[Update] Review: Proporta USB Turbocharger 5000. #proporta

Mobile junkies know the true value of an outlet, for it is the very thing that keeps our lives going. But all too often in the modern world of iPhones, MyTouch 4G’s, Nexus 2′s, and so many other feature-packed gadgets, our fun time ends entirely too short. The occasional public wall outlet helps from time to time. But it is neither convenient nor easy to pack it in your pocket.

With that said, it seems that a fair compromise is some type of external battery charger. There when you need it, hiding when you don’t. However, there is a myriad of options when it comes to external battery power. How do you know what you’re getting is reliable, efficient, or any good? Thankfully you have people like me to get the nitty gritty details for you.

Today we’ll be looking at the Proporta Tubo Charger 5000. Come on inside…
 

Initial Impressions

What struck me the very moment I removed it from it’s plastic and cardboard shroud was the designers impeccable attention to design. You usually don’t get excited over a hunk of rare earth metals whose sole purpose is to shuttle electrons to and fro. And yet I’m giddy. Maybe it’s the slick, matte black finish perfectly accented by the bright (but not eye-piercing) blue charge lights. Or maybe it’s the soft touch finish that is both grippy, yet smooth enough as to not rid the world of lint, pulling it all into our pocket or bag. Simply put, Proporta nailed it in the design department.

Physical Design/Layout

Digging a little deeper, on the top of the unit there is a simple octogonal power button and the three aforementioned power lights that let you know how much charge is remaining. General wisdom would say each of the three lights accounts for roughly 33% of battery level. ***See update at bottom of review*** And for the most part, I found them to actually be quite linear, with the 100%-77% being slightly favored and staying illuminated longer.

On the front-side of the device you have three ports: Low, In, and High. The “Low” charging port is for things such as smartphones and mp3 players. The In port…well…it’s an in port — pretty self explanatory. And finally, the “High” port is for your larger “mobile” devices that draw a bit more power — iPads and other mobile tablets. Seeing as how I don’t have a tablet or anything close to that size to test, I can’t comment on how many charges you can get on such a device. Though if you take the same basic decline in power to charge a smartphone (more on that below), you’ll get fairly close estimates with a higher draw item — that is, a relatively close 1:1 transfer of power.

Performance

So it’s a hot piece of gadget. But is it a hallow shell of shallowness? No. First of all, The Tubercharger 5000 is packing 5,000mAh of reserve power under the hood. For comparison’s sake, the iPhone 4′s battery is 1420mAh. So the Turbocharger 5000 could theoretically charge it from dead as a doornail to 100% three times and still have some juice left over for a quick afternoon pick-me-up.

But if you know battery chargers, you know that they’re not exactly 100% efficient. That is, real world charging isn’t a 1:1 transfer of power. With that said, the Turbocharger 5000 really impressed me, because I did get a solid 3 full chargers out of it. The “afternoon pick-me-up” was a tad short — giving me roughly an extra 20%. But still, for a battery charger that isn’t any thicker than a deck cards and is only 1″ longer, this thing is frickin’ awesome — Quote me!

Conclusion

At $68, you have to really want an external battery pack to pick up the Turbercharger 5000. It’s not exactly “cheap”. But Proporta wasn’t trying to be. And you know what? That’s a good thing. As the saying goes — “You get what you pay for”. And for a few Washingtons under $70, you get an awesome device. It’s small, lightweight, and packs a helluva punch in regards to reserve power. It will easily give you three 0-100% charges on an iPhone 4 — even more on phones with smaller batteries, which is surprisingly not all too uncommon still.

I can’t make you go and get one of these, but I can surely sway your decision. It’s really pretty easy. If you are a true gadget junkie who is always on the go, you need this. It isn’t just good at any one thing. It’s the combination of size, performance, and design. All you have to do is click “buy”.

Update:

After two more complete discharges with the Turbocharger 5000 (total of 6 complete discharges now), the lights are no longer showing linear. The device shows a full charge with 3 LED’s through all three full 0-100% iPhone 4 re-charges and then drops to 1 LED shortly thereafter. Is it a deal breaker? Certainly not. You’re still recharging your phone 3 full times. But it’s something I felt potential buyers would like to know.

Proporta — Turbocharger 5000

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