Review: New Trent PowerPak+ NT135T Battery Pack
Although it's not the largest capacity battery pack we've seen, New Trent's PowerPak+ NT135T ($70) is up there with a 13,500mAh capacity. It's the second battery we've covered from the company -- the first was its iCarrier IMP120D Dual USB Power Pack -- but there are no shared aesthetics between them. This one is a ridged two-tone gray box, with two USB outputs: one supports 2.1-Amp charging, and the other 1-Amp. While it's not a cosmetically unique option, the build quality and overall performance are quite impressive, especially for the low price.
PowerPak+ NT135T is almost 5” long, a little under 2.7” wide, and just over 1” tall. The size is portable, but may be just a bit larger than what most people would consider “pocketable.” Although the body is made entirely of plastic, it’s easy to confuse with metal, even when viewed from just a few inches away. Dark grey plates, each with 11 raised ridges, sandwich a lighter grey core with truncated corners. It’s a simple yet elegant design that feels appropriate for a battery pack. A soft carrying bag is included in the package, as is a micro-USB cable for recharging; you need to supply the Apple cables yourself.
New Trent located all of the unit’s ports and controls along one short edge. To the left of the two USB ports is a single micro-USB port for powering the lithium ion polymer battery. To the right, on the cut-off corner, is a power button that doubles as a way to check the battery life, with the LED below changing color from green to blue to red as an indication of approximately how much juice is left. Although PowerPak+ NT135T supports tablet charging, it’s limited to 2.1-Amp output from its fastest port, meaning that third- and fourth-generation iPads won’t go at full speed. The 1.5-Amp input is also somewhat limited, and combined with the capacity, explains the quoted 12 hour recharge time.
Even though it may take a while, the battery will deliver its promised 80% charge for an iPad, just a hair over the result we expected based on batteries we’ve tested in the past. We got exactly that charge level on a fourth-generation iPad in four hours and 17 minutes. If PowerPak+ NT135T supported 2.4-Amp charging, the time would have dropped by nearly half an hour, which would certainly have been a benefit. Obviously, smaller-capacity devices such as iPods and iPhones will easily be able to fully recharge more than once from PowerPak+ NT135T, even when two devices connected at the same time. iPad minis should get more than a full recharge, as well.
Charging speed aside, the fact that a nice-looking, 13,500mAh battery is available for $70 is unquestionably great for Apple device users. PowerPak+ NT135T’s flexibility in being able to charge any USB device—or two devices—makes it very much worth considering, and easily worthy of our high recommendation. Only the addition of Apple-specific cables, and the aforementioned increase in charging speeds, would make it a better value.