Fluxmob’s Bolt ($60) isn’t the first accessory to combine wall charging and battery pack features, but it’s the best one we’ve seen so far. Launched as a Kickstarter project, the accessory is designed to serve as a full replacement for standard power adapters, especially for iPhones. Not only can it charge your device from a power outlet, but it also houses a 3000mAh battery with 1-Amp output, capable of juicing up iPhones and iPods at full speed.
Although it’s larger than Apple’s 5W USB Power Adapter, Bolt isn’t big, especially considering what’s inside. Made from plastic with a smooth, soft touch finish that’s really quite nice, the box measures 2.75” tall, 1.33” deep, and 1.1” wide. Three color variations are available; all have a dark gray segment at the top, with either the same color, blue, or lighter gray beneath it. At the top, you’ll find flip-out wall prongs that hide away when not needed, while a full-sized USB port is on the underside. Additionally, there’s a power button on the front, with a charge status light and five battery level indicator LEDs above it.
Like most battery packs and wall chargers, Bolt doesn’t come with a cable to connect to your device. Instead, you must provide your own Lightning or Dock Connector cable; considering this is meant to replace the charger that comes in the box, that shouldn’t be a big issue, though. One of the most important aspects of Bolt is that it charges its own internal battery at the same time as the iPhone’s, when plugged into the wall. That’s advantageous because it significantly cuts down on overall charging time.
Although Fluxmob says Bolt will provide two full charges to most handsets, the 3000mAh battery didn’t quite live up to that promise with the iPhone 5. It did, however, exceed our expectations, delivering a 157% charge; we expected a result closer to 140% based on past tests. While we’ve noticed better recharging results with iOS 7 as compared to iOS 6, this is a pretty good number.
There are only two notable issues with Bolt—both are relatively minor, but some users in some circumstances might find them important. The first is the charging indicator system. While plugged in to the wall, Bolt’s LEDs dance all around, blinking in and out, rather than simply showing how much juice the thing has with solid lights. We’d prefer a clearer picture of the status. The other issue is a lack of a micro-USB port for recharging the internal battery. Such an addition would make Bolt close to perfect, as it would ensure the ability to power up, regardless of whether the energy source is a computer or wall outlet.
The two issues above aside, we were far more impressed with Bolt than we originally expected to be. It’s a truly useful accessory, and a practical combination of features. The battery is large enough to truly be helpful, without making the box unreasonably large. We highly recommend it for any iPhone or iPod user who needs a charge or two worth of extra power on the go.
Company and Price
Compatible: All iPhones, iPods