With a great design and strong compatibility, can this charger deliver better on battery life than its predecessors?
While the charger's Design is great, the squared off corners on the USB panel and the slight gap around the front panel are a little disappointing.
This is the best portable charger we have ever tested and should be strongly considered by anyone looking for a great charger.
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The UnPlugged charger is the best charger we have tested, with the best Value. The versatility introduced by the wide Compatibility and the long Battery Life with a very low power loss make this a great charger. Combine that with a retail price of $70, and you've got a great value. When you can catch it on sale, it becomes an even better deal.
The Design of the UnPlugged charger is simple and attractive. The body is a solid matte white, with the exception of the myCharge logo on the front and the rings to indicate the location of the Qi coil, both of which are printed in a medium grey. All of the corners are rounded, making it easy to carry in a pocket without fear of damaging the fabric.
The only exception is the USB panel on the bottom. While the bottom is mostly rounded, the panel that contains the USB ports has two squared off corners. For most users, the panel will likely be pointed upwards when using it, as it makes centering the Qi coil on your phones easier, and it exposes the USB ports for non-Qi devices. However, it does break with the otherwise focused and consistent design of the product.
The location of the battery test button and indicator is the only real issue with the product's design. Both the button and the indicator LEDs are on the same surface as the Qi charging coil, which means that you have to take your phone off the charger to test the remaining power for the battery. It would be more natural if the button and indicators were somewhere you could still use them while using the charger.
Our testing was twofold for this product. We ran both our official battery test, as well as a practical test. The battery is 12 amps, which means it should be able to charge an equivalent amount of battery power in other devices.
We took the UnPlugged charger to two different events where we were unlikely to have access to power during the day. In the case of the domestic event, the charger lasted all weekend, even while using GPS a lot. To test the longevity of the battery, we ran Pokemon GO during the majority of the weekend without issue. For the international event, the battery lasted more than a full day. The change in longevity came from increased battery usage when traveling abroad (phones are constantly searching for their correct signal). In both situations, however, there was never a scenario where keeping the phone running was impossible.
The battery on the phone lasted 6 hours and 15 minutes on a standard charge, using only the internal 1800 mAh battery. When combined with the UnPlugged charger (using Qi), the phone lasted an average of just under 34 hours. The additional 28 hours added to the lifespan represents a power loss of about 16%, which is far less than we have experienced with previous myCharge batteries running on USB. This loss is completely expected, as the Qi standard (or any wireless charging technology) is going to have inefficiency added by its nature. When running on USB, the power loss was under 5%, which is exactly what we expect from a direct connection.
The Build Quality of the UnPlugged charger is far above average. The body is almost entirely a single piece, save for a panel on the front. The body is made of textured plastic, making it fairly durable and also easy to hold without slipping. The texture also means that it will stay in a pocket without issue. You also don't have to worry about the incessant smudges that we have seen on previous shiny-body myCharge products, which is nice. The battery test button is flush with the front panel, making it difficult to accidentally press while in a backpack or laptop bag.
There are a couple of small manufacturing issues, however. The most prominent is the seam around the front panel. It is mostly flush with the body but does have a slight gap between the panel and the body, which lets in some dirt. Against a white body, a dark seam is unsightly and the trapped dirt could create problems for other items in a bag. The other problem with our unit is that the button is not entirely level. The top-right corner of the button is slightly exposed above the front panel, and that corner has begun to discolor because of additional contact.
In our testing, the UnPlugged charger worked exactly as expected in most situations. The only time we experienced any issues is when we tried to use the charger in a bag pocket that was larger than the charger itself. The phone stayed in place for the most part, but when it did shift, it would often time turn off the charger. This is a feature of the charger, designed to prevent the battery from running itself dead when there is nothing to be charged. However, in this particular case, there was a phone trying to charge and it had simply shifted for a few moments. That meant that we had to keep a constant eye on the charger to see if it was still functioning.
The Size & Weight of the charger is right in the expected range. The battery, which is 10A, is lighter than the company's 12A battery we tested a few years ago but is heavier than another 10A charger we tested. While it is heavier than the other 10A battery, it is important to remember that this product also includes a Qi coil, while the other one did not.
As for physical size, the UnPlugged charger is almost identical to the previous 10A charger, which is impressive considering it does include that additional coil. That could be attributed to the advancement of battery technology, or possibly to a better Design from myCharge.
The UnPlugged charger has the greatest Compatibility of any portable charger we have tested. It has 2 USB ports capable of 2.4 amps, meaning it will charge just about any device, including many tablets. The inclusion of the 2 ports also allows for charging devices which do not have wireless charging, which is definitely where this product shines. The included Qi charging coil runs at 2 amps, which is at the upper end of the standard. Between the Qi charging and the dual USB, nearly any mobile device can be powered from the battery. It also uses the standard USB micro-B port, which is the charging port you will find on most devices today (though it is quickly being replaced by USB C). While it includes a cable for charging, most people will likely have one or more of them already.