With 12 amps of power available, this is a big battery, but does it undo some of the company's previous missteps?
12 amps of power, built-in cables, fairly light weight and charging dock rather than cable.
Missing a traditional USB port for charging non-traditional devices and a lot of potential energy loss.
The Bottom Line
Don't let the loss of power dissuade you from this charger. The price, especially if you catch it on sale, combined with the overall convenience of the charger make this a battery pack to consider for work and portable gaming, like Pokémon GO.
Where To Get It
PLuGHiTz Live Unboxed
Our testing was twofold for this product. We ran both our official battery test, as well as a practical test. The battery is 12 amps, which means it should be able to charge an equivalent amount of battery power in other devices.
During a convention weekend, our staff used this charger exclusively. Two employees with 3 phones playing Pokémon GO all weekend managed to use this battery all weekend without needing to charge it except for the initial charge. An iPhone 6s Plus was charged 3 times and a Galaxy Note 6 was charged twice. When we were done with the weekend and the 5 charges, the battery was nearly dead, but did register as a single dot (out of 4). The last dot, however, shows even when the battery is below charging threshold, so we are unaware of how close to dead the battery actually was. Either way, it more than accomplished our goal for the weekend.
Nokia Lumia 620
As with previous myCharge batteries, the amount of power we got out of the device was not nearly as high as advertised. Previous devices have shown around 25% power loss, and this one was no different. On the test device, the phone lasted 10 hours and 38 minutes using its 1.3 amp internal battery alone. Adding an additional 12 amps to the system, the battery should last 4 days, 12 hours and 47 minutes. On average, our tests produced 3 days, 8 hours and 36 minutes. This works out to a 26% power loss.
Unlike previous batteries, however, there is no clear culprit for where this power might be lost. At this point, our only explanation is that there is a common power regulation circuit between the 3 batteries we have tested from this brand, and it has an efficiency issue. While it would be nice to have that additional power back, this battery does seem to provide a lot of power.
The build of the Hub Ultra is mostly great. The metal body prevents getting damaged, the battery test button is properly inset to prevent accidental hitting in a bag and even the attached cables fit into body snugly but can still be removed easily. Essentially, all of the issues we have noted about previous myCharge batteries have been solved in this new model. The only real issues we discovered with the build of the device comes from the charging dock. First, the battery sits a little more shallow than would be ideal. If you change it in a higher traffic area like a kitchen, or if you have a pet that gets close to it, it is likely the battery will get knocked off. It's easy enough to overcome that issue by simply not charging it in a high traffic area. The other issue is that the way the charger sits on the wall can be an issue for certain outlets. In one of our outlets, the dock sagged forward when the battery was placed in it.
Size & Weight
For the size and battery capacity, the battery (minus charging dock) is really great. It is a heavy device, but not much more than you would expect from what it is. Trading off a little extra weight in exchange for a metal body and 12 mAh of battery capacity is one that many will personally accept. Knowing that the charger is safe in your purse, backpack or laptop bag is enough to accept the overall weight of the device.
The capacity is great for its design, but leaves a little to be desired. The included Apple and micro USB connectors make charging the most common devices easy, but if you have a non-traditional device, you'll be out of luck. While traveling, we had to carry a second external battery to charge devices like a Microsoft Band because it has a custom charger. It would be nice if, in addition to the two included cables, the battery also included a traditional USB port to allow other devices to be charged.