Monday, February 01, 2016

Review: Monster Mobile PowerCard For When You Need A Power Boost On The Go!

Cherry Red PowerCard

Every geek out there has faced the issue of needing a little extra power while on the go, but with all the power pack options out there it is often hard to decide which option best suites your needs. Honestly, there is no one good answer, and if I were to tell you otherwise I'd be lying! However, today we are going to offer one solution that we've recently had the chance to checkout and that is the Monster Mobile PowerCard Portable Battery v2.

Monster does power packs?

When most geeks think of Monster power and power packs are likely the last thing on our minds. In fact most people out there usually think of Monster as a cable supplier, thinking only of their expansive line of audio-related accessories; such as premium audio cables and headphones. However, they do offer a rather extensive line of additional accessories including, memory cards, screen cleaning supplies, portable Bluetooth speakers and yes portable batteries.

While the fact that Monster has power packs may come to a surprise to many, the fact is they actually have had several options available and on the market for some time now. The Monster PowerCard we are checking out today is just one of their newest offerings.

Monster PowerCard v2 At a Glance

The PowerCard is meant to offer users a quick boost of emergency power in an ultra-thin ultra portable package! Measuring just 3.438"L x 2.125"W x 0.25"H the PowerCard is about the size of a credit card, or as you can see from our photo below the size of a pack of Dentyne Ice gum and weighs about the same at only 1.6 oz.. This means it is perfect for guys or gals on the go as it will slip nicely into any shirt or pants pocket or even the smallest purses out there. You also have 5 color options, Cherry Red, Cobalt Blue, Silver, Black and a Lime Green.

According to Monster the PowerCard offers up to 5 hours of emergency power and features what is called, “No Waiting Technology”, which an is auto-sensing charging technology that detects exactly what speed your smartphone or USB device charges at and provides it instantaneously. The power pack offers 1.5 amps for a quicker charge and boasts charging times that are 3x times faster than standard USB chargers.

These numbers are pretty impressive when you consider the PowerCard only offers a 1,650 mAh Li-Polymer battery, a rather small capacity by today's standards for sure, still quite remarkable though when you consider the overall size of the package!

As with most portable battery packs there isn't much to the outside of the casing. You'll find a dedicated power button, microUSB port for charging, full-sized 1.5 amp USB port, and 3 blue lit LEDs. Pressing on the power button once turns on the LEDs to indicate how much juice is left, something we'll get into a bit later, while long pressing initiates the charging process.

Monster PowerCard v2 Our Testing and Review

Getting the basics out of the way we unpackaged our PowerCard and as with most geeks just jumped right in without reading the manual (not that it tells you much!). As per usual right out of the box you need to charge it first, we didn't check the indicator to see how dead it was but I wouldn't rush to the store expecting to get a full charge of emergency power right from the gate!

Aside from a very short manual you'll receive a short microUSB to USB cable for both charging the PowerCard and charging your device. In order to keep things compact the cable is about 5-6" long, if more length is needed then I suggest using your phones own USB cable.

When charging you'll notice the 3 blue LEDs flash and continue to do so until it obtains full charge. The manual says you can expect a full charge from a USB AC power adapter in about 2 hours or less, or from a standard notebook USB port in about 3.5 hours. We originally charged ours for about 30mins to a full charge and then a second time after testing and from what was completely drained it took about 45mins to charge.

Given that the battery only has a 1650 mAh capacity we figured it wouldn't make much sense to try to charge multiple devices, or even a single large capacity device to full charge. So we tested our PowerCard on our Samsung Galaxy S5 with its 2800 mAh battery. Since we figure most geeks are like us and only think to use their back-up power packs when they truly need them the most we decide we'd start charging our phone at around 10% battery, of course we could always just use the Ultra Power Saving Mode, but that just isn't as much fun!

With 10% battery on our Galaxy S5 we let the PowerCard charge for about 20mins. At that time it went totally dead which as first we thought might be due to over heating because it was very hot to the touch. Upon checking it appears as  though we had drained the battery completely. The PowerCard only managed to charge our Galaxy S5 to about 40%, so the actual charge capabilities would appear to be well below the 1650 mAh as advertised.

**Now whether or not the minimal charge was due to the phone being on despite there being no apps running or not we aren't sure at this time. We'd need to run through several charges under a few different scenarios to confirm the best options and how accurate these results are. Either way that is a bit disappointing, but would still be better than nothing in a pinch!**

Monster PowerCard v2 Pricing

The PowerCard starts at $29.95 when purchased directly from Monster. However, they are currently offering a great sale on the Cobalt Blue model at $11.99 (unsure when this ends). Looking around the web it appears as though you can find them pretty regularly for around $15 each, not a bad price for what you get in this small package!

While one could certainly argue that there are several other more budget friendly options out there, and of course for hardcore users there are definitely larger capacity packs that can be had, we were pleasantly surprised by what this little PowerCard could do.

The initial price tag and lower than expected output would definitely hold us back from giving this a strong rating and we didn't really care for the flashing LEDs as a method of checking capacity as it wasn't all that accurate and was a bit confusing. Despite all that we think the Monster PowerCard would make a nice addition to the arsenal, especially if you can snag one on-sale for $11.99. We'd give it a strong B- (or 2.5 stars) mainly because it is so portable and does come from Monster, a highly reputable company.

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