The Ultimate Accessory? Proporta USB Mobile Device Charger

Current mobile devices are technological wonders being able to do anything and everything, but when it comes to power, the situation hasn’t improved as much as I would like and in some cases it seems to have gotten worse. Remember those mobile phones with the black and white screen that could only send text messages? Those things could go days without charging and the talk time was impressive to say the least.

Those basic phones have made way for devices that are in fact tiny computers with a phone slapped on the back, but sadly most of these devices cannot go an entire day without charging and for us power users it’s even worse, sometimes requiring several charges a day! So when I found out about the Proporta USB Mobile Device Charger I was eager to give it try as it seemed to be the solution to my charging problems, but how does this compare to just buying a car charger or a second battery? While the Proporta Charger was one of the first mobile chargers many alternatives have followed, how does it compare to these. How many charges could it hold? How practical is it? I’ve used the device for a few months and here are my findings…. USB Mobile Device Charger Features:

* Charge anywhere, recharge anything – standard USB input and output
* Comes with USB to Mini USB cable, and a retractable cable which is compatible with the following inter-changeable connector heads: 2 x Nokia, 1 x Sony Ericsson, 1 x iPod
* Compact, slim and lightweight (measures just 100 x 62 x 15mm or 3.9 x 2.4 x 0.6 inches and weighs 120g or 4.2 oz)
* Impressive 3400 mAH storage (recharge your devices several times)
* Powerful 5v, 700mA output (enough for even the most power-hungry mobile devices)
* Environmentally friendly (rechargeable)
* LED charge and discharge indicator
* Microswitch on/off selection

The USB Mobile Device Charger
The Proporta USB Mobile Device Charger is a portable USB Rechargeable Battery that allows you to recharge it from any standard USB port. When it’s done it allows you to charge your various mobile devices while on the go. The

The Proporta USB Mobile Device Charger
The Proporta USB Mobile Device Charger (Mobile Charger) is basically an external rechargeable Lithium-ion battery that holds 3400mAh of power. The idea behind the product is simple: charge your devices when you’re on the go using the Mobile Charger and recharge the unit itself via any standard USB port. The device itself is pretty lightweight and compact measuring just 100 x 62 x 15mm or 3.9 x 2.4 x 0.6 inches and weighs 120g or 4.2 oz, small enough to fit in a purse or pocket. The device is done in a shiny white color and due to the similar dimensions it might fool others into thinking that you’re carrying an IPod. The Mobile Charger has this thin rectangle casing with rounded edges. Save for a few sectional lines indicating where the different parts come together, the unit is clean and simple and I find it to look quite good. No problems with the white, but I wish Proporta would make a black version to match most of my gadgets that come in black. Let’s have a look around the unit and see what we can find. The front is pretty simple with the Proporta logo painted on the front and a button/LED light combo. The built-in light is a multi-purpose solution informing you when the unit is full or not and when it’s recharging itself or any of your gadgets. While the LED does tell you when the charger will need a recharge, it doesn’t say how much remaining juice it has. Having 4-5 small LEDs lights indicating the amount of power left would have been much more informative: you would have all LED lights ON indicating that the charger is full and only one indicating when it’s almost completely drained. Maybe they can even add a small LED display indicating the percentage of power left, that screen could also stay ‘charging’ or ‘recharging.’ While I do believe that the current solution is great because of its simplicity and the fact that is has less of a toll on the battery, I do believe that a small LED display would be a viable option as advancements in power handling would make the toll of the screen on the Mobile Charger less dramatic. Besides that, having a screen that tells you the amount of power left is really handy. These two solutions are things Proporta should look into when designing the next version of the mobile charger.

The button is used to start the charging process once a device is connected to the Mobile Charger. The sides are clean and rounded of, just the way it should be. The back is totally clean, save for a Proporta sticker with the necessary info about the capacity, model number and warnings. The only thing we can find on the top is a hook and on the bottom you’ll find the OUT-port (Full-size USB) used to charge your mobile gadget and the IN-port (miniUSB) used to recharge the Mobile Charger. The Mobile Charger is also known as the M-UPS-D6+, but I guess that won’t be the most popular name around so I’ll stick with the ‘Mobile Charger’ name :). There are actually two versions of the Mobile Charger, the regular one that comes with a USB to miniUSB cable, and a retractable cable which can connect to inter-changeable (and included) connector heads for Nokia , Sony Ericsson and iPod. I’m also happy to report that it supports the older Nokia connector and the newer and thinner connector. That model retails for $ 44.95. At this price, the Mobile Charger is a steal considering that most genuine batteries cost in the range of 30-50 dollars. The other version of the Mobile Charger comes with everything included in the basic model, but adds the ability to charge the Mobile Charger through AC power or car cigarette lighter for about $ 58.95. These extra charging options are made possible by the inclusion of the Proporta Car Power Supply with USB Socket ($8.95) and AC Travel Charger with USB Socket ($18.95). If you start to add these up you would see that the high-end model of the Mobile Charger is another good deal. Personally I would suggest getting the top-end model as it has the benefits of car charger plus it allows you to charge from any wall outlet.

