Smartphones are great…these devices keep us connected to our families, friends, and really, the world through internet connectivity. The biggest downside I have found is that with all that connectivity, the battery can be drained rather quickly. So what’s a busy mom to do? You don’t want to leave your smartphone in the car to charge while you’re out and about with your children, especially when they do something picture-snapping awesome. Enter Duracell PowerMat and its associated products!
I recently had the opportunity to review the PowerMat, the backup batteries, and the long-haul battery. I have a Samsung Galaxy S4, and unfortunately, there is not a case for it from Duracell currently. However, I was still able to benefit from the wireless charging capability of the back-up batteries and the long-haul battery.
The back-up battery is about the size of my palm and approximately an inch thick. It will definitely fit in a pocket, purse, or diaper bag compartment. It has an integrated connection for both USB enabled phones (like my Samsung Galaxy) and iPhones. Prior to venturing out in a situation where I thought I might need the battery, I plugged in the PowerMat. It is a thin, black device (“mat” to me implies “soft,” but this is firm, like any other electronic device) with two charging points. Placing the battery over the connection points, designated with the Duracell “P” symbol, there’s a palpable magnetic pull and an audible sound to indicate that the battery is in the right position and charging. During charging, the four LEDs on the side of the battery will successively light up to indicate the percentage of charging that is complete.
The back-up battery was charged in a relatively short amount of time, a couple of hours for a full charge. In real-life use, I found that it gave me about ½ to ¾ of a full charge for my phone before it needed to be recharged. Duracell’s website notes that it will be useful for a single full phone charge, but I think that is relative to the size of the battery and what you may be doing with the device while it is charging.
The long-haul battery charges by the same concept, but as it has more inherent power, it takes a bit longer to charge initially and between uses. I initially charged it overnight. It is about ¾ of the length of my Samsung Galaxy S4, and essentially the same width. Even being larger, it would still fit easily in a purse or diaper bag. The long-haul battery comes with a USB cable to connect it to the phone. It has two USB connections, so if you needed to charge two phones or a phone and a tablet at the same time, you could do that! In fact, the long-haul battery is capable of completing four full phone charges before it needs recharged. That’s impressive in my book!
Recently, my area of the country experienced a significant winter storm with excessive amounts of ice. There were widespread power outages. Our home was one of the lucky ones not to experience a power outage. Just in case, though, I made sure that both the backup battery and the long-haul battery were fully charged before the storm hit. Coincidentally, at the same time, the husband’s charging cable started to malfunction! I had left my charging cable for the Samsung phone in Pittsburgh. Thankfully, we each used a back-up battery to recharge our phones, and it worked seamlessly. As the size of the backup battery is so small, it could literally be held together with the smartphone without any inconvenience.
Another “real-life” usage of the Duracell charging system occurred while I was in the middle of a commute back to Pittsburgh. I often take the bus back and forth between our home and Pittsburgh, and use my Samsung Galaxy S4 as a wireless hotspot. (It’s a bit more reliable than the bus’ WiFi connection and it doesn’t block Netflix for streaming entertainment!) Of course, acting as a wireless hotspot for 4+ hours will be a significant battery drain. So, I connected the long-haul battery to my phone when it was at about 33% from regular usage of the hotspot. I continued to use the hotspot, and it charged, very similar in speed to having it plugged into an electric outlet with the charging cable.
Speaking of the charging cable, the Duracell PowerMat system is smart. When charging your cell phone and some other electronic devices, if left plugged into the wall outlet, the battery will continue to charge, even with a full battery. Over time, this reportedly causes decreased battery life. When the Duracell batteries (both back-up and long-haul) charge a device to 100%, they are programmed to shut off, thereby allowing your device’s battery to last longer. Additionally, there is not excess energy wasted by “charging” a fully charged device, which ultimately is an environmental plus.
Overall, this system is very convenient and useful. I have started carrying both a back-up battery and a long-haul battery with me in my laptop bag all the time. I rarely carry my phone’s original charger with me any longer, allowing it instead to be used in our home only (less risk of losing it while traveling/commuting!). As a side note, for those with the Samsung Galaxy, even though Duracell does not currently manufacture a wireless phone charging case, another phone case manufacturer, Incipio, does have a case that is compatible with the PowerMat to allow “drop and go” charging. You can find it on Incipio’s website or Amazon.com.
If you would like a chance to try out a PowerMat, Duracell is giving one away to one lucky reader with this review! The package, a “24 Hour Power System” is for the iPhone 4/4s, and includes a wireless charging mat, an access case that fits onto the iPhone 4/4s to utilize “drop and go” charging, and one of the smaller backup batteries. You can see more information on this here: http://www.duracellpowermat.
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Disclsoure: I received the above product for review purposes only. All thoughts and opinions are my own.