CrackBerry Tip: Use the BlackBerry PlayBook Travel Charger to charge your BlackBerry Smartphone TWICE as FAST!

BlackBerry PlayBook Travel Charger on Phones...
By Kevin Michaluk on 21 Jul 2011 12:25 pm EDT

Contest: Leave a comment to this blog post for your chance to win a BlackBerry PlayBook Travel Charger!

One of the great things Research In Motion doesn't get enough credit for is their adherance to standards, and specifically as it relates to this post, I'm talking their sticking to MicroUSB for syncing and charging of both BlackBerry Smartphones and Tablets. Companies like Apple use their own proprietary connector, which screws you for anything beyond Apple products, and in Android land while most phones use MicroUSB, when it comes to tablets from the same company you're most likely to see proprietary connectors for charging. In other words, in the Android universe you can't use your tablet's charger on your phone.

One of the things I've mentioned in passing in a few previous posts but never dedicated a full post to it, is the fact your can use the BlackBerry PlayBook Travel Charger (the one that comes with the PlayBook) to charge not only your PlayBook, but also your BlackBerry Smartphone (assuming it's a MicroUSB era device). And not only does the PlayBook's travel charger charge your BlackBerry Smartphone, it charges it pretty much TWICE as fast thanks to the higher amperage. Around home I have plenty of chargers kick around so sometimes forget about this awesomeness, but last week when I was out on the road I was reminded once again. During the night I'd leave my PlayBook plugged in to let it charge up, and then in the morning while I would shower, shave and the other S, I'd plug in my phone which in just a short time was recharged with enough juice to power through the day. Beyond BlackBerry phones, I've found the PlayBook's travel charger to work awesome on other non-BB microUSB devices I have kicking around too.

I have yet to see any sort of issue ever arise from using the PlayBook's travel charger on non-PlayBook MicroUSB devices, so until I'm told or hear otherwise, my CrackBerry Tip of the Day is that if you're looking for a rapid charger for your BlackBerry Smartphone, don't just think regular BlackBerry phone charger... think BlackBerry PlayBook Travel charger. 

Comments & Contest: If you have any feedback supplmenting my own observations, be sure to toss them in the comments, or if you just want to win a PlayBook Travel charger, leave a comment too and we'll give you a chance to win one. Contest ends this Sunday at Midnight PT.

PlayBook Travel Charger  Other Chargers

Reader comments

CrackBerry Tip: Use the BlackBerry PlayBook Travel Charger to charge your BlackBerry Smartphone TWICE as FAST!



I use my phone all day listening to Slacker radio. By lunch time the battery is pretty weak. during my lunch hour I use my PlayBook charger, when I done with lunch the phone is fully charged and ready to finish off the day. With the standard charger, the phone would not charge enough to finish the day.

yes please i would so love to have one since im always on the move and need a fast charger since im in the emergency services field

How it actually works is, in a normal usb device thats plugged into your computer, usb provides a minimal output of 5V and an average 700mAh (mAh is the amperage provided to your device that recharges the battery). When you apply that to a charger (specifically a BlackBerry charger) the charger can mimic the minimal 5V for the charger to completely charge your devices but have an average of 800mAh-1000mAh. More specifically, the Playbook Travel Charger provides the same 5V out that most devices use but also provide a whopping 1800mAh!!

In turn, the reason that the playbook charger can charge so many different deivces and quickly because it matches the 5V max requirement but doubles how much is charged through the 1800mAh rating.

Just an FYI for those who don't know =P

"Unnegotiated" power transfers with battery cells may shorten battery life and even cause explosions and or defects to occur with the cells themselves and are the case with some "dumb chargers" used with common household rechargeable batteries (NiCd/NiMH).

Modern phones that charge using USB/USB ports however are "negotiated" and controlled - almost completely eliminating the risks of overcharging/overcurrent situations. In theory, since these power transactions are controlled by the devices being charged then there is no risk of reducing the battery life of the batteries being charged.

