Company: Choiix / Cooler Master
Compatible: All iPads, iPhones, iPods
Choiix Power Fort 5600mAh Rechargeable Battery Pack
We have to give Choiix credit: the Cooler Master subsidiary really stepped up its game late this year, debuting products including Wake Up Folio and Wave Aluminum Stand. The company has shown that's it is capable of producing useful, well designed accessories at reasonable prices. Its most recent effort is the backup battery solution Power Fort 5600mAh Rechargeable Battery Pack ($70), which was made to charge not only iPhones and iPods at full speed, but iPads as well.
Power Fort reminds us somewhat of Palm/HP’s Pre family of smartphones due to its pebble-shaped design. The majority of the 3.17” x 2.39” x 1.02” device is matte grey plastic, although the top side is glossy black or white. A silver line juts out into the center of the plastic, with a four-LED battery indicator and a combined power/status button right in the center. On both of the short sides, there are ports: one is a Micro USB input for charging Power Fort’s battery, while the other is a full-sized 2.1A USB output. Included with the charger are USB to Micro USB and USB to Mini USB cables, although there’s no 30-pin Dock Connector cable; that one you have to provide yourself.
Choiix is a little unclear about how much Power Fort will extend the battery of your device. While it claims two to three times smartphone recharge, the iPad and iPad 2 are listed at “up to 6 hours” of extended usage time. Assuming that’s based off of Apple’s proved-true rating of 10 hour battery life, we guessed that we might see a 60% recharge from the 5600mAh battery. Our results, however, fell below that. In two consecutive tests of the same Wi-Fi-only iPad 2 with wireless networking turned on, notifications and location services active, Bluetooth disabled, and the screen turned off, we saw a change of 49% in about an hour and a half each time. That’s not terrible, but less than optimal. Scosche’s goBatII Portable Charger + Battery Backup, for example, delivered a 56% charge from a 5000mAh battery—although it does cost $10 more, and is certainly larger. It’s also worth noting that charging Power Fort’s internal battery takes quite a while, requiring between six and eight hours.
While we like Power Fort’s design and size, there are a few things preventing it from being a great solution. The first is a lack of any included Dock Connector cable, which is surprising considering how heavily Choiix is pushing this device for iPhones and iPads. Our other concern is the underwhelming battery performance, though the fact that it does support 2.1A charging is rather impressive. Overall, Power Fort 5600mAh is worthy of a general recommendation. It includes nice features for a small accessory, and is held back only a little by its power performance and pack-ins.