Powertraveller PowerChimp Reviewed

Powerchimp

Typing this after 7 hours travelling and about 5 hours of typing text on my iPhone (3GS iOS4), is testament enough to the Powerchimp. I brought some disposable AA batteries at Leeds/Bradford airport as my chimp was new out of the box and the included rechargeables were not very charged. I am now just arriving by train in Grindelwald (CH) after a stop off in Schipol airport, Amsterdam.

Assembly was easy, just 10 seconds reading the instructions to establish what the flashing lights meant. Plugged it in and phone showed as charging. Everything was fine at first but after 20 mins my iphone said charging was not supported with this accessory. This message appears after the power into the phone drops below a certain level but doesn’t actually stop the phone charging. If you turn the phone off for a while the battery meter does increase even though it says it not charging. The Powertraveller site says the Powerchimp is not suitable for power hungry smartphones, and for regular use then one of the larger lithium batteries would be better, but for occasional use the Chimp is a great, value for money solution.

Left overnight one set (2) of disposable AA batteries increased the charge of my iphone by 30% (from 14 to 44%). When connected but in use the iphone battery depletes very slowly. I have been using my phone for 4 or 5 hours of typing text and my battery is currently at 60% (from 97%) and the disposable batteries have just died (Powerchimp auto shuts off but no warning on the phone).

On returning home I tested the rechargeable batteriers that came with the Powerchimp. They increased the iPhone charge by 26% before depletion but did it in less time than the disposables (2 hours rather than nearly 5). Also the ‘Charging not supported’ message did not appear for an hour. Both these facts suggest that the rechargeables have a higher discharge rate than the disposables but ultimately contain slightly less power.

Instead of the included iPhone charging ‘nut’ I am using the female USB ‘nut’ and my standard iPhone cable which means I can charge my phone from a USB source or connect to a computer if I wish. Just a bit more versatile.

The Powerchimp is an excellent value bit of kit to extend the battery life of your handheld gizmo.

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