I'm pretty sure the USB 2.0 standard is only 500mAh (5 power loads at 100mAh each) but if you factor in USB 3.0 which has a standardized 900mAh (6 power loads at an increased 150mAh each) and do an average then yes, 700mAh is correct. But to be nitpicky 500mAh is standard for USB 2.0. lol.

It is also interesting to know that USB devices control how much power/amperage they can accept from a power source and in turn protect from overcharging/overcurrent. I am not sure what the ceiling is for current BlackBerry smartphones but I have a hunch that aside from the PlayBook the whole 1800mAh is not actually passed onto the device. Though without proper tests done I may be completely wrong! :)

And yes, I do want to win this charger. My car charger can do 1000mAh/1Ah and is much faster than the standard wall charger that came with my Bold 9650. It would be a lot more convenient if I also had that kind of speed with charging my Bold/s when not in the car!

"and that other S..."

Oh Kevin, keeping it real since... When were you born?... Either way, thanks for the chance to win one of these! If all goes well, I'll have my own travel charger by the end of the day... along with a PLABOOK!!!! AWWW NERDGASM! I can't wait!!

My cat chewed my PB charger's cord into many pieces, so I've actually been having to go the other way around, slow charging the PB :( Could use a new one, to be kept hidden from the cat!

I use my blackberry and my blackberry playbook all day everyday. Would REALLY LOVE to have a charger that would charge my blackberry twice as fast. Please consider me for this! I LOVE and view this page atleast once a day. Thank you crackberry I love you guys!

I would love to have one of those SUPER-DUPER chargers for my phone, I will have my own very soon, but gotta take care of wife and kids first and some other S..........ha, had to put that in.
Thanks in advance CB and BB!

it works to charge my ipod touch 4g in my mophie juicepack air twice as fast! that is two batteries at once, twice as fast!!!

I found this out a few weeks ago. My phone shut down because of a low charge and the closest charger was my playbook charger. I plugged my phone in and 2hrs later I got the beep telling me it was charged. Now I use it on my phone more than my playbook.

Great tip, thanks.

Aaaaaand this post is why I LOVE Crackberry. I have several blackberry boxes, from where I just opened the box, removed device, and put the box in the closet. Guess I'll have to dig out my playbook box and take out the charger!!! Who doesn't want faster charging for your phone!!?? Thanks Kevin!

yes you are right, i have been using playbook travel charger to charge with my bold 9780 and it works really great and faster then my regular bold charger. i dont see any side affect while using this travel charger. great !!!

viva crackberry

love it! Great bonus to buying the PB. Been taking it with me traveling and friends are super jealous of fast charging times (also helps I keep a second battery handy). Sadly, my girlfriend noticed this too and well, she stole mine so please hook a poster up!

Great tip Kevin. I just picked up my Playbook last night (courtesy of Staples) and this is just another great way to limit the travel accesories while on the road. Thanks Crackberry for the contest and good luck everyone.

Since my friends little bro has a droid he's always recharging even tho they always rag on us. Then my friend, his little brother, his friend and I where all hanging out playing some games and the lil bro and his friend needed to charge their droids. Long story short is they got both of their phones charged in about an hour and a half. That being said it'll prolly last about an hour on heir phones

Do not use the PlayBook charger to charge your device!!!

I did this with my 9800 and it has effectively HALVED it's battery life! It takes MANY cycles with a normal 500 mA to return the battery to anywhere near it's original battery life.

Does the PlayBook charger charge your device quicker? Yes! Is it worth it? No!

Feature Request: Please add a LED light ring around the MicroUSB port, to help facilitate easy insertion of the MicroUSB plug in dim lighting (or in complete darkness, depending only on LCD light from BlackBerry screen).
~Similar to Steering Column/Key Ignition Light Up ring.

