Here’s something you don’t see very often: A gigantic battery that plugs into the wall, and then allows you to charge up your various mobile devices on the go.
It’s made by ZAGG (who happen to be Zealous About Great Gadgets and are the creators of the Invisible Shield), features two USB ports, and boasts the ability to fully charge an iPhone 4 four times before the 6,000 mAh battery has been depleted. It’s called the ZAGGsparq 2.0, and we’ve got the full details after the break. Oh yeah, that title isn’t lying. There’s also a giveaway, too! That’s right, five ZAGGsparqs are up for grabs. You’ll find those details at the read link, as well!
Picture this: a big battery, packed into a rectangular prism with rounded edges. That’s about the simplest description anyone could give the ZAGGsparq, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Along one edge are 4 LED lights that glow when you push a button located beneath them to indicate the amount of charge the ZAGGsparq currently has (4 LEDs for 80-100%, 3 for 60-80%, and so on). Directly above the LEDs are two USB ports, one labeled ‘Optimized’ and the other ‘General.’ On the side opposite of the LEDs and USB ports is the wall adapter, which allows for a direct plug-in to the wall for charging the battery pack. Along the other sides is the familiar ZAGG branding, and other marks of certification from the various government agencies.
The feel of the ZAGGsparq is pretty substantial — you can definitely tell that it is packed full. The glossy black plastic does collect finger prints easily, though that shouldn’t be cause for much concern on a battery pack that’s hidden most of the time. The ZAGGsparq isn’t too big to be packed into a laptop case, a purse, or really any other storage medium that isn’t a pocket (and even then, anyone who wears cargo pants might be able to work it out), though it would be smart to allocate a little space for the ZAGGsparq.
Overall, the ZAGGsparq 2.0 strikes a good balance of ergonomics, portability, and heft for a portable battery pack.
Now for the real meat; after all, you don’t buy a battery pack based on looks alone. You buy it for the assurance that you will be able to charge your device at any given time. The ZAGGsparq provides this assurance, though with a few limitations.
First off, here’s the devices I’ve tested with the ZAGGsparq: iPod touch 4G, iPod touch 3G, iPod touch 2G, iPhone 4, iPad, DROID Incredible, DROID X, and even a PS3 Sixaxis controller. The ZAGGsparq charged them all. Now, it is important to note that you may come across a device that doesn’t work properly with the ZAGGsparq due to reasons in the design of whatever device that might be. Either way, the ZAGGsparq has done its job well in interfacing with and charging those devices.
How long does it take to charge them? How many charges will the ZAGGsparq do before it is totally empty? Well, both of those questions depend on variables. First off, make sure that you are charging via the ‘Optimized’ USB port. This USB port has been designed to charge devices like the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and other mobile devices. Plugging in and charging with that should really help to cut down the charge time. Be warned, though: if you plug in your device to that port and nothing happens, then you will have to plug in to the ‘General’ USB port. No damage should be done, but it just won’t charge due to variations in the current.
Now for the second variable: how long will the ZAGGsparq last before it needs to be recharged? First, here’s my usage: four charges of iPod touch 4G from ~60% to 100%, and one charge of my DROID Incredible with extended battery pack (3500 mAh) from 45% to 100%. With all of that usage, I still have one light shining, and probably about 5% juice left. That’s impressive, and leads me to believe ZAGG’s claim of charging an iPhone 4 four times before the ZAGGsparq is dead. Your mileage may vary — I’ve heard of people getting closer to three and a half charges instead of four on the latest iPhone — but I can only say that I’ve been impressed with the ZAGGsparq in my own testing period. ZAGG also claims that the ZAGGsparq will charge the iPad from 0% to 60% at the same speed of the charger that ships with the iPad. For the most part, this is very accurate: in my own unscientific tests, I charged my iPad from 0% to 53% in about the same time that it would take plugged into the wall. It would be nice if the actual testing overshot the claims made by ZAGG, instead of falling slightly short.
