two ways: you can use an adapter to connect to your device, or you can use your USB device cable, bypassing the need for an extra adapter. Micro USB and mini USB adapters are included for most mobile phone and smart phone models. These same adapters also may work with your eBooks, MP3 players, PDAs, portable media players, and other small portable electronic products. If the extra adapter you need isn’t in the package, additional adapters are available from Tekkeon for a nominal fee.
As an added bonus, TekCharge MP1580 doubles as a battery charger, so you can charge your rechargeable NiMH or lithium batteries as needed.
Weight (with four batteries): 4.5 oz (125 g)
Size: 3.2″ (L) x 2.5″ (W) x 0.7″ (D)
Uses: two or four AA Rechargeable NiMH or Alkaline Batteries
Output Voltage: 5V Regulated, Output Current: 1000mA
Charging Time: 3 hours for 2 batteries, 6 hours for 4 batteries
Mobile phones: 12 hrs of talk time
Smart phones: 8 hrs of talk time
PDAs: 5 hrs
Portable media players: 5 hrs of playback
Bluetooth headsets: 50 hrs of talk time
MP3 players: 28 hrs of audio playback
iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, iPhone: 28 hrs of audio playback, 8 hrs of video playback, 12 hrs of talk time, 370 hrs of standby, 7 hrs of Wi-Fi Internet use
iPod touch: 32 hrs of audio playback, 11 hrs of video playback
iPod classic: 118 hrs of audio playback, 20 hrs of video playback
The end of the MP1580 has an on/off switch, a full USB port and a miniUSB port that can be used to connect and recharge it from a computer or a wall adapter. The MP1580 does not come with the wall adapter. It does, however, comes with a retractable USB cable and two interchangeable miniUSB and microUSB tips. If you will be using it with an iDevice you will need to bring your own cable. This is fairly standard with these batteries, but it is something you will need to keep in mind lest you forget the cable and the charger be rendered all but useless.
On the top of the device you will find the capacity indicator lights that are so familiar on their other external batteries.
Green LED (one) 1 – 35%
Green LED (two) 35 – 70%
Green LED (three) 70 – 100%
As I noted in the introduction to this review, the TekCharge MP1580 is an unusual external battery charger in that it really isn’t an external battery charger at all. Instead, it is really a rechargeable battery charger that doubles as an external battery when it is needed. You CAN use standard AA batteries in it and recharge your device that way but that is one of the most ecologically irresponsible things I can imagine. It is GREAT to know that you can use it this way in a pinch but the number of standard AA batteries you would rip through if you normally used it that way would be ridiculous. Instead, you can (should?) use the MP1580 with four rechargeable batteries. In normal usage you would simple have the batteries remain inside the charger and use it in the same manner you would any external battery.
The advantage here however is that, if the need for AA batteries arose for use with, for example a remote, you could simply pop them out of the MP1580 and into the device that require them. That bit of added flexibility could save the day!
The MP1580 is a simple product that offers a bit more flexibility than you will find with most external batteries but remember, it is BYORB: Bring Your Own Rechargeable Batteries.
MSRP: $24.95, but is just $23.39 here in our Amazon Affiliate Store.
What I Like: Compact; Flexibility in that it functions as a standard external battery but also serves as a rechargeable batter charger
What Needs Improvement: Does not come with rechargeable AA batteries; Does not recharge the iPad