Many of us struggle to make it through a full day without having to charge our smartphones, but it's not always possible to be tethered to a wall outlet while we wait for our phones to juice up. This has been a problem for years and that's why we've seen the rise of the so-called "power bank" or "USB battery pack." And they're getting better at it.
What you see here is the LUXA2 P2 Portable Battery, a sleek little number that I included in the holiday gift guide last month. Does it really cut the mustard? Will it really make your increasingly digital and mobile lifestyle that much better? Let's have a look.
Style, Design and Materials
Around this time last year, I posted a portable USB battery pack shootout. Many people may be quick to quip that all of these power banks are the same, but even compared to that shootout last year, we're seeing some innovation here with the P2 from LUXA2.
All three of the battery packs in that shootout were on the bulkier side of things, which is in stark contrast to the increasingly thin smartphones that we carry around. That makes no sense. That's why it's so great that the P2 is as thin as it is. You can easily slip it into pocket. The slick aluminum body adds to this premium kind of feel, which is in stark contrast to the many plastic power banks on the market. You'll also notice that the P2 comes bundled with a carry pouch and microUSB cable.
The Apple influence is apparent, but the LUXA2 P2 does not have a true aluminum unibody like what you'd see on a MacBook or Ultrabook. The aluminum wraps around the front and sides, but the back is an entirely different color and there is an obvious seam all the way around. This takes away from the otherwise sleek appearance.
I Can Feel the Power
The interface is understandably simple: plug your compatible USB cable of choice into the P2 and into your phone (or other mobile device), hit the power button, and away you go. This does come with a significant caveat, though. The provided USB port is 1A. What this means is that it should be able to charge your phone, Bluetooth headset and smartwatch, but it likely won't be able to charge your iPad or similar tablet. Those usually need 2.1A.
Indicator Light Shows Charge Level
Another point worth mentioning is that there is a semi-circular indicator light next to the semi-circular power button. That's a good thing, because then you'll know when it's working and when it is charging itself (via microUSB; takes about 6 hours). The different colors indicate the current capacity level.
When the light is green, it means that the P2 still has over 75% of its charge. A blue light indicates that the charge is between 40% and 75%, while a red light means that it has less than 40% left. If that red light starts flashing, it means the P2 has dipped below 10% and probably isn't all that useful anymore.
MEGATechie Potent Provider or MEGATechie Slim Pickings?
No, a power bank isn't exactly the most exciting thing in the world, but it could prove to be one of the most useful gadgets in your bag. With the LUXA2 P2, you get good capacity, a premium-feeling aluminum shell, and a super slim body that makes it quite pocketable. You just need to bring along a USB cable too.
It carries an MSRP of $64.95 MSRP, but you can find the LUXA2 P2 power bank for about $45 online. There may be some cheaper batteries out there, but many aren't quite as pretty and well-built as the P2.