IMG_20160323_112259A few weeks ago, a representative of Choetech contacted me via LinkedIn and asked if she could send along one of their USB battery packs for me to review for TeleRead. I’ll never say no to another USB battery pack, so said why not.

Not too much later, this $28 Choetech 10400 mAh pack arrived from Amazon. I’ve been using it as my portable backup for the last few weeks, and am about ready to issue my report.

The Choetech is probably a little heavier than I really need—the one I carried beforehand was a slimline Lumsing 6000 mAh pack that weighs only about half as much, and it got the job done—but the extra weight isn’t bad for the amount of power it provides. The matte aluminum case feels sturdy, and it has a few features that could be useful.

For the last few weeks, this pack has lived in my jacket or coat pocket, and occasionally my bike’s saddlebag, along with a fairly long USB cable, for the purpose of juicing up my phone if I was out and about long enough to need a battery life pick-me-up. This is one of the ways I get by without toting my gadget bag around all the time. (It’s actually one of two USB packs I carry regularly—the other being a little 3350 mAh Anker lipstick battery, which is just the right size for giving my Karma Go hotspot extra battery life while riding along in in my right front pocket.)

One of the features this battery pack offers is Qualcomm Quick Charge, which promises to let the phone and charger communicate so compatible devices can charge significantly faster than from “regular” battery packs and chargers. As it happens, one of those compatible devices is the good ol’ Nexus 6 phone I carry in my pocket. I haven’t done any scientific A vs B testing on it, but it does seem to charge my Nexus 6 awfully quickly when I need it—and this is only the 2.0 version. I have to wonder what the even-faster Quick Charge 3.0 would do.

There seem to be multiple “smart” fast-charge standards. My Anker PowerPort 2 wall charger claims to provide the “fastest possible charge” using “PowerIQ” and “VoltageBoost,” but at the same time explicitly states that Qualcomm Quick Charge isn’t supported, so whatever. Anyway, this Choetech bugger charges my Nexus 6 quickly at need, and is the only battery pack I currently have that seems to support Qualcomm’s Quick Charge standard. Another nice thing is that the Quick Charge USB plug is differentiated with a blue plastic insert, so it’s easy to tell at a glance.

There’s also a feature that I don’t need but I’ll bet will come in handy for people who’ve gone over to the Apple side of the Force—or have friends who have. The Choetech battery pack has input plugs for both micro-USB and Apple’s Lightning connector. So it can charge either from a Lightning charger or a micro USB. If you forgot your usual AC charger, you can borrow one from a friend regardless of whether they use the same class of charger you do. (You do have to pay a little more attention in dim light when you plug it in so you can make sure you’re plugging into the right hole, though.)

Apart from that, it seems to be a fairly standard 10400 mAh (or 10.4 Ah) battery pack. It’s got a power button, and the traditional four-blinky-lights charge meter on the front to tell you how full it is. There are two USB charging ports, one Quick Charge compatible and the other not. It comes with a USB cable, but not a wall wart. It’s extra power in your pocket for recharging your smartphone, tablet, or e-reader—possibly multiple times. My Nexus 6 has a 3220 mAh battery built in, for example, so the Choetech pack could charge it from empty to full three-and-a-fraction times before running out of power.

IMG_20160323_112957Is it worth the current $28 Amazon asking price? My one caveat is that I haven’t had sufficient time to see how it wears over the longer term—but apart from that, the price seems reasonable for the battery capacity, the Quick Charge 2.0 capability, and the flexibility of having both micro-USB and Lightning input ports. I didn’t have to pay for this one, though, so take that recommendation for what it’s worth.

There’s also a Quick Charge 3.0 version for $40, though that seems like a little more than I’d be willing to pay. I simply carry a really long USB cable so I can keep my phone plugged in continuously, even when it’s mounted on my bike, and it seems to work just fine for me.


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