Remember when you were told that you could have too much of a good thing? Well that was a lie — when it comes to charging your smart devices: power, electricity, juice, whatever you want to call it, there is no such thing as too much. While the flood of smart devices such as tablets and smartphones is undeniable in today’s society, the means to charge them, sadly, remains less ubiquitous. Naturally, as we use our devices more and more throughout our busy day, charging them can become a real nuisance, especially when on the go.
Enter the Choiix Power Fort 5600. Most portable charging solutions still exhibit a multitude of problems: some are expensive, some are bulky, and some just don’t work well. The Power Fort is none of those things. It’s an elegantly simple and reasonably priced ($40) way for you to charge and stay connected while out and about.
These days, it simply isn’t enough for a product to perform well. We like them to look good, too. The Power Fort does both. It weighs in at only 4.6 ounces and is smaller than the iPhone (although it is a little thicker). It can easily charge your smart devices via the included USB and Mini USB connectors, and even meets the iPad’s more demanding 10 watt charge than the standard five most USBs dole out.
The Power Fort features a brushed metallic button located in the center with four LEDs below that blink and light up when charging — remaining lit once fully charged. By pressing the button in the middle the Power Fort’s LEDs will let you know visually how many full charges are available, with four being the maximum. The underbelly features a smooth non-polished plastic material making it feel solid in your hands and easy to recognize when rifling through your bag or purse.
While ours came in black, the Power Fort is also available in white. Included with the Powerfort are a USB cable, mini USB cable, and soft velveteen bag to hold everything together nicely.
Lose the outlet, keep the power
According to the figures Choiix gives on its website, the Power Fort charger can extend the usage time of your favorite devices to varying degrees. IPad/Galaxy Tablets can be extended up to six hours, while smartphones and PDA/GPS can see as much as 28 to 24 hours of extended use respectively. We found this to be fairly accurate, although it will undoubtedly vary user to user.
Of course, what’s the point of a portable power source if it loses its charge and takes forever to get your devices juiced up? Thankfully you don’t have to worry about that with Choiix’s Power Fort. During our testing time we didn’t notice any loss of charge power, and charge times seemed consistently fast (about 2-percent a minute). These two factors are important because you probably won’t be using it every day. And you’ll want to be able to drop it in your bag, forget about it, and use it when you need to without fear that the charge has depleted.
There is no denying that the Power Fort is a great little device, but there were a couple things we didn’t like. These are definitely not deal breakers by any means, but our main gripe is the lack of a wall plug for charging the battery. Charging the Power Fort is done via a micro USB that attaches to one end of the device and plugs in through a standard USB. While this is acceptable most of the time, it would have been nice to include a traditional wall outlet so we could charge it when we don’t have our laptops on hand.
As it stands now the Power Fort is a comfortable size, but we would have liked it to have been a little smaller so it could fit even better in our pockets. Admittedly it’s a small complaint, but a valid one nonetheless.
Minor gripes aside, the Choiix Power Fort still makes its case. It was a lifesaver for us at CES this year and has two big things going for it: it’s reasonably priced, and it functions like it should, which is to say really well. It doesn’t hurt that it’s pretty small and stylish, too. Yes we would like an even smaller version, and yes we would like a wall charger thrown in for good measure, but for $40 we really can’t complain. Save yourself some time and money and pick one up.