Review: Incase Portable Power 2500 + 5400
Like so many other accessory makers, Incase is trying its hand at portable battery packs for iPhones, iPads, and iPods. Coming in two versions -- Portable Power 2500 ($60) and Portable Power 5400 ($80) -- Incase is offering multiple colors, each with a USB recharging cable built in, eliminating the need for a separate micro-USB cord. The plastic boxes have USB ports for 2.1-Amp charging output, and a rubberized pattern of dots underneath. Naturally, the higher capacity version is larger in size — but not by much.
The 2500mAh battery pack measures roughly 3.9” by 2.4” by 0.6”, while Portable Power 5400 is 0.5” longer and 0.1” taller, but the same width. Each has a power button, with a ring of lights along the inside that shows the remaining charge in the battery; there are three on the smaller pack, and five on the larger one. You’ll find Portable Power 2500’s flat USB cord nestled into a long hole made to match its shape, with the plug magnetically held in place. The 5400’s cord isn’t on top, but rather around the edge, and the cable is slightly longer. The soft dots on the underside help keep the batteries from sliding around to a degree. While they’re not as effective as some materials or designs, that’s not a terribly important factor when it comes to battery packs.
In terms of actual output, one version of Portable Power was pretty much right on target in our testing, while the other was actually well above what we expected. We used a fully depleted first-generation iPad mini to see how much power the batteries were able to put out. Portable Power 2500 delivered a 38% charge, while the 5400 model was able to bring the tablet to 93% from empty, which is 10% better than we’d expect based on prior tests.
Between these two batteries, Portable Power 5400 is the better option, performing well enough to earn our strong general recommendation. Not only is it appropriately priced for its capacity, but it performed better than we expected, and the built-in cable is a definite plus. Portable Power 2500 is fine, but it deserves a slightly lower rating. The price is good, but not great, the output was only average, and it’s physically about the same size. For the extra $20, it makes sense to go with the higher capacity pack.