Our smartphones, tablets, and other gadgets have turned us into junkies. Dependent on power, we’re constantly looking for an outlet, so it stands to reason more and more devices need to be capable of powering our other devices. id America’s L.E.D portable charger combines three bright white LEDs with a comparatively enormous rechargeable battery, so you can juice up your devices and shed some light on your life at the same time.
I’ll admit it; my fist question when I heard of the L.E.D was, “Where would I ever use that?” Portable power banks are one thing, but a battery powered light and a recharger in one? After spending a couple weeks with the L.E.D around my house, though, I now look at mere portable batteries and wonder why I was ever okay with just a one trick pony.
The L.E.D is not super portable, like some battery packs, but it definitely is movable. If you absolutely need an extra battery every day to keep your iPhone alive during extended use, it’s not likely to be the battery pack you need. I found the L.E.D to be useful around the house or the office, where I could use it as a small, portable source of light: at my desk, in the garage, or the kitchen. Its magnetic back lets you mount it easily on kitchen appliances, desk furniture, and table legs. I require both light and an iDevice virtually everywhere I go, so a portable light that can also keep my iPhone’s battery topped up makes more sense than I’d originally thought.
id America’s put a great deal of thought into designing the L.E.D, and it’s apparent from the moment you pick it up. The beveled edges and lightly textured metal casing just feel good in your hands, and the massive battery lends a weight that’s reminiscent of the iPhone 4′s heavier-than-expected heft. The internal battery is rated at 5,200 mAh, which is enough to charge your iPhone more than twice (current rumors point to a 2100 mAh battery for the iPhone 6, so this should even be able to handle future devices!).
The LED covers are white plastic, and the light is bluish, bright, and directional. There’s an included docking station which lets you charge and stand the unit upright as a table lamp, though you can also plug a Micro USB cable directly into the bottom to charge. The base is a simple plastic affair that’s a little finicky to plug into, so I found myself preferring the cable only method. A red light on the base of the L.E.D itself lights up while the battery is charging, and switches to blue when it’s finished.
id America has built in some impressively robust and smart circuitry for charging, so the L.E.D portable charger is capable of outputting 5V/2 Amps, which provides you enough oomph to effectively charge an iPad rather than a mere trickle charge from lower-power batteries. With larger batteries, these devices will charge quickly but not fully. I was able to get from 2% to between 40-50% charge on my iPad Mini, which is enough to get me through a full 10 hours of Netflix watching at full brightness.
Tap Three Times
Speaking of those lights, one of the coolest things about the L.E.D is its touch sensitive light controller. Tap once on the top end for a dim white light, twice for a flashlight level, and three times for a small desk lamp level of light output. There’s also a slider on-off switch that controls the light and charging output, so you can save the battery if you’re packing the L.E.D away in a bag. Down on the bottom of the device is the Micro USB port and a full sized USB port for power input and output, respectively. Charging an iDevice is as simple as plugging in a USB cable.
Although id America’s marketing material show the light in use for a romantic wine and cheese, the color and intensity don’t really lend themselves to such a use. I found the light to be most useful in utility situations where being able to see is more important that subtle mood lighting. The light is bright enough for daily use as a desk lamp, and the large battery would also make it useful in an emergency situation. Light and iDevice recharging abilities make a pretty convenient combination.
As other reviewers have noted, the L.E.D portable charger does emit a slight high-pitched whine when used on the two lowest settings. I was only able to hear it when holding the unit right next to my head, so this shouldn’t be a problem unless you’re using it in close quarters.
At 5.4 oz. the L.E.D is hardly enormous, but if all you need is one extra charge to get you through the day on your iPhone, there are smaller and lighter external batteries and battery cases available. None of them, however, provide the same level of style and illumination. For the price, id America’s L.E.D portable charger is a shining winner.
Provides: Dimmable LED lighting and portable battery for iDevices
Developer: id America
Minimum Requirements: Any USB-powered device, including iPhone, iPad, cameras, etc.