Lenmar’s ChugPlug ($160) was one of a handful of Best of Show Award-winners at the 2014 International CES, and the only solely Mac-focused product of the bunch. Up until now, the only real option for providing portable power to a MacBook has come in the form of Sanho’s HyperJuice, an accessory that requires physical hacking of the power supply. ChugPlug offers up to four extra hours of use without having to tear apart a wall adapter. Originally posted in January 2014, this article was updated May 27, 2014 with hands-on impressions and testing results!
The large white accessory connects to an 11” or 13” MacBook’s power brick. The MacBook’s rounded square adapter fits onto one of ChugPlug’s ends, while Apple’s wall plug extension cable goes on the other. The idea is that you’ll charge your computer with ChugPlug in place, and then it can be used for power on the go as needed. Although a mAh rating isn’t listed, Lenmar claims four additional hours on the 11” MacBook Air, and three hours on 13” Macs.
At 9” long, 3” tall, and 1.125” wide—the same width as Apple’s chargers—ChugPlug is pretty darn big, especially considering it packs a relatively small 4,000mAh battery—the same capacity can often be found in pocket-sized USB-based chargers. That said, it works just as advertised: we were able to juice up a fully-depleted, 11” Mid-2011 MacBook Air to 88% in just about two hours, not bad given the laptop’s 4,680mAh battery capacity. Newer and larger machines likely won’t see the same high percentage because they have larger capacity cells, although they’ll still get an appreciable amount of time that can’t otherwise be achieved without plugging into a wall.