The ZAGGsparq also can charge multiple devices (read: two) at once. Doing that will drain the battery of the ZAGGsparq twice as fast, though, and may be something you want to avoid if you are traveling for an extended period of time without access to a wall charger. Still, the ability is definitely there and works great.
The exact technical specifications for the ZAGGsparq are as follows:
- 6,000 mAh Lithium Polymer
- Has the power to charge most smart phones four times
- 4 yellow lights indicate power level, 25%-50%-75%-100%
- Has the ability to charge multiple USB devices simultaneously
- Max output: 2000mA @ 5V
- Power Source: 100-240 VAC @ 50/60 Hz
- Physical Size 3.5 x 3.5 x 1 inches
- Weight 8.6 ounces
Value for Money
I cover this more in the overview below, but this device is pretty market-specific. While most people could use a little boost in battery now and then, what makes this better than a case that extends the battery for an hour or two? First, it isn’t tied to a single device, and can provide power to any mobile device that has the ability to charge from a USB port. Second, it depends on who you are. If you find yourself traveling, and away from an outlet for extended periods of time, then guess what: this might be the best $99.99 you’ll ever spend on a phone/tablet/iPod accessory.
However, if you aren’t one to travel much, then an extended battery case might be a better fit. After all, this won’t match the portability of a case the fits on the device itself.
I believe the target audience for this device are those who define the phrase “road warrior.” As someone who clocked a ridiculous amount of travel hours over the past summer, and therefore an exorbitant amount of recharges on all of my mobile devices, I wish I had a ZAGGsparq for those many hours in a car.
However, the ZAGGsparq just doesn’t make sense for someone who is surrounded by walls (read: outlets) all, or most, the live long day. Turn the scope to business professionals who tend to travel very often, and live their life in foreign hotel rooms, cramped airline seats, and cars rushing around the world, the ZAGGsparq makes perfect sense. ZAGG even knows this is who they are targeting: they include a European adapter straight out of the box, so you can charge the ZAGGsparq across the globe. Plug in the USB cable that came with your iPhone, plug in your iPhone, and you’ve got yourself a way to multiple the iPhone’s (or, really, any device that plugs in via USB) battery life by at least three.
The ZAGGsparq is available for $99.99 through ZAGG.com.
Overall scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star.
Thanks to ZAGG for providing this review unit, and the five units that will be given away!
So, this is the part many of you have been waiting for: free stuff! I wouldn’t blame you, this giveaway is fantastic. Up for grabs are 5 ZAGGsparq 2.0s, each valued at $99.99. That’s quite the giveaway, and we’ve got ZAGG to thank for it.
Now, here’s how the giveaway will go: there will be two ways to enter. The first is very simple: leave a comment on this post saying why you should win.
The second is method is to enter through Twitter. Simply follow @touchfans (that’s us!) and tweet the following message:
I’ve just entered to win a ZAGGsparq from @touchfans. RT and follow to enter! Review & details here: http://cot.ag/g7lJn9
Entering through either will put you in the running for a random drawing. Three ZAGGsparqs will be given away to commenters, and two will be given away to those who enter the Twitter contest. Be sure to read and follow the official rules below!
- Follow the site rules.
- You can only enter once through this method! Feel free to gain additional entries by using the Twitter method, though.
- You have one week to claim your prize. I will contact you via email to get your shipping information. If you don’t respond within one week of when I send the email, the prize will go to someone else.
- You mustn’t be banned at the time of the drawing.
- You must be a registered user.
- The competition ends on Tuesday, March 1st at 3:00 p.m. EST.
Failure to comply with any of the rules above will render you ineligible to win.
- You may enter multiple times by retweeting the above message.
- You must be following @touchfans! If you aren’t, I can’t DM you and get the necessary information.
- The two winners will have exactly one week from the time that I send the DM to respond and give me the necessary shipment information. If the week time limit runs out, then the prize will move to another randomly selected winner.
- The competition ends on Tuesday, March 1st at 3:00 p.m. EST.
Failure to comply with the above rules will render you ineligible to win.