The thing about MicroUSB is, it's almost impossible to know which way is "up" and which way is "down" in very dim light, say in darkened hotel room because your wife is already asleep and you don't want to turn on the light.

This is a MUCH needed feature!

Hook a brutha up! I would love to have a rapid charge, and then back on my way. Busy times calls for less charging times.

While it is useful for an emergency quick charge or for convenience while travelling, I would avoid using it exclusively. Rapid charging of lithium polymer batteries reduces service life, and in a device that might drain a good battery down to 30% after a day of heavy use, I find it important to keep that battery in good shape for as long as possible. In fact, I almost exclusively use my computer's USB port for charging as it is the slowest.

One way to rapid charge and still be somewhat easy on the battery is to only rapid charge up to around 80%. Finish off with a slow charge or just use your device from that charge level - memory effects are not an issue with lithium polymer.

I'm a little worried if this would harm the battery life of my Torch but aw hell, charging twice as fast is so worth it!

I use my PlayBook charger on my Torch all the time. It charges very quickly, especially when I'm leaving the house at a certain time and need a full charge.

I could really use one of these for the office. You can never have too many chargers! I have left two behind in hotels and low and behold--they are nowhere to be found when I try to retrieve them.

I noticed this as well. but i also noticed my phone would be hot. not sure i like that. i don't do it anymore.

Have used my PB charger on more then one occasion when my Bold was getting low and I still had work to do. Works like a charm.

Just curious, how many people actually know what this does to your phone?

By charging it super fast using the wrong charger you are adding wear to your phone and burning out your battery. To answer 5h4d0w and kinghai, the increased ampherage is not rated for your smartphone, so you're stuffing more power than necessary into your battery. The result is the battery will physically bloat and your battery will not hold a charge for as long. As someone who has sold phones for 4 years I have seen this issue CONSTANTLY between Motorola and BlackBerry chargers (when they were both mini-USB chargers), people think that because the chargers fit they will work in either phone, but that is NOT the case. Remember all those news stories on people's phones overheating and blowing up? This is why.

Sidenote - using an iPad charger on an iPhone has the same result, super hot phone, lower battery life over time.

That is kind of funny. I have been using my playbook travel charger all along to charge my BB Curve, my Kindle 3, even my blue tooth headphones.....never gave it a thought...but wondered why suddenly my Curve seemed to charge really quickly.

I asked at BBWorld whether the charging pod would pass through the higher amps and was told by a BB rep that it would as it is a "dumb" pod which just passes on whatever the power supply provides. So you can use this charger with the charging pod and receive the benefits.

CB...i would really love to win that current one is broken and i'm tired of using bootleg me out please...and i've never won anything off here...except cool people in the forums and BB info from the best

I hope the winner of the charger gets replacement batteries for life along with the charger! As an electrical engineer I can tell you this is a sure fire way to demolish your battery. Your charger is designed to safely charge your battery to ensure a long life. Sure you can charge it faster but soon enough you battery will barely hold a charge. Enjoy the fast charging!

...but ya, I'd like to have a PlayBook Travel Charger so I can charge my S2 travelingly!!! ...o ya & 2wice as fastly, yes!

...but if I can get a PlayBook Travel Charger, I'll charge my phone twice as fast until I'm able to get a PlayBook to match the charger...and then I'll still keep using the charger for StormToo!!!

Alright. Here I am. I have 2 say, my fellow BlackBerrians, the few folks who have posted their concerns about charging BBs with the PB travel charger are correct. This can, in fact, shorten the life of your BB. Like some1 earlier said, it's like stuffing 2wice as much power in2 a cell, & doing this 2wice as fast. Your phone battery is not designed 2 handle this.

I had gotten this knowledge directly from a tech support rep at RIM for the PB. He specifically told me NOT 2 use the PB travel charger on my BB cause WILL indeed cause the phone 2 overheat & eventually rendering the battery useless. No longer being able 2 take or retain a charge.

