Alternative design holds enough juice to recharge a modern phone, convenient cable (July 16th, 2014)
Product Manufacturer: Neptor
- Charge indicator
- Convenient charging cable
- Activation button
- USB cable attachment
- Weak flashlight LED
If consumers need a backup battery that packs enough power for a full phone charge, configuration options are usually limited. Batteries generally come attached to another device or feature a generic flat case or a bulky design that barely fits in a pocket. But what about consumers that want something a little bit different? Neptor offers a stick design with the NP028K that packs the power requirements people need with a slightly different look. Is the Neptor NP028K good enough for consumers to consider purchasing, or does it need something else to be appealing?
The stick design of the NP028K is large enough to notice, but not cumbersome or a handful like other batteries on the market. Neptor's larger battery offering, the NP056K, doubles the capacity and width of the NP028K. However, the NP028K is slightly taller at 4.3 inches. Total dimensions for the NP028K are 4.3 x 1.0 x 1.0 inches. It also weighs about half as much as the larger capacity battery, at 0.16 pounds versus 0.31 pounds.
Neptor offers the NP028K in five different colors, including blue, green, orange, red and yellow. The plastic casing of the battery is covered in a rubberized coating, but the texture feels slicker than the NP056K, as if it contains some silicone. It could be tied to the coloring, as Neptor doesn't offer the larger battery in the yellow. While it isn't an indicator of lesser quality, the coating doesn't stain from rubbing on other items like the NP056K does.
The battery comes with a micro-USB to USB cable, about seven inches in length, that attaches to the sides of the casing. Each of the male portions of the USB cable contains little snaps that require minimal force to attach to the battery. Neptor suggests that the NP028K can be attached to everyday items like a keychain. While it's a nice consideration, putting it on a keychain isn't practical. The snaps don't hold the weight of the battery in a secure fashion. Usually one end of the cable pops off, allowing the Neptor battery to crash to the ground.
It's convenient to have the cable, keeping users from digging around for a something to charge devices with as long as they take micro-USB plugs. The NP028K only has the ability to charge a single device at a time though its USB 5V, 1A port. Neptor says that the battery is ready to charge smartphones and tablets, but it doesn't mention anything about the speed.
An iPad 2 will charge off of the battery, but one shouldn't depend on a tablet to top off at great speed, since it's rated at 1A instead of 2.1A. The Lithium-polymer cell will be completely tapped out when charging most tablets, since it only has a capacity of 2,800 mAh. Heat during the charging process is noticed when held, but it doesn't generate enough to be of any concern.
Charging time for the NP028K is said to be around four hours, according to the company. When charging off of a USB port on a MacBook Pro, the time was found to be more in most cases, reaching just about five hours to a full charge. Charging times for devices from the battery aren't long either. For example, charging an iPhone 4S from 14 percent to 100 percent took one hour, 45 minutes. The LED indicator indicated that there was still 75-percent battery remaining afterward.
The LED charge indicators on the Neptor battery are a bright blue color that's easy to see at any time of the day. Looking down at the top of the battery where the USB ports sit, the tinted covering covers up most of the light from the LEDs. Looking at the top edge on the button activation side of the NP028K gives a much clearer slight line. Each of the four LEDs measure 25 percent of total capacity when lit up. It requires a slightly more work to pull out of a pocket to look at it, but it stays on for about five seconds.
Like the NP056K, the 2,800 mAh battery also has a white LED near the USB ports to be used as a flashlight. The one used by the NP028K is smaller, offering a lesser degree of illumination than the larger-capacity model. It's activated in a similar fashion as well, utilizing the button that turns the battery on.
A double-click of the square button on the side of the battery activates the flashlight. A single press afterward activates or deactivates a strobe effect of the light. The button must then be double clicked again to turn the flashlight off. There's a generous time between the clicks that are required to activate the light, leaving it open to turn by accident if the NP028K is in a pocket.
Like the NP056K, the smaller stick design of the NP028K offers another solid battery from Neptor. The battery is half the capacity and roughly half the size, but if consumers only need a single charge in a day or own an iPhone, the battery is a good choice. It would be nice if Neptor would have included additional cables with the battery, allowing a Lightning cable to be attached in place of the micro-USB. Pricing of the unit isn't bad either, coming in at slightly over $24 for each of the colors if purchased through Amazon. If the flashlight were stronger, and the USB cable attached securely to a set of keys, the NP028K would be the perfect keychain. Until a time when those items are corrected, the NP028K is a solid battery that will be confined to pockets.