While traveling, once thing that I’ve always hated is sitting in an airport, or on a long train ride somewhere and not having an outlet to plug up my MacBook Air. So I started looking for an external battery pack that was in my budget that wasn’t too gaudy, but would charge up my MacBook in the event I cannot charge my laptop when I get that red 5% alert.
There aren’t many of said products on the market, but I did stumble upon the BatteryBox from GBatteries Energy. The BatteryBox certainly isn’t cheap. At $220, it’s cheaper than Lenmar’s ChugPlug which was my other option, but I decided against it because the Batterybox looks a hell of a lot slimmer. And trust me it is.
BatteryBox doesn’t require a MagSafe adapter, due to Apple’s tight grip on the way third party companies handle connection to their devices. As a result the BatteryBox created an alternative that looks a bit like a binder clip that attaches to the MacBook itself. But the heart of the gadget is also a part of its name. It’s square shape is, you guessed it, a box. The black rectangle is said to add about 12 hours of battery life to my MacBook Air 11-inch which is obviously enough for me on a typical flight out west, or a 6 hour trek up north.
Recently I caught the train up North for a trip and by chance left my actual Apple charger in my suitcase just to test out the BatteryBox. The BatteryBox doesn’t require me to be plugged into an outlet, so unlike when I usually travel via train, I’m scrambling to find a seat next to an outlet (even though I was luckily to still get that window seat), I had my trusty BatteryBox.
The BatteryBox itself when you open it’s all black packaging is pretty simple. The Batterybox itself is the largest thing in the box, which is about a pound in weight, and stands about 2 inches tall. That being said, this isn’t something you’ll be carrying in your back pocket at all. The BatteryBox has three LED indicators that I wish weren’t just green dots but more so actual percentages. Having five dots for its 60-Watt battery can’t really identify how much battery you have remaining on the actual unit at all. Sure you can say “if there is one dot remaining, you might want to charge it,” but one dot could mean either 20%, or 1% depending on this method, especially if you figure 5 dots is fully charged.
Also in the box they included four separate SnapFits, which is BatteryBox’s patented MagSafe alternative that allows you to charge your MacBook without the use of Apple’s “magnet” method.
Each Snapfit is fit to a specific MacBook model. One is for the 2012 or later MacBook Air Models in either 11-inch or 13-inch. The final two are for the MacBook Pro in 13-inch or 15-inch. So if you have the latest MacBook with the USB-C.. this Bud’s not for you. Each Snapfit has its model engraved on the actual key like clasp so there’s no guessing games to play. Each of the clasps will surround the peg that goes between your BatteryBox and the charging port itself.
One thing I did notice is that when sitting around and fidgeting the cable isn’t as “secure” as the standard Apple cord that comes included with the MacBook’s. It’s still pretty sturdy, thanks to the fact that the SnapFits key-like end to it extends past your MacBook’s escape key. But there are perks.
Since BatteryBox is its own source of power, it doesn’t need to use your MacBook’s battery while charging, as it does the heavy lifting for you. Most chargers for your MacBook actually degrade your MacBook’s internal battery, and can affect its overall performance. However, your Batterybox is said to last for over 3,000 cycles which is worth its weight in gold.
The best feature I found I liked about the BatteryBox though is not only does it charge my MacBook, but it also simultaneously charges my iPhone 6 Plus. Versus doing the “wall plug dance”, or having to “charge the phone to 50% so I can use the outlet for my phone”, the BatteryBox doubles as a device charger. You can get about 75 hours out of just charging an iPhone 6 along on the BatteryBox, or about 50 hours on a Samsung galaxy. If you’re charging a tablet, you can figure it to be about half that amount. Be reminded, these numbers are charging JUST your smartphone, not both it and your MacBook.
Overall, the BatteryBox is a great investment for those of you who get stuck in that airport who don’t have the cool recliners with the outlets attached, or for anyone in general who might want to just sit in a Starbucks and not be attached to the wall the entire time while finishing up that document. At $200, it’s not the cheapest, compared to others, but for its actual compact approached in comparison to other, it’s an easy buy for those who need it.
Order a BatteryBox today
Source: Manufacturer Supplied review unit
What I like: smaller than ChugPlug, less expensive than HyperJuice 2; Do not have to carry your own cable
What Needs Improvement: With battery packs getting smaller and having more space, I’d like to see the added weight fall off its next version