I have personally experienced this with my Storm II. While on the PB charger it would activate the camera on its own (probably 2 discharge some of the excess power). I've had my BB get extremely warm & then eventually stop taking a charge using either charger until I let it cool down.

On the other hand, it surely is convenient be able 2 quickly charge your phone when u're pressed 4 time & need the boost. Plus, who couldn't use an extra PB charger at the office so u don't have 2 lug 1 back & 4th.

Awesome tip, and this is one of the reasons I love CrackBerry. You'll recommend things like this that aren't "approved" or "tested". You're normal people who are trying to get the most out of their devices. Keep it up!!!!

The PB charger is a work horse and I was telling everyone to use this charger over the standard BlackBerry one.

Even 10 minutes charging makes a massive difference!


I'd really like one for my Torch, I've got to charge it daily and a quick charge would be great at the office. Go Crackberry!

I have been using my Playbook charger ever since i bought my playbook in April. While it is true it charges the phone faster, you need to be aware that it will reduce the life of the battery. My phone charges so fast now, but discharges in half a day with the same usage. I used to have to charge my phone once overnight. Now by 3 pm, my battery is already on low.
I also testet it on a brand new battery, same results. So if you are not actually forced to use the Playbook charger, I recommend you dont.
I know its been mentioned before, and I second that.

left my charger behind at a hostel in frankfurt, while in town for the womens world cup. now im back in the US charging my phone on my computer, which is painfully slow. please hook a brother up

I have the Style 9670 and also the 32 GB PlayBook. I love them both and use them all the time. That said, I have to charge my Style 2-3 times per day. (and that after starting at a full charge using my charging pod, which I also love) The PlayBook has such wonderful battery life, and the 9670, not so much. I end up taking the PlayBook charger to work with me every day and it is AWESOME! I'm now forced to slow charge my PB on my phone charger as I have (once again) forgot my PB charger at work. Having an extra one of these charger would be great for me and allow the Crackberry addiction from within me to continue to run even more wild! Typed this on my PB also.... Here's to the Crackberry RIMpire! Cheers :)

This is a nice alternative to having an extended life battery. I've always used extended (bulky) life batteries. When I bought my Torch I was anxiously awaiting some one to come out with an extended batt. They haven't and won't. This way I can juice this beast up quickly and not worry about wasting time charging, or charging my spare batt when I forget to in the 1st place

Hopefully this is good signs to come with faster charging speeds for future blackberries. Make this standard for all the phones!

I told my girlfriend that of she uses my playbook charger it will ruin her Curve's battery in order to get her to stop using it. She has a history of her battery's going bust, so she believed me and leaves it alone. (I know this sounds a bit weird, but she always steals my chargers and i want to at least keep my good one.)

the higher amperage will charge your phone faster, but this could lead to a less full charge. anyone who has tried to electroplate something will understand that you won't get as high quality of a plate with a high amperage as with a low amperage.

That being said, increasing the amperage in this case shouldn't pose a drastic effect, and you should be safe in using this charger. but don't take my word on it.

Also, please give me the charger so i can stop lying to my girlfriend!

Interestingly enough, when I first received the PlayBook it was the charger that I seeked out while the PlayBook ran through the initial setup and download. Thinking that I was doing a super-charge I seriously thought I was killing my Torch battery until Inside BlackBerry posted saying it was ok. Loving the super charging!

my dad just got a playbook, and his birthday is coming up so this would be a great present for him! send it my way please

I'll take a real charger that plugs into the wall any day verses some USB adapter piece of ... Thanks for the contest, could really use this!

Crackberry is always giving us the knowledge on everything BB! Can't get enough of CB and can't have too many chargers! would love to win this.

i really want this awesome charger, i don't have charger, im charging now with the usb cable and the charge process is very slow :(

Asian Playbook gets a different travel charger, less sleek and much like a normal charger. would like to have this version.