Battery life continues to be the one big drawback for iPhones and Smartphones. On an average day streaming content and making calls, I usually need to recharge at least once. In the Outdoors, that’s not always easy. Yet more and more we’re using iPhone and Smartphone Apps and GPS signals on our adventures. For multi-day treks or expeditions, I carry solar power. But for shorter day or overnight hikes, or even in urban areas where electrical sockets aren’t handy, I’ve been using the Etón BoostBloc.
Etón’s BoostBloc is essentially a series of rechargeable battery packs. The smallest, and in my opinion, most convenient, is the BoostBloc 2000. It’s shaped like a small cube about 4 cm (less than 2 inches) in width, length and height, and weighs only 63.5 grams (2.2 oz). The BoostBloc is equipped with a USB output port to charge iPhones, Smartphones, or even Digital Cameras, as well as a Micro-USB DC input port for recharging the unit. Inside the cube is a 2000mAh lithium ion polymer battery that will charge an iPhone or Smartphone once completely. In tests we conducted with an iPhone 4, charge times took about 1 minute for every 1% of charge – slightly faster at the beginning of the charging cycle, slower as the charge increased.
Besides the BoostBloc 2000, the series also includes the BoostBloc 4000 and BoostBloc 6600. The BoostBloc 4000 is a replica of the BoostBloc 2000, but gives you two charges of an iPhone or Smartphone, not one. It’s slightly shorter, but wider and longer, weighs 105 grams (3.7 oz), and has the same set of USB ports. The BoostBloc 6600 changes the game, however, by adding an extra USB port, allowing you to charge two Smartphones at the same time. The 6600mAh battery is also strong enough to charge a Tablet.
On top of the BoostBloc series, Etón also has the BoostTurbine 1000 and 2000, which work by turning a hand crank to generate power. These are a little heavier at 181 grams (6.4 oz) and 198 grams (7.0 oz) respectively, but will give you enough power in about 60-90 seconds of cranking to make a 30-second emergency call or send several texts.
Based in California, Etón has made a name for itself creating solar-powered sound systems and weather alert radios and has worked with the American and Canadian Red Cross for emergency preparedness products. Etón does not yet have an official distributor in Australia or New Zealand, but products like the BoostBloc can be found online on sites such a e-bay.
Featured Photos: Etón Media Images