Short Version: Simple to operate and offering the ability to pop out the rechargeable AAA batteries for use in other devices, the Pocket Booster pulls double duty as life support for your phone and battery charger for items like remote controls and Bluetooth mice.
Product Features (from the manufacturer):
- Provides up to 3 hours of extended talk time on your mobile/smart phone, and can be used while you talk*
- Use the included mini-USB charging cable to charge your RIM Blackberry
- Plug the USB connector into any USB power port, like the one on your notebook, to recharge the AAA batteries
- Remove the rechargeable AAA batteries inside and use them to power your wireless mouse or other device
- Slim, lightweight design that fits in your pocket
- Use with any USB cable to recharge mobile devices like your cell phone, MP3 player and more
- *Extended talk time is dependent on the age and condition of the rechargeable batteries in the unit and the age, condition, and size of the battery in the mobile device. Amount of extended talk time will vary depending on these factors.
- MSRP of $24.99
The Pocket Booster is an interesting device. While there are plenty of on-the-go battery extenders available for mobile phones, Kensington turns the idea on its head somewhat by offering a solution that uses standard and rechargeable AAA batteries.
While you may not get the same amount of juice from two AAAs that you would from an extender with a built-in lithium ion battery, you get far more convenience. You can use the included rechargeable NiMH batteries, you can buy regular AAA batteries, or you can pop the batteries out of the charger and use them in other devices.
So it’s a good solution for people with a lot of different gadgets, at least some of which take AAA batteries. Let’s say you’re in an airport and your cell phone’s dying but you can’t find an outlet anywhere – just buy some AAA batteries from the nearest gift shop and you’re set.
You can charge just about any small device that’s capable of being charged via USB. I tested the Pocket Booster on my T-Mobile G1, my iPod Touch, my Sansa Clip, and a few other USB-powered gadgets I have lying around my office, and everything worked just fine.
The included NiMH rechargeables are pretty weak. Although they each say 800mAh on them, the most I was able to coax out of them was about a half-charge on my iPod Touch, which supposedly has a battery around 1000mAh. So two 800mAh batteries were only ever able to charge it up about halfway (I tried two different sets – four batteries total). You’re best off using a good pair of rechargeable batteries right away.
When I used regular Duracell AAA batteries and a set of Energizer 900mAh rechargeables, everything improved somewhat, although I still didn’t get anywhere near the actual capacities of whichever batteries I used. My T-Mobile G1, for instance, has a special 1400mAh extended battery and using the two Energizer 900mAh batteries that have only been drained and charged a few times, my phone’s battery only increased by 20 percent. It charged quickly, though, only taking about 15-20 minutes.
What’s not as quick is the amount of time it takes to recharge the batteries when connecting the Pocket Booster to your computer’s USB port – it takes at least a few hours. I’d generally plug it in overnight and then grab it in the morning. That’s what makes being able to use off-the-shelf batteries in a pinch so nice.
Also, you’ll need to bring at least one mini-USB cable along with you and any proprietary cables (like the iPod cable) to charge your other devices, so it’s not really a pocketable solution. It definitely works in a travel bag or even a purse, though.
All in all, I’d say the Pocket Booster is a good solution for people with regular cell phones and other small electronic devices but perhaps not quite as good for people with smartphones. The ability to use standard batteries and to be able to pop the rechargeable ones out for use in battery-operated devices is the real draw, while the relatively low power bump that the Pocket Booster provides tends to hold it back a bit.
Rechargeable Pocket Booster for Mobile Phones [Kensington.com]