Most of us have experienced it before - the annoying scenario where we find ourselves stranded with devices dead as a doorknob by mid-day. While carrying an extra battery for each individual device seems like a good idea, the additional costs and bulk accumulate and override the benefits. A portable battery charger like the Choiix Power Fort makes life a lot simpler and less frustrating, especially for people who are often on-the-go.
Physically, the Choiix Power Fort is relatively small, about the size of a portable external hard disk, making it extremely compact and easy to bring around. Right off the bat, you will see a round button situated at the bottom right corner. On pressing, the battery life indicator lights up, allowing you a glimpse at how much battery life is left. The device is extremely simple to use so there's no need to refer to any manual - simply plug in either the micro or mini-USB cables, and press the round button to commence charging.
An odd thing, but not necessarily a bad one, is that the Power Fort can double up as a flashlight. It's a dubious addition, but at least you know what to do if you ever need a torch. To fire up the lights, simply double click the same button. It is nice to also know that the charger comes with a comprehensive inventory of chargers (USB Car Charger, USB AC Wall Charger, and a suite of extensive adapters), and a set of mini and micro-USB cables, allowing users to charge their devices anytime and anywhere.
It took around 3 to 4 hours to charge the battery to its fullest. On a side note, the device also comes with two velvet pouches that look relatively trendy.
There are a few things that we appreciated about the gadget, but unfortunately, it is nothing new or groundbreaking. For starters, the Power Fort can be simultaneously charged while charging your devices. The box states that it can provide a rough estimation of an additional of 10 hours to a smartphone - which sounds pretty reasonable by our standards. On testing with a HTC Hero, the Power Fort powers it up to 100%, with just enough for another 50% extra. Impressive, since that adds up to a substantial amount of extended battery life.
However, the charger is only limited to usage with devices that have mini or micro USB ports. There are no suitable ports for laptops or netbooks; the Power Fort is a companion for the smaller gadgets in our bags like mobile phones, handheld consoles, MP3 players and Bluetooth headsets. Yes, it can charge your Apple products, but you have to keep in mind to bring the device-specific USB cables along.
The Choiix Power Fort is a worthy investment for anyone in need of that extra mileage, especially if you have many gadgets. It is compact, provides a reasonable amount of extra mileage for "heavyweights" like smartphones, and handheld consoles while providing multiple rounds of battery life for less energy sapping products like MP3 players.