Powertraveller brings new ways to charge

Written by Brett Thomas

January 8, 2008 | 19:05

Tags: #battery #charger #gorilla #laptop

Companies: #solar

There's been a huge push across the world to go greener. There's also been a huge push for better battery life, longer power and better ways to carry it all on the go. All this makes for a tough balance when users are carrying more and more devices that use more and more power, often charging in more and more ways.

Enter Powertraveller, a UK-based company intent on making a difference in how we carry power. Powertraveller has focused on designing batteries that can store actually useful amounts of power, while finding greener ways to make both the devices and the power that they store.

The PowerMonkey and PowerChimp are the company's current-generation products, which are designed to bring convenience to the multi-device traveller. Do you carry a PSP or DS, an iPod or Sansa and a cell phone? Tired of carrying adapters for each one? Even more tired of your battery running out halfway through? That's exactly what these are for.

PowerMonkey is a power storage device that's capable of holding at least two full charges of most any 5v device such as a cell phone, DS or PSP. The monkey plugs into the device via a set of included adaptors (more available separately if yours isn't supported out of the box), and there you have it - instant recharge.

However, the real benefit comes in how you can charge the monkey - the key to the design is that it can convert different sources of power to other devices - so you can feed it from USB, mains power or a solar charger for completely green and on-the-go power. The solar cells are specially designed by the company for a much higher wattage output than current cells, allowing you to recharge even in a well-lit room in a fairly short amount of time. The stored power has a fall-off of about 40% over twelve months, meaning you can throw one in your car or pack and not worry about it being dead the next time you go to use it.

The PowerMonkey is fully waterproof/dustproof and built like a rock, so it's not going to mind being thrown in your bag on the way out the door or getting knocked around (quite a lot). It's also built in with an under-/over- voltage protection, so your devices aren't going to get fried the way some of the cheaper models have done. In fact, it's the only charger that's earned the seal of approval from Apple for the iPod.

For the basic mains charging and a few common tips, you can buy the monkey for around $60 USD or £34.99 inc. VAT. Or, you can go the eXplorer route, which includes the PowerMonkey, SolarMonkey for solar charging, a large variety of tips, and a full line of power adapters for the mains power so you can charge up anywhere in the world - this product is $129 in the states or £65 inc. VAT in the UK.

PowerTraveller's biggest announcement, however, came in the form of a laptop version that will store between two and three full charges for most laptops. Tired of short worktime on a plane? Sick of having to take a 7-13" screen everywhere just to get some better battery life? The PowerGorilla will make it like you're carrying two spare batteries with you - all whilst being able to also charge all your 5v devices, just like the PowerMonkey. You can get an idea of the dimensions below and the final version weighs about one pound and is only about 15mm thick, so the device is incredibly portable.

The PowerGorilla will be hitting stores like Fry's in February, with a solar-power enabled version coming shortly thereafter. Expect it to retail for about $200 USD (100 quid) - but final prices have yet to be determined. It will support all major brands of laptop and can charge directly from your lappy's normal charging cord - even the Apple mag cords - so you don't need to bring yet another plug.

As a side note, all of the PowerTraveller line is manufactured to be incredibly rugged (designed for the rather extreme travel of its lead designer Jerry, who actually goes on safari quite often), incredibly green, and a portion of all sales go to assist the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation.

Having used the PowerMonkey the past couple days here, I have to say that it's something I would highly recommend to anyone with more than one device on the go. I can only say that I'm going to be following this quite closely personally, because the idea of the solar PowerGorilla for my laptop is simply too good to be true. Turn my three hour battery into ten for nothing but letting the unit sit in the sun for a few hours? I'd be stupid not to...

Do you have a thought on the PowerTraveller lineup? How about on green, portable power in general? Let us know if this is up your alley in our forums.

Left - The PowerGorilla will power your laptop (and all your other stuff) at least twice, but you can see it's not very large when compared to an iPhone for reference.
Right - The PowerMonkey eXplorer is shown charging my iPhone. The solar cell detatches and the actual PowerMonkey (blue tube) is all that you need on the go.

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