Text and photos by Simon Cohen
The Intocircuit Power Bank has enough capacity to recharge an iPhone 6 just over 8 times, or a GoPro Hero 4 just over 12 times. Heck, you could even extend the operational life of your iPad Air 2 by another 20 hours or so, assuming you started with a full charge.
Power! Need MOAR Power! It sounds silly, but the reality is, with all of the digital devices we tote around with us every day, running low on power has become a fairly constant concern for a lot of us. Especially frequent travellers who find themselves far from handy wall outlets for the better part of their day.
These road warriors are already familiar with the endless parade of smartphone power packs that are typically integrated into some kind of hard-shell phone case, with Mophie being the most well-known brand (at least for iPhone owners). These so-called “backpack” batteries are fine if all you need is to make your phone last a little longer. But what about your other gadgets?
That’s where the Intocircuit 2nd Gen Power Castle 15000mAh comes in. It ain’t much in the looks department (unless you’ve got a fetish for black brushed aluminum) but that’s OK, it doesn’t need to be. It’s primary mission is provide you with as much portable power as possible, in the smallest possible package. At this, the Power Bank excels.
Sporting two USB ports for charging your gadgets (one of which can output at 2.1 amps), and a micro USB port for incoming juice, the monolithic battery pack couldn’t be more of form-follows-function device if it tried. Its only non-power related feature is a handy built-in LED bulb which can be turned on to work as an emergency flashlight, though it won’t (ahem) hold a candle to your smartphone’s built-in flash LED.
It also features a small, backlit LCD panel which displays how much juice is left as a percentage of its capacity. The display remains on (though not always backlit) as long as you are charging a device, or, recharging the Power Bank, and indicates which of the USB ports are in use.
The degree to which any backup battery is useful depends almost entirely on how much power you need while on-the-go. With the exception of the phone-only crowd (see above), bigger is generally better. And with 15,000 mAh, the Intocircuit Power Bank has enough capacity to recharge an iPhone 6 just over 8 times, or a GoPro Hero 4 just over 12 times. Heck, you could even extend the operational life of your iPad Air 2 by another 20 hours or so, assuming you started with a full charge.
At 400 grams, you’ll definitely be aware of the extra weight, especially if you tend to pack light. But if you’ve got to have the extra power on hand, it’s not so heavy as to be a deal-breaker. Size-wise, it’s got similar dimensions to having 2 Nexus 5 smartphones stacked on top of each other. If there’s a nit to be picked with the Intocircuit Power Castle, that would be it: It’s on the bulky side. But it’s hard to fault Intocircuit for this, after all, Lithium-Ion battery technology is what it is. And if Samsung had given their phones 15,000 mAh batteries, they’d all be this big too.
The best part (other than the battery capacity) is the ability to not only charge two device simultaneously, but to do so very quickly on at least one of them through the 2.1 amp port, which by the way, is the same specification as the charger that came with your iPad and many other tablets. It will charge an iPad at the same rate as you’d get from a wall outlet (using the factory charger) and it will charge an iPhone or other smartphone at twice the rate as the factory charger.
It’s kinda hard to argue with the price either. At $42.99 on Amazon.ca with free shipping, it’s not the absolute cheapest charger of its kind (especially if you find another one on sale), but judging by its mostly 5-star reviews on both the Canadian and U.S. sites, it’s proving pretty popular amongst owners.
I recently took the Power Castle on a whirlwind trip to Europe - spending over 30 hours travelling with only an hour at a time (between flights) to look for a charging station. I was able to keep my iPhone 5S, iPad 4 and GoPro 4 fully charged the entire time - a nice feeling to say the least.