Company: Eton Corporation
Compatible: All iPads, iPhones, iPods
Eton's metal-clad BoostTurbine2000 ($59) is disproportionately large for its battery capacity, but there's a reason for that: the 2000mAh charger has a hand turbine power generator built-in. In addition to recharging the battery through the Micro-USB port, it can be replenished -- slowly -- by manual hand cranking. iPad, iPhone, and iPod users should note that the battery doesn't come with a Lightning or Dock Connector cable, and its USB port outputs power at 1A -- full-speed for iPods and iPhones, half-speed or less for iPads.
While most companies can fit a comparably capacious battery into something as small as an iPad case, BoostTurbine2000 is 1” thick, 2.2” wide, and 5” deep. The majority of the body is a brushed aluminum shell, while the underside is plastic. You’ll find the pack’s I/O all on one side: a Micro-USB input for recharging with the included cable, and the aforementioned full-sized USB port. Between the two is a power switch that doubles as a battery life indicator button.
In our testing, conducted using an iPhone 5 connected to both Wi-Fi and AT&T’s LTE network, but with the screen off and no media playing, the fully charged BoostTurbine2000 battery was able to provide an 84% refueling. That result was slightly below our expectations, but only by a few percentage points—not bad for a 2000mAh battery. The crank is a somewhat different story. Eton says you’ll get about 30 seconds of talk time from one minute of turning the handle, which is enough for emergency calls or texts; you’ll only be able to rely on it for longer calls if you’re looking for some exercise.
BoostTurbine2000 is somewhat expensive given its capacity and performance, but not totally crazy considering the crank. While it wouldn’t be our first recommendation for most users, it works pretty well, and although the crank’s practicality is of questionable value to most people, it will appeal to people who need an emergency power alternative. Ultimately, this charging solution is worthy of a limited recommendation.