Accessory review: myCharge Peak 6000 portable power vault
The myCharge Peak 6000 is a portable spare battery for you and a couple of friends that is capable of charging the average smartphone several times before exhausting the 6000mAh rechargeable internal battery. With today’s wireless conditions, demanding smartphones, and Angry Birds Star Wars, your phone has most likely needed this at some point in the recent past to keep you talking, surfing, or throwing birds at pigs.
I reviewed its predecessor, the myCharge Power Bank back in March of this year, and although I liked that one and have used it these past six months, there were some issues I had with it at the outset, and subsequently in the later uses.
The myCharge Peak 6000 contains a battery that’s listed at three times the capacity of the HTC EVO 4G LTE, or a little over four times the capacity of an iPhone 5. Unfortunately, this does not translate into three and four charges for an EVO 4G LTE or iPhone 5 respectively due to conversion loss. You can expect to lose about 20% of juice any time you’re going from one battery into another battery.
The Peak 6000 adds the ability to fast charge the battery using built-in retractable wall-outlet prongs. The previous incarnation of this charger required a separate USB charging cable and could take up to 12 hours to charge from completely dead, although it could be charged off of a 1000mAh powered outlet in about six hours. The Peak 6000 does the same in under three hours from what I’ve observed when plugged into a wall socket. It can also be charged through USB if for some reason you want to slow charge it.
All charging cables that the 6000 comes with either snap, fold, or are magnetically held in place while you’re not using them, making this beast of a charger a little less imposing. Like the Power Bank, it’s a lot larger than it appears it needs to be. For the footprint of the case, I could fit about four Seidio 4000mAh batteries into the thing, and still be a bit lighter than it comes in. It’s also significantly larger than the phone; I’d really expect around 12,000-16,000 mAh out of this beast.
If you’ve got an iPhone or device that uses the old style connector, there’s a charging cable that puts out 2100mAh for fast charging of tablets and anything else that can take it. The USB and microUSB ports are limited to 1000mAh, but that’s not really a limit so much rather than a standard.
The Peak 6000 also adds something totally unnecessary, and potentially cool, depending on your view of things. It speaks to you, letting you know how things are going, with notes such as: “Now charging USB device,” or “Now charging Apple device.” It also can tell you verbally the status of the battery if, for some reason, you need to know and can’t look at the indicator lights.
I’m not a huge fan of the speech capabilities myself, as I like to be able to plug things in and not wake someone up with verbal notifications that the phone is now charging. The instructions that ship with the thing thankfully have a sound-modes page, explaining how to disable, change the language, etc. You’ll require a paperclip or something similar to press one of two buttons hidden underneath the Apple charging jack.
Speaking of Apple, the Peak 6000 can plug into any USB port and act as a pass-through for anything connected to the Apple connector. I’m not really sure how useful this is, since that the device can be plugged into a wall instead of requiring a USB charge, but there it is.
The way the Peak 6000 is laid out, you can charge three devices at once; however, it doesn’t seem to work all that great at three. Two USB charge at what I think is the highest rate they should, one iDevice can charge at 2.1mAh which is the best it should, and if you mix and match those, you seem to have a limit of 3.1mAh total, along with the ability to drain the device significantly faster than you’d expect (under two hours).
All in all, I like the Peak 6000. It’s a bit over-engineered, and has a few features that I consider useless (such as voice notifications), but overall the thing ends up being just kind of neat. In fact, I really dig this thing. If you’re looking for a charger to keep your loved one in touch, I don’t think they’ll dislike this one, and you could do much worse for a gift.
The myCharge Peak 6000 is available for $99.99 from myCharge.