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There are plenty of high-capacity battery chargers out there, but few as versatile as the MyCharge Peak 6000.
As its name implies, the rechargeable battery inside the unit is rated at 6,000mAh. That's around double -- or even triple -- the capacity of smaller, more pocket-friendly chargers, and the Peak 6000 is pretty beefy, weighing in at 8.5 ounces. While that size is a bit of a negative, the big positive here is the various connectors built into the unit as well as the option to recharge the Peak 6000 by simply plugging it into the wall. Along with an integrated Apple connector, there are a Micro-USB connector and a USB port for attaching any charging cable.
It's worth noting that the Apple connector is a bit wider than the official Apple connector that now ships with Apple portable devices. I had a little difficulty getting the connector into an iPhone that had a rugged case on it (the
You can charge up to three devices at once. For instance, I had an iPhone and a Bluetooth speaker hooked up to the battery at the same time. You can also charge an iPad and other tablets.
As I said, you can recharge this portable battery by simply flipping out the prongs on the bottom of the device and plugging them into the wall. The other recharging option is hooking the integrated USB connector up to the USB port on your computer.
As an added bonus, the Peak 6000 also talks to you, thanks to a built-in speaker. A female voice tells you that the unit is charging when you plug it into the wall. The voice also announces when you're charging a device. And finally, when you press the button to see how much battery power remains, it'll let you know just how full it is (the four LED lights will also tell you).
This type of bigger portable battery is meant to sit in a laptop bag and have around in case you need to juice up the various portable devices in your arsenal -- though, alas, it doesn't charge laptops. Smaller devices like the iPhone it will charge pretty quickly, while the iPad takes significantly longer. While it can almost fully charge an iPad 2, it will only get you to 50 percent on a new iPad (third-generation).
For reference, here are the battery capacities of some of Apple's recent devices:
Looking at these numbers, you can see that the Peak 6000 will fully charge the iPhone 4S and many other smartphones more than three times. And, as I said, you can charge multiple devices at one time, though that will obviously suck the life out of the Peak 6000 more quickly.
HoMedics, the company behind MyCharge, also sells an earlier version of this product, the
In all, I really liked the Peak 6000 and appreciated its versatility. That said, if you're thinking of getting the iPhone 5 or whatever Apple turns out to call its next-gen iPhone, you may want to wait before buying this because if Apple shifts to a smaller connector, the integrated Apple connector will lose some of its appeal. Apple will most likely offer an adapter you can use with its larger connector, but then you'd have to carry the adapter around with you. Or you could just get a more standard battery brick that doesn't have all the built-in connectors. Monoprice sells a no-frills 5,000mAh battery for around $30. At the higher end, you can also pick up the ruggedized Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Pro 6,000mAh. It retails for $130 but is dustproof and water-resistant.
Interestingly, when the MyCharge Peak 6000 first hit the market, I saw it selling for $65 online, which would make it a bargain. But it received some favorable reviews and the price jumped up to its list price of $99.99 (at the time of this writing, it seemed to be out of stock at Amazon). At that price, it's not a great deal, though it's also not grossly overpriced -- especially considering its versatility.