In this day and age, we are inundated with gadgets. Cellphones, PDAs, MP3 players, portable game consoles, digital cameras Ė itís more than likely that everyone you know has at least one of these devices. And while battery technology has also progressed, itís not quite to the point where a single charge will last for weeks or even days. Youíll usually get a few hours of use, if youíre lucky. This may not be too troublesome when youíre at home, but if you travel a lot, it can become a nuisance. In order to provide some relief for this problem, APC (American Power Conversion) has come out with the APC Mobile Power Pack (Model: UPB10).
In basic terms, the MPP is a rechargeable battery pack. What makes the MPP special, however, is its slim, lightweight design. Weighing only 3.2 ounces and around the size of a deck of playing cards, the MPP easily fits into your pocket. And with its Lithium Polymer battery technology, it provides up to 8 Watts of continuous power (10 Watts peak power). This translates into the following additional run time on top of your deviceís current run time:
- iPod Nano/Flash MP3 players (playing music) -- 55 hours
- iPod Video/HDD MP3 players (playing movies) -- 10 hours
- RazR V3/Mobile phones (talk time) -- 10 hours
- Blackberry/Treo (email and talk time) -- 9 hours
- Sony PSP (playing time) -- 5 hours
Included in the package is the MPP, a USB Mini-B cable, a short but informative userís manual (provided as a single foldout sheet), and a 5-Volt, 1-Amp AC to USB power adapter. Any device that can be powered via a USB cable can be powered by the MPP. To power or charge a device, you simply plug your deviceís USB power cable into the Serial ďAĒ USB Powering Port on the MPP and press the Status button. APC also sells their own line of USB charging cables (mobilecomputing.apc.com), but unless you have some kind of compatibility problem with your existing cable, an extra purchase shouldnít be necessary.
To charge the MPP, just connect the included adapter to the Mini-B USB Charging Port via the included USB Mini-B cable. You can even power or charge your device while simultaneously charging the MPP. Of course, this kind of defeats the purpose of the MPP, but itís nice to have this option. Typical charge time for the MPP is 3.5 hours. Four sequentially lighted LED indicators provide charging status. These indicators can also be checked any time youíre using the MPP by pressing the Status button. Operation doesnít get any simpler than this.
At $70, the MPP might seem a bit expensive, but you can normally find it for a lower price at many retailers. Most people will agree that the cost is well worth the extra run time the MPP provides. I have personally enjoyed using the MPP with my pocket camera. Now when the battery in my camera starts to get low when Iím on the road, I simply plug it into the MPP. No need to carry a large adapter. I just carry my camera, its USB cable, and the MPP. I can easily hold all three in a couple of my pockets and donít feel any extra weight. Whenever I go on a short trip without my laptop, the MPP easily fills my power needs. Need extra power for your portable, USB-powered electronics? I highly recommend the APC Mobile Power Pack.