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One thing all gadgets have in common regardless of manufacturer or type is their need to be charged. When you’re on the go and don’t have access to reliable power, you’re going to need some sort of mobile charger. Our friends at Proporta were kind enough to send one of their Turbocharger 7000 Emergency Chargers my way, and while I didn’t need to use it for an actual emergency, I did test its effectiveness with my HTC Thunderbolt and first generation iPod Nano in my regular life.

First Look at the Proporta Turbocharger 7000

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Proporta has included so many pieces inside its minimal packaging I almost felt like I was watching a clown car disgorge its occupants. In addition to the Proporta Turbocharger 7000 itself, there were six connector heads, two retractable cables, and a drawstring carrying pouch. They even threw in a single-serving package of Yorkshire Tea, which I’m enjoying as I write this.

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The surface of the Proporta Turbocharger 7000 is plain black, with a simple power button and LED indicator lights that show the level of stored power. To check available power, push the button once and the LEDs light up. They also light up while the unit is being charged, so you know where you stand.

The Turbocharger has a storage capacity of 7000 mAh (thus its name), and offers output of 5V @ 1A from the Low port, 2.1A from the High. It measures 119 x 73 x 12mm (about 4.6 x 2.8 x .47 inches), weighs just 175 grams (about 6 ounces), and easily slips into a bag or purse. I was able to carry it in my pocket, although being approximately the same size as my phone, it wasn’t comfortable to carry them both in the same pocket.

The Included Components

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The connector heads included are an iPod/iPhone/iPad (30-pin), Nokia, Sony Ericsson, mini-USB, micro-USB, and Nintendo DS Lite. I only had a use for the Micro USB and iPod connectors, but the others are certainly a bonus to have on hand in case I need to help out a friend. Proporta also offers a PSP (DC 4.0) connector head free of charge if you need one.

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The two retractable cables were one of my favourite things. When I just wanted to charge my devices without using them, I kept the cables retracted. But when I needed to use my phone while it was charging, the cables extend out to about two feet (~ 61 cm) which allowed me enough range of movement that I didn’t feel tethered. I was even able to leave the Proporta Turbocharger 7000 in my purse while still using the camera on my phone.

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At the bottom of the Proporta Turbocharger 7000, there is a micro-USB input flanked by the low and high USB outputs. The low side is designed for devices such as phones or MP3 players, while the high side is designed for tablets or other high-drawing devices. It should be noted that using the high output side does not damage your phone.

The nice thing about having two USB outputs is the ability to charge two devices at once. Charging two at once increases the length of time it takes to charge each device, but it still takes about half as long as it would if you had to wait to charge them individually. That’s why there are two retractable cables included.

Hooking Up With My Devices

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When the Turbocharger arrived it was charged to about 75%, and after it was drained it took approximately eight hours to charge through the USB port on my computer using one of the retractable cables and micro-USB connector head. One thing I was unable to discern from either the packaging or the website was whether or not it could be charged using a USB adapter plugged into a wall socket, so I didn’t dare try. But that would be a handy feature, especially since charging it with a laptop running on its own battery power is impractical in most situations.

I first ran tests using my Thunderbolt and the low output port. My phone was at about 10% battery when I plugged it in and started my stopwatch. At about the two hour and 40 minute mark, it was fully charged and the Proporta Turbocharger 7000 was still showing three LED lights of four. This is about the same length of time it takes to charge my phone using either the USB port on my computer or plugging its charger into the wall. Length of time was virtually unaffected by my usage of the phone or its camera, as every time I charged it, the time came out between 2:30 and 2:50.

The best, and most useful, part for me was that I was able to fully charge my phone more than twice on a single charge of the Proporta Turbocharger 7000. The second time I charged my phone, it took the Turbocharger down to one LED light, and I was even able to get it to about 70% charged a third time before the Turbocharger was drained.

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Then, I charged my iPod, also using the low output port. It was completely dead when I plugged it in, and about an hour and a half later it was ready to go. Much like with my phone, I was able to charge my iPod multiple times before the Proporta Turbocharger 7000 was drained (a total of four times fully charged, and once with a better than 40% charge).

Charging both of my devices at once with the Proporta Turbocharger 7000 went well, and I was able to charge them each twice before it was drained of stored power. I forgot to pay attention to see if the iPod charged faster than the phone, but they were both done after just over three hours.

Using the high output port neither changed the length of time it took to charge either device nor caused any problems with either one. Likewise using the included retractable cables with connector heads was equally effective as using the cables that came with my devices.

MEGATechie Turbocharged or MEGATechie Undercharged?

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Honestly, I can’t think of one thing I didn’t like about the Proporta Turbocharger 7000. It was easy to carry, easy to use, able to charge my devices multiple times, and it’s even attractive. The drawstring bag makes it easy to keep all its components together when not in use, and the retractable cables are a godsend for someone like me who spends a great deal of time away from a hard-wired power source while still needing to use my phone.

I definitely recommend the Proporta Turbocharger 7000 to anyone who is looking for a mobile charging solution. Not only would I give it a five out of five star rating, I have already told several friends and family members they should pick one up for themselves. Proporta calls it an Emergency Charger, but this has already become one of my everyday carry items. At first, I thought the fact that it takes eight hours to charge was going to be an issue, but plugging it in while I sleep is really not a problem at all. Even if I don’t have time to fully charge the Turbocharger, at the 75% power it arrived with, I was still able to charge my phone twice.

The icing on the cake? That really was a darn fine cup of tea.

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