If you need portable power and don't want to spend a fortune, then you should take a closer look at Satechi's US$60 Portable Energy Station 10000. The portable charging unit packs a high-capacity 10,000 mAh battery with 2A output that'll charge an iPad and an iPhone at the same time.
The Satechi Portable Energy Station 10000 has a long, rectangular shape with glossy black surfaces and aluminum trim on the sides. It's not pocketable, but does fit in a purse, small bag or briefcase. The Portable Energy Station 10000 includes two USB ports on the side of the device, so you can charge two devices at once.
The sides are also home to a mini-USB charging port that is used to recharge the power pack and a single power button that you can use to turn off the battery when you are not using it. On the front of the device are five, blue-colored LEDs that tell you the charge status of the battery. The LEDs are bright enough for you to see, but subtle enough that you can use the device on your desk and not be distracted by the blue flash.
The build quality of the Portable Energy Station 10000 is decent for the price. It does feel plasticky in your hand, but it's a hard plastic that doesn't creak or bend when you touch it. The device also has some heft thanks to the robust battery inside, but it won't weigh you down. The aluminum fared pretty well in my testing, but the black glossy surfaces scratched easily. I wasn't harsh with the device, but I did use it in my car, at my desk and carried it in the main compartment of my Maxpedition bag when I was out and about. After about a week of using it regularly, the device had a fair number of scratches.
The Satechi is a portable power station and includes two USB ports to power your device. One of those ports delivers a standard 1A output that'll charge your iPhone or iPod touch. The other port delivers 2A and will charge an iPad. If you have both an iPad and iPhone, you can charge both at once.
Charge times for devices were acceptable, with a fully discharged iPad 3 reaching a full charge in about eight hours. The iPhone 4S also took a little over two hours to charge from a fully discharged state to 100 percent. When you have two devices connected, charge times were slower, but the convenience of being able to charge two devices at once outweighs the slight increase in charge time.
The Satechi was also excellent at letting you use your device while charging. With both the iPhone 4S and the iPad 3, I was able to trickle charge my iOS device while using WiFi, GPS, a web browser and a music player. Depending on your usage, the Satechi also lasted for several charge cycles. One more than one occasion, I charged my iPad to an acceptable level and then handed the Satechi to my husband who used it to charge his iPhone while he was away for the morning. When he returned, I could then finish off the iPad charge cycle and still have 20 percent left on the power pack. Once the Satechi's battery is depleted, it takes several hours to recharge the internal 10,000 mAh battery.
One useful feature of the Portable Energy Station 10000 is the LED charging meter on the front of the device. The meter includes five blue LEDS and each LED is equal to 20 percent battery capacity. When the Satechi is charging a device, the lights will flash in a pattern that shows you the battery pack is on and charging.
The Portable Energy Station 10000 also flashes the current battery capacity, so you know if it is full (all five LEDs) or almost empty (one LED). Though useful, the power status of the Satechi was sometimes difficult to read as the light from one of the blue LEDs would bleed over into the next one. You don't notice the bleed over when the power pack is at full or near full capacity. When the power pack drained to 20 percent, though, you had to look closely to confirm it was just one and not two lights flashing.
You can tap the power button and it will pause the charge and show the current battery capacity. Tap the button again and the charging will continue. The power button also lets you turn off the Satechi, which is useful for maintaining the charge state of the power pack. In my testing, I could power off the Satechi for over a week and it held its charge.
The Portable Energy Station 10000 works with iOS devices as well as other mainstream phones and tablets. The Portable Energy Station 10000 comes with a USB cable and USB wall adapter that you use to recharge the power pack. This cable has replaceable ends and can be used to charge devices when it is plugged into the Energy Station 10000. The package ships with six charging tips including a 30-pin connector, mini-USB and micro-USB. There's also a soft bag that'll hold the charger and its accessories.
Satechi's Portable Energy Station 10000 is an excellent addition to a traveler's arsenal of gadgets. It's not too bulky and delivers an impressive amount of power for charging multiple devices. It will save your hide when you need a quick charge while you are out and about. It's also perfect for trips which require you to be away from a power source for an extended period of time.
The Portable Energy Station 10000 fits easily in a bag, charges your iPhone and iPad at the same time and includes charging tips for other devices. It also lasts a long time and holds its charge over time, so you can charge a device multiple times before you have to recharge the power pack.
In my usage, the surfaces of the Portable Energy Station 10000 scratched easily. The power status of the Satechi was sometimes difficult to read as the light from one of the blue LEDs would bleed over into the next one.
Who is it for?
iPhone and iPad owners who travel or work in the field and need a reliable power source wherever they go.