We all travel with gadgets. It’s inevitable that, at some point, we’ll have to recharge them. Good luck finding an outlet in an airport that isn’t already being used, or an outlet on a plane that works. (Do they purposely make sure that no more than 50% of the power outlets on aircraft actually work?)
For the past few years, I worked around both issues and carried back up power for my Ipods, cell phones and small tablets.
One company I’ve been dealing with for years is Gomadic. They make top quality products, have excellent customer service and offer a lifetime warranty guaranteeing all their products are free of any defects.
Gomadic uses a tip exchange system. Rather than carry multiple charging cables, Gomadic allows you to change the tip (plug) so you can use one cable with many devices. This saves weight and space.
Gomadic offers two backup power chargers for small devices:
The first one (seen on the far left in the above photo) is the AA Battery Extender. It takes four AA batteries, either standard or rechargeable, has an on/off switch, and weighs 4.8oz/137g (with batteries.) The AA Battery Exender comes with a tip of your choice. $19.95
It is simple to use. Just attach the tip you need, plug it in to your device, and turn it on. I’ve been able to fully recharge an Ipod Touch with this. I liked it and only recently stopped using it because of the next device.
The Lithium Rechargeable Pack (second from the left in the above photos) holds 3400 mah of power and can be recharged from any USB port. It offers an LED display to let you know approximately how much charge is left. It weighs 3 oz/84g and comes with a coiled USB cord, a mini-USB tip for charging, and a tip of your choice. I used my Gomadic rectractable cable (far right in the photo above) in lieu of the coiled cable and it worked fine.) $49.95 (By the way, the other two items in the photos are examples of “tips.”)
The Lithium Rechargeable Pack utilizes both a standard USB and mini USB port so you don’t have to use Gomadic cables if you prefer not to.
The rechargeable pack has given me hours of extra time on my iphone and 7” tablet. I won’t travel without it.
While the devices come with a tip of your choice, I’ve purchased extras of all types. Most are $5.95.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking: Why spend all that money on charging cables and tips when you can buy Chinese knockoffs for much less. Well, I have purchased those Chinese knockoffs. Some work, some don’t work, some stop working when I need them. With Gomadic, I’ve never had a product fail on me.
It’s also their customer service. I’ve been in touch with the company numerous times to ask questions. They have never taken more than one business day to get back to me and in most cases, the same day.
But two incidents stand out that have proven they care about their customers.
The AA battery extender I mentioned above is the 2nd generation model. I purchased the first generation when it came out years ago. It worked fine with my cellphone and mp3 player but it wouldn’t work on my Ipod Touch 2nd generation. I contacted Gomadic, they said they were aware of the problem, and were working on it.
Shortly thereafter, they came out with the 2nd generation battery extender. Being the cheapskate that I am, and a true believer in the phrase: “You don’t get if you don’t ask,” I contacted Gomadic and asked, since I already owned the first generation model, and couldn’t charge my Ipod Touch, if they’d be willing to sell me a 2nd generation model at a discount. The response was unexpected. They would be glad to send me the newer model at “no charge.” (Now in case some of you are thinking I got that because of this website, well, this was done before I was involved with OBOW. I was just another customer.)
The second incident took place a few months ago when I got my Iphone 5. Apple has yet to license any of the new “Lightning” tips to 3rd parties including Gomadic. So, to use the Gomadic system, it was suggested I use the charging cable that came with the iphone and a USB tip. I already had a USB tip to use when charging my camera battery. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. I contacted Gomadic and found I needed a different USB tip and they would be happy to send me one at no charge. ( I found that many of the tips may look the same but the inside wiring is different.)
Yes, I do pay a little more using Gomadic products. However, between their quality products, and excellent customer service, I feel I’m getting my money’s worth.
Gomadic supplied the Lithium Rechargeable Pack for review.