Patriot batteries blend style, functionality (July 19th, 2014)
Product Manufacturer: Patriot
Price: $60 to $80 retail
- Capacity as advertised
- Self-charging cable included
- No extra features
- No device cables
Mobile device batteries are better than they used to be, but there's always a scenario where users could use more juice. Upgrade manufacturer Patriot has a solution -- it has a line of portable batteries intended for charging devices on-the-go, called the Fuel+. In theory, a booster battery is easy -- implement a battery, some ports, and a way to charge the battery, and done. In actuality, proper execution of an external battery is a bit more complex. Does Patriot have the balance right?
We were given the 6,000mAh and 9,000mAh models for evaluation. Both have two charging ports. A micro-USB port is the avenue for charging the battery, where the standard USB ports charge portable devices. Both batteries are mounted in a glassy white casing, with red ends. Labeling is clear, signifying which port is the 1A one and which can do 2.5A. If a battery needs style, then the Fuel+ has it.
Initial charge isn't arduous, and is about as expected. Charging a depleted 6,000mAh Fuel+ took about three hours and 36 minutes, and the 9,000 model took just a few minutes short of five hours.
A note on the device battery capacities: the iPad 2 has a 6,930mAh battery, an iPad Mini has a 4490mAh battery, and the new iPad Air carries a 11,666mAh unit. So, while booster batteries can charge a tablet like the iPad in a pinch, it won't take newer, larger, models to full from empty. With any of these booster batteries, think iPhone, smartphone or other portable device.
Our tests bear this out. We got five full charges for an iPhone 5c out of the 9,000mAh model. The 6,000mAh Fuel+ got an iPad 2 to 86 percent charge before running dry. We're running some extended testing in harsh environments to see if the device is suitable for use in a vehicle in a pinch. So far, a hot car in the Virginia summer which has killed a lesser device doesn't seem to have any effect on the Fuel+, We'll be back with cold weather tests when the snow flies on eastern seaboard of the US.
Our review section is becoming at risk of transforming into BatteryNN at times, but there are a plethora of batteries and charging solutions now on the market, with only features and design differentiating the motley crew. The Fuel+ doesn't have a keychain fob, nor will it heat your coffee. There is exactly one thing Patriot's Fuel+ line does, and it does it well -- charge mobile devices.