Cellink I Mobile Charger and Card Reader review: Cellink I Mobile Charger and Card Reader

Cellink I
The Cellink I won't be so convenient if the USB drives on your laptop are vertical. Josh Miller/CNET

Once I had a connection, though, my laptop recognized my iPhone and iTunes kicked into gear for syncing. The recognition process took a few seconds longer than normal, but it wasn't a bother. My iPhone also appeared in Windows Explorer, though the Windows Scanner and Camera Wizard didn't activate automatically. Though that's a bit inconvenient, I've also had that problem even when using a cable, so I won't fault the Cellink I. While connected, it delivers a charge to your handset, as well.

Backup battery

In an age of power-hungry smartphones, carrying a backup battery for a full day on the go is never a bad idea. Fortunately, the Cellink I can serve that function, even if its capability is somewhat limited (more on that in a minute). To get started, plug the Cellink I into your computer with or without a phone attached. As the 600 mAh Li polymer battery begins to charge, a red indicator light will shine. When it's full, after about an hour and a half, the light will change to green.

When I connected the Celllink I to my phone soon after charging, it began delivering juice to my phone immediately. The charging rate was slower than with a standard wall charger, but that's not surprising. Egen promises that the Cellink I will deliver about a 40 percent charge for up to 90 minutes of talk time. That's respectable, but like with most backup batteries, it's not designed to deliver a full charge to a completely dead device. Instead, I'd use it to "top off" your phone when you need to.

Cellink
The Cellink plugs directly into your phone. Josh Miller/CNET

More troubling is that the Cellink I loses its charge quicker than I'd like. When I left it overnight after a full charge, for example, it was useless when I tried to power my phone the next day. Egen promises that it will deliver more than two days of standby time, but that's only if you keep it connected to your phone. I'd much prefer to be able to carry it separately and use it only when needed.

Card reader

As mentioned, the Cellink also functions as a microSD card reader. I used a 2GB card to transfer data back and forth without any problems. Egen does not set a limit for what size card you can use.

Conclusion

It can't make calls, it can't organize your life, and it can't play music, but the Cellink I is one of more useful mobile tools I've seen in a while. Granted, it's not in top form as a backup battery, but for data transfer and as a card reader, it does exactly what it's supposed to do. For the price I wish it came with a memory card, but if it fits your computer comfortably, it may just save you in a pinch.

What you'll pay

Pricing is currently unavailable.

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Where to Buy

Cellink I Mobile Charger and Card Reader

Part Number: CNETCellinkIMobileChargerandCardReader

MSRP: $54.95

See manufacturer website for availability.