Just the other day I decided it was time for a new external battery pack. I had a really cheap 500 mAh one, which could charge my Kindle one time after it died, which was very rare, seeing it was an E-Ink Kindle. But it couldn’t even put 25% battery into any other device I owned. So, I went to the folks at Power Practical and got their take on an external battery, the Lithium 4400.
After a short wait for shipping, it arrived at my door. What follows is a photo unboxing tour. I was very impressed at the packaging design, but I did notice that the package I received is different from the one on their product site. I also noticed that the product itself has a rubberized plastic finish instead of a smooth plastic finish, which was also depicted on the site.
The Lithium 4400 sports a nice curved design which feels good in the hand. It has a rubberized feeling plastic body (defined as “ABS+PC housing” by the manufacturer). I’m pretty sure PC is polycarbonate, the plastic found on the iPhone 5c, and ABS is another kind of plastic, which is found on the Xbox. There is a switch on the front of the 4400 used to switch between Off, Lantern, and Charging modes.
It sports a strip of four LEDs on the side, which is used during Lantern mode, and shows battery level when switched to Charging mode. The top has a microUSB input and a USB input. The microUSB is used to charge the 4400, and the USB input is used to charge USB devices plugged into the 4400. The back, right side and the bottom have nothing on them, lending this charger a nice, simple design.
This is a battery charger you’ll both want and need to have. Unlike most other chargers on the market, this one has a built in light, called the Lantern. In my testing, the Lantern was FAR brighter than expected. It lit up the whole entire room. And, better yet, according to the 4400’s product page, if you use just the light it will last you 30+ hours. You can even use the light while charging your device.
Of course, it can charge your devices as well, with a 5V output. It includes a (flat!) microUSB cable to charge the 4400 itself, and to charge most Android devices. If you recall my post on the SOL REPUBLIC Jax, I discussed flat cables a bit and their advantages. Namely, their ability to avoid tangling. I was not expecting a flat cable at all, but this was a very nice, and very appreciated, addition to the package. When on the go, you’ll want to avoid tangling the cord while you toss both this and the cord in your bag. Flat cords are the quickest way to make me happy.
The 4400 has, as you’d expect, a 4400 mAh battery. When charging the Samsung Galaxy SIII, it took the same amount of time it usually does, but it has the capability to charge it at least two times more.
According to Power Practical, you can expect 2-3 full charges of the iPhone 5 with the 4400.
I tried charging with my iPod, my Kindle, and the SIII. It worked with all of them perfectly fine.
For the price, you can definitely get more mAh (which means more charging power/battery “juice”), but you can’t go wrong with this charger. With the addition of the Lantern, it is really handy when you just so happen to have it around and you need a light. I can see this being useful when you want to find your cord, or want to find where to plug the cord in at.
Ease of Use
This charger, despite its features, is very simple to operate. As you can see in the image below, it has only three modes, operated by a large switch in the middle. It only has two ports which will prevent confusion. The icons next to the switch are obvious about what they do.
For the money, you COULD get a better made charger, but it should last just fine as long as you’re not:
- Exposing it to water
- Taking it apart
- Connecting the input to the output in reverse
- Throwing it into fire
- Exposing it to extreme temperatures
- Throwing it
This charger should definitely last, but the plastic body makes it feel more cheap than it is.
This charger is among the best in its class for price, functionality, and ease of use. It has adequate capacity to charge devices multiple times, and the extra feature of a flashlight is appreciated. It is also very portable and is nice to hold.
Do you plan on picking one up yourself? Let me know in the comments.
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