The casing for the Mobile Charger seems to be made from a durable material that I think should be able to withstand a few drops (and the unit seems to have been well-assembled with no loose or moving parts. The only complaint I have here is the hook on top. It’s a very convenient detail that can also rotate, but if you try to move it sideways with your finger it will wobble jus lightly, something that I’m sure it’s not supposed to be doing. When it comes to the unit itself I must say that it’s very well build and assembled with no complaints here except for a small one: the hook on top. But the defining characteristic of the Mobile Charger is its simplicity which to me is a big plus. I do hope however that Proporta comes out with a black unit and more LED lights to more accurately indicate the amount of power left.

Daily usage
The unit comes pre-charged to around 50 to 75% so it can be used straight out of the box. Simplicity defines the unit’s design and as I found it’s also the word I would use to describe using the Mobile Charger. The packages comes with a retractable power cable that on one end has a standard USB connector and on the other side it allows you to fit inter-changeable connector heads to fit the device being charged. All you need to do is connect the USB end to the Mobile Charger’s ‘OUT-port’, connect the other hand to the device that needs to be charged and press the button on the charger and the device starts to charge. It’s that simple! If you have a device that can be charged via USB, that can also be done. If the Mobile Charger has enough juice, the LED will light up green and if it’s running low it will light up red, indicating that a recharge is necessary. When your gadget is fully charged you simply disconnect it and you’re done. The entire process of charging is effortless and is similar to just connecting your devices to an AC adapter. The only difference is that you don’t have to be to a fixed power source. The Mobile Charger has no power switch and will simply turn off by itself in about 1 minute after you’ve disconnected your device.

For a few months I had been using the Proporta Mobile Charger with my Nokia N95 and now the N95 8GB and from my experience I can squeeze about 3.5 charges out of it, which is very impressive. As I mentioned at the start of the review I have several devices that cannot go an entire day without charging and the Nokia N95 is one those devices. I could instead get a car charger or extra battery, but from my experience I find the Mobile Charger to be a much more convenient alternative. While car chargers are pretty cheap nowadays, you’ll have to be in your car during the recharge process which can take a while if your battery is completely drained. What happens if I reach my destination and I don’t have time to wait for a complete recharge? With car chargers this usually means getting out of the car and interrupting the charging process and hoping that the battery last for the period you’re not near your vehicle. With the Mobile Charger I could just hook it up to the phone and leave it in my pocket as it charges. The fact that you don’t have be near any power source means that it’s perfect for the beach or camping trips. A few months ago I remember I went on a trip where the Mobile Charger proved to be quite a life-saver. I was able to use my phone as an MP3 player (in offline mode) and still keep it kicking during the entire flight by charging it with the Mobile Charger. As I forgot to bring my phone’s charger along I was able my phones a few times with the Mobile Charger and when the Charger itself needed some juice I could just hook it up to my laptop for a quick recharge. I could buy a second battery which in most cases is about the same price as the Mobile Charger, but the battery itself will need a recharge after some usage, while with the Mobile Charger I could actually do 2-4 charges depending on the device. One thing I would like them to fix though is the slow recharging times as the Mobile Charger will take about 3-4 hours after a complete discharge. I know that after a charge up it can recharge your device several times, but you can definitely forget about quickly recharging the unit in less than an hour. If they manage to bring the recharge time of the unit to about an hour I would be very happy.

The competition
One of the best ways to truly test a product is to see how it stacks up against the competition. When it comes to mobile chargers there are currently two types of devices, those that use a built-in battery and others that use either AAA or AA batteries. We can argue that using AAA or AA batteries is convenient because you can step into any local store and buy these batteries for cheap prices, but once you think about buying batteries will add to the price in the long run and not to mention in this day and age that they are an irresponsible purchase just for the fact that they are not the most environmentally friendly alternative. This is the case of for example the Nokia Extra Power DC-8 or Energizer Energi To Go. That’s why having a unit with a built-in battery will eliminate the need to buy batteries making them a much more environmentally friendly choice. That’s why I decided to put the Proporta against one of the offerings from Nokia: the Power Pack DC-1. The Proporta is available in prices ranging from 40-50+ dollars while the Nokia comes in at a hefty 90-100 dollars, about twice as much as the Proporta. Even though it costs twice as much the Proporta it doesn’t come with the extras to charge other devices like your IPod or digital camera. The Nokia has a slightly less power coming in at 2850 mAh, while the Proporta has a bit more at 3400mAh.

The Proporta USB Mobile Device Charger is simple in design and in usage. The unit looks stylish and is well-built. Due to its built-in 3400mAh battery you can get about 3-4 charges out of your average high performance Smartphone like let’s say the Nokia N95. The device is ultra convenient allowing you to charge the device on the go for a pretty good price that isn’t far from buying extra batteries. This has got to be one of the most useful accessories I’ve come across and should be a must-have for anyone with any sort of mobile gadget. The Mobile Charger is almost perfect requiring only a faster recharge and a fix for the wobbly hook. It would be nice if they could make a way to inform the user a bit more about how much charging juice the device has left and maybe they should consider making a black version. In the end the Proporta Mobile Charger came close to perfect earning a well-deserved 9.9 out 10.

-Compact and Lightweight
-Easy to use
-Well-build and durable l
-Simple design
-Turns of by itself
-Gets 2-3 charges out of your average devices
-Great Value at 40-50 dollars

-Wobbly Hook
-Full charging is a bit slow at 3-4hours.

-Black color
-Several LED to more accurately indicate the remaining
-power or LED screen

Written by Devin