Extended batteries. When I mention those two words, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Does anything even come to mind for you? Well, to most people that I talk to about getting an extended battery for their phone or other mobile device they just respond with “I will just make sure that I plug it in every day.” But what if you use your device all-day, every day, and you find yourself on a long flight across the Pacific? What if you are just too lazy to plug your phone in every night? Well, the Power Fort is a device that claims to be the savior of those moments. But how does it hold up in testing? Let’s find out!
Product Name: Cooler Master Choiix Power Fort
Review Sample Provided By: Cooler Master
Words By: Chad
Pictures By: Chad
|Power Capacity||5600 mAh|
|USB Input||DC 5V/1A|
|USB Output||DC 5V /2.1A|
|Battery Type||Li-Ion Battery|
|Dimension||80.6 x 60.7 x 26 mm (3.17 x 2.39 x 1.02 inch)|
|Weight||32g (4.6 Oz)|
|Recharge Time||6 – 8 hours|
|Package Content||• Power Fort
• Micro USB cable
• Mini USB cable
• Storage Bag
Exterior and Packaging
The Power Fort shows up in a nice box with a folding flap cover that is Velcro attached to the box, allowing you to “open up” and see the Power Fort without having to actually open the box to see the product. I actually like this type of design on electronics, since most manufacturers want to put a lot of information in the cover of their product, but the consumer likes to see what they are buying before they buy. Only in the case of iPods do I approve of the packaging with not real marketing on the outside of the packaging, and that is because iPods sell themselves.
The box does make some bold claims. According to the box the battery can be recharged 500 times in the Power Fort before you would need to replace it. That is great, assuming you are not recharging it everyday that should be two or more years of use before you need to replace it. It also claims that you can recharge your typical smartphone two to three times before you need to recharge it (I have a unique testing situation that I will mention later, but it will affect my results in that regard), and it also claims a 2.1A charging port. Now this is interesting.
Why is 2.1amp charging fascinating? If you take an iPhone 4 / 4S, it comes with a 1amp charger. If you have the power brick from an iPad it charges at 5amps, and an iPad will NOT charge from an iPhone charger (I have tried it personally to verify). Apple also claims that a 5amp charger on the iPhone could do damage to that phone, and is not recommended. 2.1amps is seemingly a faster charge than the iPhone brick charger, but not too much to risk damaging that fancy smart phone that you have. If I had an iPad available at the time of writing, I would investigate that, but unfortunately I do not.
The Power Fort has a gloss black finish on the “shiny side”. On the “greasy side”, it has a black “rubbery” texture that will sit on a desk fine without sliding. There is a power button on the top to start charging a device that is connected. When it comes to connecting your device to the Power Fort to charge, there is a standard USB port on it. The Power Fort does come with a Mini-USB and a Micro-USB cable that are very short in length (great for the mobile nature of the Power Fort). If you want to charge your iPhone though, you will need to use a dock cable with a USB end (like the one that came with your phone) in order to charge it on the Power Fort; that cable is not included.
To charge the Power Fort, there is a Micro-USB connector that you can plug your current mobile phone’s power connector in to. In fact, you will have to use your pre-existing charger or charge of the USB port connected to your computer if you only want to use the supplied accessories. No bother though, since I already have a Micro-USB charger for charging my iPhone with the Mophie JuicePack on it so there are no worries.
Why was I excited about getting the opportunity to review the Power Fort? Because the iPhone 4S does have some battery issues, and battery life sometimes becomes a problem for me. They are probably related to the extra services that are running on the 4S, but I notice shorter battery life than what I had on my iPhone 4.
For the purpose of my testing, I am actually leaving the Mophie JuicePack on the phone and using the Power Fort in addition (for even more juice!). In case you are not familiar, the JuicePack is a case/extended battery for the iPhone that virtually doubles the battery life on the standard iPhone battery. It was a great purchase and I recommend it to anyone with an iPhone (even though it adds some serious weight to the iPhone).
In testing, I would let the iPhone run completely dead, then I would use the Mophie to charge the iPhone back up completely (which would drain the Mophie dead), and then I would run the iPhone dead again (so both the phone and the Mophie had a dead battery). Then I brought out the Power Fort.
It’s excellent. There’s nothing more I can say about it. It completely charged the iPhone and the Mophie (so basically two complete iPhone charges), and had some power to spare. If you jump on the cross-country flight and you watch movies on your phone the entire way there, with the Power Fort you can have a full battery when you arrive and actually need to use your phone.
Conclusions and Final Verdict
I think the best testament to the Power Fort is that I want one in my bag. I will definitely get one just as an “emergency backup” in case I really need it. It’s performance is exemplary and it charged my phone must faster than my wall charger, which means it is less time the phone has to be tethered to the Power Fort. It’s no heavier than the Mophie JuicePack attached to the phone, and contains larger battery storage than the Mophie. It even comes with a nice little carrying pouch to keep it from getting scuffed up. Remember kids; keep the greasy side down and the shiny side up!
Also, since we are talking iPhone, the JuicePack for the iPhone is pricey. The Power Fort comes in with an MSRP of $69.99, which undercuts the Mophie by $30.
Okay, so what is not to like? I do not like that the Power Fort does not come with an iPod dock connector cable. Perhaps licensing comes into play, but there are other companies that sell just Apple dock cables. I also do not like that the Power Fort does not come with an AC adapter to charge the device. Worst-case scenario, I would like to see a pass-through so that I can charge both the phone and the Power Fort at the same time. When you look at it you would assume that it does, but if it can I am not capable of figuring it out!
I also do not like the black shiny finish. On some devices it is great, but the Power Fort is something that is likely going to be tossed into a bag or some other place where it will get scratched and scuffed. Heck, even if you keep a USB cable in the little pouch with the Power Fort the USB cable is likely to scratch it up. It is pretty when it is new, but it probably will not be pretty a few months from now!
Overall, the Power Fort's pros outweigh its cons? Why? It does everything it claims to do exactly as advertised. It is refreshing to see claims that are not exaggerated or something that can be only duplicated in a lab. I will grant the Power Fort an eight out of ten due to the issues that I have mentioned. But if you are a mobile professional, one of these absolutely need to be in your bag. If you are looking to purchase one, be sure you are getting the 5600mAh version with the 2.1amp fast charging, and not the previous version!