Traveling with a power-hungry mobile device can be a nerve wracking experience. Even practicing conservative power usage by powering down during non-use times, reducing screen brightness, or switching off unnecessary services, you can still find yourself running dangerously low on power during a time when you may need your mobile device most. Depending on where you’re going, chances to charge may be few and far between.
I’ll use my own experience of covering a trade show with my T-Mobile G1. The G1 is a very capable device, but it uses quite a bit of power if you have it going full-bore all the time. I flew from Detroit to Denver, and then from Denver to LA. While in the air, I had my phone in airplane mode, and combined time on the ground at airports was about five hours. Once I got to LAX, I had to coordinate with another friend to arrange pickup, and my phone was starting to get a bit low. It’s a good thing, then, that I had a fully charged FSP Ion with me.
The FSP Ion is about the size of a deck of playing cards, but a half of the thickness. It has a black rubberized coating, a tiny port for the business end of things, and a very short USB connector that snaps in to be flush with the chassis so that it’s out of the way. You charge the Ion by plugging it into a PC (or any device that can provide +5V to the USB ports). Once it is charged, it’s basically a reserve tank for your mobile device. The Ion comes with two adapters: one for iPod devices (iTouch, iPhone, etc.) and one with a female USB jack so that you can adapt it to whatever 5v charging connector you need.
The Ion takes about 3 hours to fully charge from empty. You are presented with a bank of blue lights on the front, and when they fill up, the top one turns green to indicate that the Ion is fully charged.
With the Ion, I was able to get two days’ worth of charge for my G1, while covering E3. I was at the conference center for the bulk of each day, and at no point did I need to plug in my regular charging cord; I just hooked it up to the Ion while I was walking the show floor, or to and from the hotel, or while I ate. I tried to make sure that at any point I wasn’t using my phone it was plugged in to the Ion. Using this method, I was able to have a fully charged phone for the entire week.
At one point, one of my travelling companions (who also has a G1) said: “I’m jealous.”
There is really no mystery to the Ion; it is a battery pack, plain and simple. However, if you travel it can be a very important piece of your kit. The fact that it is small, sleek, attractive, and unobtrusive makes it all the more appealing.