Gadgets 820

Published on January 15th, 2010 | by Greg


Battery Crazy With Duracell and Tekkeon

With gadgets and electronics, comes power. Not so much the possession of power, perhaps, but certainly the need for it! Who hasn’t hated their smartphone or laptop at one time or another, thanks to a drained battery or warning of its imminent failure? Thus, we continue to look for interesting solutions- from iPhone backup batteries to solar-powered options, and even just good rechargeable AAs. Our latest batch of items that could save your life- or that of your device at least- comes from a company you likely know, Duracell, and one you may not, Tekkeon.

The Tekkeon myPower ALL is a pretty neat concept, even if the capitalization standard is not. We’ve been trying out the MP3450 model, though two others are available covering slightly different needs. You simply connect your portable device, select the appropriate voltage, and let the myPower lithium polymer cells charge your device. It comes with nine different adapters to cover a wide range of electronics, including most cell phones, MP3 players, but even camcorders, portable DVD players, and even netbook and laptop computers. A complete compatibility list is available online, but your Kindle and even your Kodak PhotoFrame Dock are covered. We’ve seen claims of versatility before, but have often been a bit disappointed in functionality. In this case, we were relieved that the myPower can indeed serve as a decent backup power source for our Dell Vostro or Asus eeePC. Of course, the duration of your extra life depends on the power consumption of a given device- a beefy laptop might only get an hour or two extra, while your iPhone can get as much as 30 or so hours of extra use (they claim 60 hours for most cell phones, and 40 or so for MP3 players).

Of course, it’s a bit bulky and heavy (about the same size as a PSP), but not too bad considering the amount of power. We didn’t love the awkward, oddly-named, and easy to lose tips, but until everything switches to a standard (like mini-USB, included), it’s hard to fix. The casing looks and feels better than it needs to, though you’ll have to move up a model if you want it to manually detect voltage. Charging time isn’t too bad at four hours, and it’s only available in black. There is an extra battery pack that you can connect to double the power, and you can even power two devices at once as long as one of them is a 5V smaller device. Overall, it’s not perfect, but it’s darn close to a decent universal backup battery for smaller devices. At around $100, it’s also reasonably priced.

“But the future is wireless”, you say! Duracell has you covered, with their version of the WildCharge system we’ve previously reviewed. The Duracell myGrid mat powers up to four simultaneous devices wirelessly using inductive charging. As Duracell licensed the technology, it works identically, and offers the same advantages and disadvantages. You still need to plug the mat into the wall, you need to have a special case, clip, or sleeve for your device, and it works generally as fast as standard chargers. They currently offer sleeves for Blackberry devices and the iPod touch, with support for the iPhone line coming soon. Those with Nokia or Motorola phones are also in luck. We weren’t thrilled with the look of the pad, the relative lack of support, or the thickness that the sleeves gave our devices- but were quite happy to not need to find any more charging cables at least! At around $65, it’s inexpensive, if a bit unnecessary.

Duracell offers plenty of other technology to float your boat… or charge your devices, as the case may be. The Duracell Instant Charger, for instance, is precisely what you might want to carry around in your purse or briefcase- small, reasonably powerful, and pretty much self-contained. It offers USB and mini-USB options, for your iPhone, iPod Nano, iPod Classic, Motorola and Blackberry phones. You’ll need your charging cable, but think of this like a portable USB station, offering 1150 mAh of power. Make sure that it’s fully charged before use, or it may actually (like many similar devices) drain some power. But when fully charged, you can get your emergency battery life of about 3 hours talk time or 30 hours standby, depending on your model. And it’s only $25, much cheaper than many other backup battery options.

Finally, Duracell also has branched out into flashlights, a natural brand extension. We tried the Daylite 2-C, which uses two C batteries for power. It comes with them though, and they seem to last forever (ours didn’t run out despite some lengthy testing). Other models take AAs or even D batteries, but this one was a nice balance of heft and power- not too heavy, and plenty bright. “Daylite” may be a tad optimistic, but it’s certainly powerful at 160 lumens, and offers a nice set of features like spot-to-flood focus and even a lifetime guarantee. We could’ve used a bit of a grip, and the unit didn’t seem as water-sealed as some, but it was sturdy enough to handle a drop and at $30 is pretty reasonable for a solid, extra-bright LED flashlight.

About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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