Accessories Reviews

XtremeMac InCharge Portable

Our iPhones and other portable gadgets require a lot of power to keep them running. The iPhone’s legendary battery life could still use a good boost if you’re consistently uploading Twitter pics and recording audio for those Macworld Expo interviews, and even that old BlackBerry you still keep around could use  a lift. Back in the hotel, wouldn’t it be nice if you and a friend could share an outlet to charge your USB powered gadgets while cameras and other recording tools create a rat’s nest of wires to your Mac? XtremeMac’s InCharge Portable provides a duo of USB ports that are ready to charge your gadgets, but even better is the trick up its sleeve.

If there’s one thing XtremeMac are pros at, it’s charging your iOS devices with their army of chargers and docks that ensure you’ll always be running at 100% capacity. This is especially true for the InCharge Portable, which is a hybrid battery and wall charger that can charge two USB powered devices at a time. It can’t charge the iPad thanks to its high draw, but my Motorola Droid, digital camera, and iPod touch were fair game. The amazing thing is that even off the battery alone, you can simultaneously charge two iPhones. The 2200 mAh battery is able to hold a charge for roughly four hours in my tests, giving you plenty of time to charge up a single device or partially two devices. Charging is as advertised, much faster than charging from my MacBook’s USB port, juicing my Motorola Droid in two hours (comparable to what I get from the wall). It’s very impressive, and it’s something I’d always want to have with me in a messenger bag or backpack. When plugged into the wall, the XtremeMac will recharge its own internal battery while feeding your USB devices.
The InCharge Portable has a glossy black plastic front and a dark grey matte plastic back which is a traditional color scheme in XtremeMac products. The glossy black front is a finger print magnet, but that’s nothing that can’t be quickly cleaned with a quick rub on your t-shirt. A single button and the XtremeMac logo are the only things you’ll find on the front of the charger, with a port for a wall adapter and a viewing slide on the rear.
Pressing the button will reveal five orange LEDs from underneath the black shell, which is both old school and classy. If you hold the button, the InCharge Portable will enable the battery so you can use it as a portable charger. Holding the button again will turn it off, preventing accidental waste. When plugged into the wall, the indicator lights will refill (similar to the MacBooks), letting you know how much charge the battery has remaining before full. My review unit came charged, so I can only presume retail units will have a charged (or partially charged) battery out of the box as well.
A separate adapter is needed to plug into the back of the charger so you can plug it into a wall, and it’s the one gripe I have about the InCharge Portable. I’m afraid I’d eventually lose the adapter as it isn’t built in, but it’s a small inconvenience provided how long the internal battery lasts. While there is a viewing slide, it’s only useful if the charger is lying down on a table. I could see it being used on an airplane when you wanted to simultaneously charge your iPhone and watch a movie, but the slide itself doesn’t have any special qualities tosecure your devices in place.
The XtremeMac InChrage Portable will charge your devices tethered or untethered from the nearest outlet, and I was blown away by how long (and quickly) battery power alone refills your valuable gadgets. Available from XtremeMac for $79.99, the InCharge Portable is a solid companion for any iPhone slinging event journalist or traveler.