Review: BluePack S3 Portable Power Solution

Bluepack S3
By Michael Hepples on 3 Mar 2010 12:38 pm EST
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Power. For those of us who love and rely on our BlackBerry Smartphones, it's like air. Without a charged battery in our devices, we feel naked, unconnected. For some of us, the solution is an extended battery for longer life. Others prefer to carry around spare batteries, ready to swap a fresh one in when the current one gets low. I am out and about constantly, and not always near a charger, so portable solutions have become a bit of an obsession for me. I came across the BluePack S3 in my search, and came away thoroughly impressed. Read on after the jump for a full review.


In the Box

The BluePack S3 comes fully equipped to handle most charging needs, and the included peripherals show it.

  • DC adapter for wall charging
  • dual USB cord for rapid charging
  • Mini-USB adapter
  • Micro-USB adapter
  • iPod adapter
  • carrying bag

First Impressions

Immediately upon taking the BluePack out of the box, I was in love with its sleek look and size. Smaller than my 9530, and very lightweight, it fit perfectly into my pocket. Three blue LED's on the side indicate the current charge capacity, making it easy to gauge when it needs a top-up. A built-in white LED acts as a flashlight for those times when you need a little extra light. The business end of the device is simple, with a charging port for the pack itself and a USB port for charging devices. Overall, a well put-together package, and great looking too.

Usage

Getting right down to the basics, what is your first concern with a portable power solution? Power. How long does it take to charge? How much power can it hold? How well does it perform charging my beloved BlackBerry? Let's start with the manufacturer's specs on the unit:

  • up to 10 hours talk time
  • up to 12 hours video time
  • up to 72 hours audio time

Those are some pretty hefty numbers, making this an impressive looking solution on paper. It takes about 4 hours to charge the unit fully from a dead state. There are two options available to you to charge the unit, you can either use the supplied DC adapter, or charge it through your PC/laptop's USB ports. Having the option to use my PC to charge the unit is incredibly useful, as I don't have a spare wall plug in my office to use, which is a shortfall of most charging solutions.

From a full charge, I was able to fully charge my 8900 (while running) twice, which impressed me to no end. The supplied cord is a little short, making it difficult at times to have the unit attached and use your BlackBerry at the same time. However, the unit is compatible with the standard USB cable that came in the box with your device, so you do have the option of using the longer cord if you wish.

Torture Test

The Setup

I love testing out the claims in the press literature that accompanies these products, and 10 hours of talk time was a pretty big claim to make. Keeping in mind that the words "up to" were included, and given that the company's background is manufacturing these products for iPhone, not BlackBerry, I decided to see just how close to 10 hours I could get. In order to test this, I took my work BlackBerry (9530, for the record), checked the current battery level in percentage, and hooked up to the BluePack S3. For sake of accuracy, I did not start with a fully charged battery, to see if the battery level would hold steady during the test, or simply decrease at a slower rate than normal. Once all that was in place, I dialed voicemail and let it run for as long as it could go.

The Result

Well, the BluePack didn't make it the full 10 hours, petering out after about 6. I do have to note that, coming from their basis manufacturing for Apple, those numbers are likely based on iPhone/iPod data rather than BlackBerry specifically. Still, I found 6 hours to be pretty incredible, given how fast we all know a phone call can drain a BB battery.

Conclusion

Final words on the BluePack S3? Sexy, portable, and powerful. I used this unit as my daily power source for two devices, eschewing chargers and spare batteries for an entire week. At no point in time did I find myself in a pinch for power (provided I remembered to charge it overnight), which is a feat in and of itself for any power solution available. While it may be inconvenient at times to be tethered to what amounts to an oversized battery, Dexim has done a fantastic job of not only minimizing the inconvenience, but of making it worth the while to endure. I strongly recommend this for anyone who is on the go on a regular basis, and needs a more elegant solution than cables or spare batteries. The price point is quite reasonable as well, coming in at an MSRP of $79.95, roughly the cost of the two spare batteries it would be "replacing". For more information on this product, hit up Broadstone's website below:

Reader comments

Review: BluePack S3 Portable Power Solution

23 Comments

Dang, this bluepack sounds pretty promising to me. Sure it was about 4 hours shy, but that is still 6 more hours of fun on the blackberry. I think that I might have to go get me one!

Seems to me it makes a lot more sense to have a few extra batteries. This is especially so if, like me, a user has a charger than can also charge batteries outside of the BB device.

I WONDER ONE THING, IF THE COMPANY COULD IN SOME WAY MAKE LIKE A HOLSTER THAT WOULD HOLD THE CHARGER THINGY AND THE PHONE THAT MAY ELIMINATE THE ISSUE OF HAVING YOUR PHONE TETHERED. HMMMM, NOW THAT I THINK ABOUT IT SOUNDS AND AWEFUL LOT LIKE THE FUEL CASE FROM CASEMATE, ANY WAY SOUNDS NEAT.

I think you summed up my feelings about this in a fraction of a sentence in your conclusion, "what amounts to an oversized battery."

I wish the storage capacity of the spare power backup was listed. That would give me a better indicator of the value.

I have a 2500 and a 3400 mAh storage backup and at least one of them is with me when I leave the house.

It came with the USB charging cable with the proper connector on one end, usb on the other so I can use it in the house or the SUV.
The supplied cord is retractable and extends to 32 inches.
Came with 1 x DS Lite, 1 x iPod, 1 x Nokia, 1 x Sony Ericsson, 1 x Micro USB and 1 x Mini USB.
LED power indicators are on face of the pack, with a test button for measurement.
The price was considerably less than $79.95, I paid $47.00 and shipping via postal rates.
Shipping was $4.95, but they are running a promotion with free shipping.

Seems like I did alright.

Marc

Amazon lists it at 3000 mah. So yes I would say you did pretty well on your purchase, where did you find the 3400 one at? I was looking to get something like this.

While I like the idea, I could buy 4-6 spare batteries easily for the cost of this unit and get more than 6 hours of talk time. Great idea but seriously overpriced in my opinion.

There are two versions of this product. There is the S3 which is reviewed here; It has 2600mAh. Then there is the S8 which has 3000mAh. Retail on the S3 is $65.90 and retail on the S8 is $79.90.

seems like an awesome idea!i constantly have problems with battery power coz i use and abuse my blackberry everyday ( mostly during uni hours) and i keep trying to turn off this and that to maximize the battery power.

i was considering buying an extra battery and charger but i hated the idea that i had to remove the battery and wait for the few minutes of start up. this would be much better as you could charge it while running. great idea :D tho the price is quite steep.

and there is no f-in way im getting the big 3000+mAh battery with custom back cover. that just looks awefull!

Rather than have a tumor like device hanging off the end of your beloved BB, why not just go with a Case Mate Fuel Case?? Gives similar charge times, from what i recall, and it doubles as a holster / clip...

i have the S3 (2600 mah) & the S8 (3000 mah) battery packs from Dexim i bought them for my iphone when i was using it..i am a power user so my iphone would get about 5 hours before it died.... they work really great they come with multiple connections micro usb mini usb ipod/iphone connection.... you could get about 1.5 to 2 full recharges between the 2 battery packs... id really recommend getting any which one.. im currently using a Bold 9700....

Just do like I did...walk into the lake with your 2 week old Curve 8900 (chasing after your kids mind you, who wandered too deep!), then promptly purchase a new one at market value because hey...why would I need insurance?! I had that Pearl for 4 years!!! Voilà! Backup battery!