Review: BoostBloc & BoostTurbine

Smartphone batteries die when it is most inconvenient, and some perverse law of the universe guarantees this will happen away from an outlet, or, at least, in one of those dreadful airports that charges you to access an outlet. This much is clear: the modern travelling man always needs a backup plan—in this case, a backup battery.

If you need extra power for a smart phone, two options are available. One is a smartphone extended battery case, which I tend to dislike because I prefer to keep my smartphone thin and lightweight. The other option is an auxiliary battery, which is more useful because it accommodates multiple types of smartphones and tablets and can be charged, put in a briefcase and forgotten about until an emergency. To that effect, I recently put Etón’s BoostBloc 6600 and BoostTurbine 2000 through their paces during a weekend away, and the results were impressive.

I began by draining my phone completely, a feat achieved by repeating “Gangnam Style” ad nauseam on YouTube, and then plugging it into the BoostBloc 6600. It took three and a half minutes to take my phone from completely dead to a 5% charge, and a further 40 minutes to take it to 50%. An additional hour took my phone to a 90% charge. The largest in a range that includes a 2000 and a 4000 model, the 6600 fits into the palm of my hand, though I should note that I’ve got abnormally large hands. It charges by plugging into a USB drive, and you can tell how much power it’s got left by shaking it and activating the battery indicator lights. It also has two USB plug-ins to accommodate two smartphones charging at once, which will probably put a stop to most horror films before the first twenty minutes are over.

I tested the BoostTurbine 2000 next, this time starting by draining my phone with one of those insipid ten hour YouTube videos that have never found a purpose until now. The results were exactly the same as for the BoostBloc 6600, but the BoostTurbine 2000 has another trick. In addition to being a battery pack, chargeable via USB, it comes with a hand-turbine power generator. A minute or so of cranking, and you’ve got a minute or so to make a call or look up critical baseball stats while you’re cheating at the bar’s trivia night. I wouldn’t want to completely charge my phone via manual turbine, but for emergency situations, it’s a handy solution.

The Etón BoostBloc 6600 is $100 and comes in white, black and red. The Etón BoostTurbine 2000 is $60 and comes in white, black, red, and aluminium.

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