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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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: