i.Sound Portable Power review: i.Sound Portable Power

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.0
  • Design: 7.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 7.0

The Good The i.Sound Portable Power Max battery can charge up to five USB items at once and has an onboard LED battery meter and LED flashlight. It's tiny enough to travel almost anywhere, and the included USB-to-Micro-/Mini-USB cable comes in very handy.

The Bad It's possible the device will lose its ability to hold a charge over time, but we didn't experience that in our testing. The USB ports are very close together, so items with a larger USB dongle frame may cover up other ports.

The Bottom Line Lightweight, quick, and easy to use, the i.Sound Portable Power Max battery is a great way to keep your USB gadgets going when a wall charger isn't accessible.

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As the owner of an HTC Evo 4G, I'm quite familiar with the need to recharge my mobile device at least twice a day. But when I'm not commuting to and from CNET's New York offices, locating an accessible outlet can sometimes be a problem.

I tried using third-party extended batteries that made my phone bulkier than it already is, but on top of the additional size I found that after a few months they could never hold the maximum charge they were once capable of.

It seemed like a fitting coincidence that I recently was sent two i.Sound Portable Power Max batteries for review. The mobile chargers come in two sizes, 8,000 mAh and 16,000 mAh, retailing at $90 and $120 respectively.

Each portable charger offers five USB charging ports, an onboard LED battery meter, and a built-in LED flashlight. Also in the box are a protective cloth carrying case and a USB-to-Micro-/Mini-USB cable.

Both Power Max batteries are surprisingly small, with the 8,000 mAh version measuring just 1x3.25x3.5 inches (HWD). The 16,000 mAh Power Max has a wider, 5.75-inch body. They're both lightweight and small enough to fit in any bag and their slick gray and black design is inoffensive.

Obviously the most important detail in our review is whether or not the Power Max works. The short answer is yes, but the long answer is that we can't judge definitively. As a way to assess the Power Max's ability to repower and hold a full charge, we used an iPad 2 as a subject device.

Of course it's tough to make such tests truly accurate without special battery-testing equipment, but we felt a real-world test would suffice.

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Where to Buy See all prices

i.Sound Portable Power (8000 mAh)

Part Number: CNETDGIPAD-4543 Released: Aug 15, 2011
MSRP: $89.99 Low Price: $51.99 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Aug 15, 2011
  • Run Time (Up To) 240 hour(s)