When it comes to going out for a day and bringing my work with me, I prefer to travel light. A recently acquired canvas pack is perfect for my necessary gadgets and every day carry (EDC) items. As such, smart choices for weight and functionality is what keeps my bag from becoming overstuffed. How else am I supposed to bar hop like a creative, social butterfly?
Although my Samsung Galaxy Note 2 packs a nifty 3100mAh battery, I can chew through it quickly. I always carry at least one external battery pack with me. If I know I won’t be headed home until late (or at all) that same night, a wall adapter goes in my bag as well. It guarantees that my smartphone and/or battery will be charged up by morning. Since my Nomad ChargeKey is with my keys, a Micro USB cable is always on hand.
For gadget-charging solutions, Limefuel has quite the lineup of products to choose from. I’ve recently been using their 6000mAh external battery as well as their wall adapter. While one product met expectations, the other one fell a little short.
The Limefuel Blast L60X battery is probably my favorite of their bunch. It strikes a great balance between capacity and physical size. This battery packs enough energy to get even power-users through the day, yet is compact enough to carry comfortably. It has a nice hand-feel to it, and the flat black exterior mutes fingerprints. The material is the grippy, non-slip kind. You can slide this battery in and out of pockets with ease.
In terms of external battery pack design, the Limefuel L60X is about as basic as it gets. The battery features a single USB out, Micro USB in, and ‘flashlight’ all on the top end. The button on the side activates the power-indicating LEDs. It’s the standard 4-LED kind, where each light indicates an additional 25 percent threshold. When checking the LEDs, it helps to look at them directly. Angled glances, such as leaning back in a chair to look, can make more lights appear lit. So two LEDs might seem to be four or five.
As for the ‘flashlight’, it’s certainly better than nothing. The shape and design of the Limefuel L60X battery makes using its flashlight far more natural than most other battery packs with the same feature. The output of the flashlight is about what you’d get from a keychain light. It’s not bad for hunting items within a bag, but any smartphone with a flashlight app will fare much better.
One thing to note about the Limefuel L60X battery is that it’s very dense. You can tell the weight is surprising for the bulk. I tip my hat to the designers, who have made the best use of space inside. If you’re a minimalist like me, this aspect doesn’t go unnoticed. When packing light and lean, both volume and weight are important.
The included cable is a combination Micro USB and 30-pin that works very well. Compared to my best cables, this one is a watt shy of the rest. Still, a 7-9W range is really good, especially since quality cables aren’t always included with batteries. Most of the cables I own are good for less than half that amount.
At only 6000mAh, this battery is the leanest of its siblings, but sports the same features. The Limefuel L60X battery automatically detects and charges devices that are plugged in. When charging is done or the device has been disconnected, the battery shuts itself off. The green LEDs light up while there is an active charge going in or out. When it’s dark, you know that charging has completed. That’s it! Simple.
What’s also nice about this external battery pack is that it has overcurrent and overcharge protection. It’s smart enough to deliver the proper amount of amps desired by the device, not more. The Limefuel L60X also features passthrough charging, so you can charge both the battery and an attached device simultaneously. The power is split, naturally, so it takes a little extra time.
The input and output of the Limefuel L60X is 1.8A, which is good for just about everything except tablets. If you need that extra boost to cover your Google Nexus or Kindle Fire, you can always go for the larger Limefuel L130X, which packs 13000mAh of energy.
Note: Most external battery packs I’ve ever purchased and used came only partially charged, so I’ve always made it a habit to fully charge them before use. I tend to fully charge and discharge a new battery a few times, just so I can level out the charge states of the individual cells. It helps to maximize the battery’s manufacturer-listed potential.
The standard efficiency rating of external battery packs currently on the market is 70%. This means that 30% of the battery’s listed capacity is consumed while charging up devices. So, for example, a standard 1000mAh battery would effectively deliver 700mAh of energy.
After fully charging the Limefuel L60X right out of the box, I tested it out with my HTC Evo Shift 4G with the stock 1450mAh battery. The Limefuel delivered 352% total charge to the HTC battery.
The equivalent 5104mAh of energy puts the out-of-the-box efficiency at 85 percent. The efficiency stayed right around the 85 percent mark with each additional cycle. The lowest recorded measure was 81.8 percent and the highest peaked at 87.1 percent. Not bad at all.
So what can one do with 5104mAh of battery energy? That’s good for 1.6 full charges to a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (3100mAh) or 3.5 full charges to an Apple iPhone 5 (1440mAh). Just one Limefuel L60X can get a smartphone through an entire day of gadget fun.
The Limefuel wall charger plays nice with wall outlets and power strips alike. There are some dual USB wall chargers that are too wide, ending up taking two to three slots on a power strip. Other wall chargers can be too tall and monopolize both wall sockets. The Limefuel wall charger is shaped like a thinned cube and fits perfectly so other ports are free.
In a wall socket, the Limefuel charger’’s USB ports can either face up (ceiling) or down (floor). In order for the second socket space to be free, the charger has to occupy the top socket when facing up, or the bottom socket when facing down. While it doesn’t bother me, some may find this kind of orientation a nuisance. Others could possibly hate the green light that glows while the Limefuel charger is plugged in.
Folding prongs are smart, and they make this wall charger great to pack for travel. Maybe it’s a pet peeve of mine, but I can’t stand prongs that just stick out when they don’t have to. Too many wall chargers on the market fail to take that extra design step, which sets this Limefuel one apart.
The pair of USB ports output 5V at 2.4A each, max. This suits charging for basic devices up to and including tablets. When it came to testing the max output, the Limefuel wall charger is right up there with other quality brands, depending on connected device. My stock Samsung and Patriot wall chargers (included with the Patriot Gauntlet Node) beat it out by one to four watts, also depending on connected device. The Limefuel wall charger performed as well as my Anker one, though without the same consistency. The bonus with the Limefuel charger is the better shape and folding prongs, of course.
The Limefuel wall charger could be the perfect dual-USB solution, if it weren’t for one wild aspect. The output charging rates are finicky and/or device dependent. My Samsung and Patriot wall chargers are reliable and consistent. No matter the brand or type of device, they always deliver similar charging rates based off the input volts and amps. I’ve tested this with both a Practical Meter as well as the Battery Monitor Widget app.
I marked the time, volts, and amps for charging up 5W/2A external battery packs of differing brands. With my stock wall chargers, you couldn’t tell that the collected data was from more than one device unless I mentioned it. But with the Limefuel wall charger, the differences were clear. I tested over nine external batteries, five smartphones, and a handful of speakers and other gadgets. The results were glaringly inconsistent, and there was no pattern I could detect. The Limefuel wall charger has its own rules for charging out, which won’t please some people.
There are many and more external battery packs out there to choose from. But if you had to narrow down on a lightweight (under 8000mAh) that scores high for performance and size, you couldn’t do much better than the Limefuel L60X. It’s small, smart, and can deliver more than just ’emergency’ power. You can get a Limefuel Blast L60X battery for $30 on Amazon right now, which is an absolute deal. It’s probably my favorite one, simply because of the combination of capacity and size.
As much as I really want to love the Limefuel Wall Charger, I have to relegate it to my usable, misfit gadgets. While the design concept is smart, the functional execution can be selective. If you have only a few devices and/or don’t mind charging rates, it may not be so bad. I use it daily to charge stuff when time, rates, and/or efficient compatibility isn’t an issue. The shape is fantastic for powerstrips, but only so-so for wall sockets. Either way, it’s not so bad to own.