Review: Spigen SGP Kuel F60Q Battery Pack
Once known as United SGP, the newly-renamed Spigen SGP has released Kuel F60Q Battery Pack ($125), a 6000mAh cell for iPads, iPhones, and iPods. With a simple, clean design, it's the most compact battery of that capacity we've seen. Unlike most USB batteries, Kuel's packaging and website emphasize that the cell supports 2.1A charging, though our testing suggested the claim might not be accurate. Additionally, the only cable included with this one is USB to Micro USB; users must provides their own Dock Connector cable.
The shape of Kuel F60Q is a rounded rectangular box, and it’s currently only available in a glossy white plastic finish. It’s very similar to Mipow’s second-generation Power Tube batteries, but a bit squatter at about 3.8” x 1.6” x 1.15”. Also like Power Tube, one end of the block has a full-sized USB port for charging output. On the opposite side are a large power button that doubles as a battery indicator switch, four LEDs, and a door imprinted with the USB symbol.
Flipping the door open reveals a Micro USB port for recharging the battery and something we’ve never seen before: a two-position sliding OS switch. A sticker explains that you can access “Android Charging” on the left at position I while “Apple Charging” is on the right at II. Not wanting to damage the iPad or the battery, we heeded the warning that “the product may malfunction if the OS switch does not match your device.” It’s entirely unclear as to what the difference is though, and confusingly, the product’s website actually states Motorola phones should be charged with the switch set to the Apple side.
Although Spigen SGP advertises 2.1-Amp, full-speed charging for the iPad and iPad 2, our testing suggested that Kuel F60Q wasn’t quite that powerful. A full recharge cycle with a 2.1-Amp source should take about four hours. We used the battery pack to charge an iPad 2 under our standard conditions: powered on, connected to Wi-Fi, notifications turned on, with no media playing and the screen turned off. Over the course of three hours and 36 minutes, Kuel F60Q provided a 55% charge before running dry. While the result is what we’d expect— the same as what we got from the 6000mAh cell in Powerbag’s Instant Messenger—the extended charging period suggests that Kuel is only pushing energy at 1 Amp. That’s the right speed for iPhones and iPods—which should be able to get about two full charges from the battery—but clearly not what the company claims.
Overall, Kuel F60Q strikes us as an unimpressive value proposition. The one thing it has on its side is a fairly large battery in a small package. But we were disappointed by the slow charging speed based on the advertised claims, and the confusing OS switch is also a strike against the design; its purpose is unclear and it brings about the possibility of accidentally doing damage to either an accessory or device. Combine that with the high $125 price—probably about $40-$45 too high, given options such as Just Mobile’s fancier $80 Gum Plus—and the lack of a charging cable for Apple devices. With all this in mind, Kuel F60Q is worthy of a C- rating. It over-promises, under-delivers, and just costs too much.