Mobile and PDA: eCharger Emergency Travel Charger

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echarger_img_1_bigEmergency battery backup devices are becoming more readily available as more manufacturers release their "unique" version to compete.  eCharger is another company to release a battery backup device called the Emergency Travel Charger.  The device purports to be a USB battery charger, battery holder, an emergency device charger and also an LED torch.  Additionally the version we tested included power tips for devices that utilise mini-USB, standard Nokia devices (not suitable for the N-series smartphones) and the smaller Sony-Ericsson power adaptors.

The Emergency Travel Charger is a very small and is about 1.5X the size of an AA battery.  The outer shell is made from strong plastic and it would easily fit in a pocket, or handbag.  The device can also be attached to a keyring so that it isn't easily lost.

In order to use the device a battery is required: either a standard AA battery or a rechargeable AA battery can be used with the device, although it will obviously only recharge the rechargeable battery.  Recharging of the AA battery can be undertaken using the provided USB cable that provides a slow trickle charge to the battery from a spare USB port on a PC.  In our tests, the battery charging capability was incredibly slow, taking over 24 hours to partially charge a 3000mAh AA battery (charging is indicated by a solid red LED).  Even when we charged the battery to full power using a separate charger there was no indicator to say that the battery was fully charged on the Emergency Travel Charger.

Charging (indicated by the red LED flashing intermittently) of our Nokia 6131 mobile phone, using our own mini-Nokia power adaptor, was slightly more promising with the phone being charged by 50% in 90 minutes, which compares reasonably well to other simple battery backup devices that rely on AA batteries (such as the iGo powerXtender).

The LED torch facility is reasonably powerful and is powerful enough should you need to use it in an emergency.

All in all, the Emergency Travel Charger does as the name suggests, provides a source of battery power in the case of an emergency, however the charging facility is somewhat slow and could not be relied upon to recharge the battery on a daily basis.  Despite this, with a fully charged battery, the device suitably extended the talktime on our Nokia 6131 so that emergency calls could have been made.

The fact that both standard and rechargeable AA batteries can be used is useful, meaning that the device can be used around the world as long as a charged battery is available.   The device retails for £15 making it one of the cheaper options for emergency power for small electronics and it does mostly fulfill its promises, however a more detailed set of instructions would have made the device easier to use.