In my opinion, the worst part about having a portable battery pack to charge up your devices is making sure it actually has juice. I have a few battery packs around the house, but whenever I go to use them, they’re always dead. Sure, that’s my fault, but most of them take quite a while to charge. Thankfully, uNu has come up with a better solution…
Most technologies have changed beyond all recognition in the last 10 to 20 years. Compare a smartphone from 10 years ago with the latest iPhone, and the difference is night and day. Laptops, TVs, cameras … pretty much any technology you can name has transformed almost beyond recognition. But there’s one technology whose pace of development seems truly glacial: batteries.
I’m not suggesting battery tech hasn’t improved at all, of course, but my smartphone 10 years ago got me through a typical day with a bit to spare, and my iPhone today does pretty much the same (albeit in a significantly smaller package). Those tiny fuel-cell batteries they keep promising us, with smartphone and laptop battery-life measured in weeks and not hours, seem as elusive as ever. Until that glorious day arrives, there will be times when our iPhone or iPad just isn’t going to have enough power to cope with an extra-long day, weekend camping trip, or similar.
There are a couple of different approaches to the problem. The first is a powered case. We previously reviewed the Morphies Juice and Air power sleeves. This is ideal when you know in advance that you’ll need the extra power and don’t mind a bit of extra bulk to achieve it. The second approach is an external battery pack you use to recharge your phone (and other USB-interfaced gadgets) when needed, or when you’re in one location for a while.
The morning of Apple’s iPad mini event earlier this week, we told you there was a handful of new accessories coming including four new Lightning adapters and a 12W USB power adapter. We didn’t hear much about them during the event, but the new cables and adapters have hit Apple’s online store now, including a Lightning Digital AV adapter and Lightning to VGA adapter, with most shipping in “2-3 weeks”.
On the product page for the new 12W USB charger, Apple confirmed it would indeed ship with Retina iPads. With the new fourth-gen replacing the third-gen iPad—that would essentially cover just the iPad 4. It is, however, selling the adapter by itself for $19 online and listing compatibility with iPad 2, iPhone 4S, and iPod touch fifth-gen and up. Many readers have wondered whether the adapter would allow for faster charging with the iPad 3 and fourth-gen iPad. A big complaint among third-gen iPad users is that the device took up several more hours to charge than previous generations due to its larger battery. Also, on Apple’s discussion forums, some users asked if a software update would be required for the iPad 3 to draw additional power.
When we asked Apple about the 12W adapters, we were told the following:
While we are waiting for iFixit to tear apart the new iPad so we can get a look at the device’s new 42.5-watt-hour rechargeable lithium-polymer battery, we received confirmation that the battery does take hours longer to charge than the iPad 2 (iPad 2 pictured above). We know battery life remains the same with the 70 percent larger battery going mostly toward powering the new Retina display, A5x chip, and LTE-capabilities, but we wondered last week whether the new battery could take up to 70 percent longer to charge. MG Siegler confirmed in his review on TechCrunch that charging the new iPad takes “several hours” longer compared to earlier generations: