Company: Eton Corporation
Compatible: All iPads, iPhones, iPods
Although backup battery packs aren't usually too complicated, Eton's BoostBloc6600 ($99) is exceedingly simple. The surprisingly dense recharging unit is a straightforward plastic block, with a 6600mAh cell housed inside, and 2.1A output for full-speed charging on the iPad mini and older iPads. Eton includes a Micro-USB cable to juice up the battery, but you must provide your own Dock Connector or Lightning cables to recharge your devices.
Measuring 1.7” tall and wide, and 2.8” deep, BoostBloc6600 is an extruded, rounded rectangle weighing 6.5 ounces. The whole thing is made of plastic, which feels fine, but the material doesn’t match the premium quality of competitors who use metal. At one of the square ends you’ll find a Micro-USB port alongside regulatory text; the other contains two full-sized USB ports. One supports 2.1A charging, and the other 1A, as denoted by the dots printed next to them. Finally, there are four battery indicator lights on the top side of the device. Shake the block, and they’ll light up to give you an approximate measure of how much power is left.
To test the BoostBloc6600’s recharging capabilities, we connected it to a depleted iPad mini with Wi-Fi. With the tablet’s screen turned off, no media playing, and an active network connection, the external battery was able to provide a 79% charge in one hour and 47 minutes. This is actually a surprisingly low result, given the 4400mAh cell inside the iPad mini—we expected a full recharge, or at least close to it.
Although it’s physically small for its capacity, Eton’s battery pack isn’t very impressive. At the $100 price point, we expect a device that feels more premium, and performs to a higher degree. The fact that this one is all plastic, and loses a lot of energy in the recharging process makes us unable to recommend it. There’s just too much that falls short, earning BoostBloc6600 a C+ rating.