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Computerized Investing > October 5, 2013

New Trent PowerPak Xtreme NT120R 12,000 mAh battery backup

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by Wayne A. Thorp, CFA

$59.95

Rugged 12,000 mAh battery pack for smartphones and tablets.

Recently I traveled west to speak at a couple of AAII Local Chapters. Whenever I pack for these trips, I am amazed by the amount of electronics I end up taking with me. Oftentimes, my laptop bag weighs nearly as much as my luggage for even several days of travel, and the sad thing is my notebook PC only weighs about three pounds. All of these electronics require power, something that is at a premium when stuck in a car for several hours or in a location with no power outlets. As a result, many companies are producing mobile power stations, such as the iBattz BattStation Tough Dual Pro and the Satechi Portable Energy Station. These portable battery packs allow you to top off your smartphone, tablet, or other mobile devices whenever a plug isn’t available. This week I take a look at another offering in this segment: the New Trent PowerPak Xtreme. This 12,000 mAh power pack offers one of the largest battery capacities I’ve seen in such a device and delivers it in a rugged, water-resistant case.

Out of the Box

The PowerPak Extreme is designed to be drop-proof from up to one meter and water-resistant in up to three feet of water for up to an hour, so it has a thick, thermoplastic casing. It measures 1.2 inches by 2.8 inches by 5.2 inches and weighs roughly 11 ounces. The enclosure makes it bigger than the iBattz BattStation, but it weighs about the same even though the PowerPak has a larger battery capacity. As someone who always travels with a laptop bag filled to capacity, I appreciate that the PowerPak Xtreme is highly portable and doesn’t take up much space.

On the back of the PowerPak is a door that opens to reveal two 5V USB charging ports, one with 1A output and the other with 2.1A output. The 2.1A port is a welcome addition, as it will speed up the charging of higher-capacity devices such as the 4th generation Apple iPad with Retina display.

The PowerPak Xtreme also comes with a micro-USB charger and a carabiner for attaching it to a backpack.

Performance

The PowerPak Xtreme came almost fully charged, but when fully discharged it takes about 12 hours to completely recharge. You aren’t given a wall charger, so you will have to plug the PowerPak into a powered USB port or use a third-party wall charger to charge it.

According to New Trent, the 12,000 mAh lithium ion polymer battery in the PowerPak Xtreme will give you an additional 33 to 39 hours of iPhone 5 usage and an additional 10 hours of battery life with the 3rd generation iPad. In effect, it will give you almost six times the smartphone life and double the tablet life (these times will differ depending on the device you use and your settings). While on my recent trip, I experienced roughly similar results as those predicted by New Trent. The charging times were noticeably faster than what I experienced with the Satechi and iBattz as well.

Overall

The New Trent PowerPak Xtreme is the top portable power solution I have come across thus far. It delivers a potent blend of ruggedness, battery capacity and value that pushes it past the other devices I’ve reviewed for this column. Regardless of whether you are an outdoorsman (or woman), the battery capacity and price are enough to attract even the most ardent city slicker.

Its 12,000 mAh capacity also puts it at the top of any of the devices I’ve tested, while its $60 price tag is very similar to other devices with less capacity. This is definitely something I’ll be taking with me on my annual fly fishing trips to northern Michigan as well as on cross-country business trips.

Pros

  • 12,000 mAh capacity
  • Faster 2.1A charging port
  • Drop- and water-resistant
  • Excellent value

Cons

  • Wall charger not included

New Trent PowerPak Xtreme NT120R 12,000 mAh battery backup

$59.95 (Currently $59.95 from Amazon.com)

Wayne A. Thorp, CFA is a vice president and senior financial analyst at AAII and editor of Computerized Investing. Follow him on Twitter at @WayneTAAII.


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