Better known for its cases and screen protectors than electronic accessories, Spigen is now offering a USB battery pack called F70Q ($59), billed as a “dual portable quick charger” due to its 2-Amp and 1-Amp USB ports. While F70Q doesn’t offer peak 2.4-Amp output for certain older iPads, full-speed recharging for the iPad Air, iPad mini, iPhones and iPods are supported by the battery. It’s a seemingly basic accessory, but the impressive price point and performance make it a very good option relative to other batteries we’ve tested.
The core of F70Q is a white glossy plastic box similar in footprint to the iPhone 4 and 4S, only twice as thick. On top is a single button styled like the Touch ID Home Buttons of the latest iPhone models, replacing the stainless steel ring with a circle of four surrounding lights that indicate remaining power levels. Turning F70Q on or off is as simple as pressing the button once; the light also comes on automatically when the battery is plugged into a USB port for recharging using its included micro-USB to USB cable, indicating with rough 25%-indicating flashing lights how much of the 7000mAh battery inside is currently full.
F70Q’s 7000mAh capacity is a little higher than the average standalone USB battery size we see these days, which makes it a good choice for use with iPad minis, iPhones, and iPods. In one test, we were able to completely refill a dead first-generation iPad mini to 100%, then add 23% of a charge to an iPhone 5c before F70Q ran out of juice. Another test brought a dead second-generation iPad mini (with Retina display) up to 83% before F70Q expired. Your results will obviously vary depending on the devices you connect to F70Q, but these numbers are solid, and better than typical 6000mAh cells we’ve seen recently, even at higher prices. Recharging speeds with the faster USB port were also consistent with true 2-Amp output, something we don’t take for granted any more given how many batteries are mis-marketed as faster than they are; the presence of a second USB port for simultaneous recharging is a nice bonus.
The other asset F70Q brings to the table comes from Spigen’s case-making expertise. While the battery can be used purely as a small white plastic brick, the company also includes a matte gray TPU housing, claimed to use “exclusive Spigen techonlogy” (sp) to deliver anti-shock air cushioning, absorbing accidental drop impacts. Most people don’t worry too much about accidentally dropping their battery packs, but F70Q gives you a little extra protection, just in case. Regrettably, like most USB batteries these days, you have to supply your own Apple USB cables rather than finding any packed into the package.
One area in which relatively high-capacity batteries have shown uneven evolution is in their own refueling speeds. Spigen notes in a manual that F70Q will take 15-20 hours to recharge from a typical 0.5A USB port, with a maximum speed of 6-8 hours if you self-supply a 1A or faster USB port such as the wall adapters included with iPhones and iPads. Some of the best batteries we’ve tested support 2.1A speeds, which would cut F70Q’s ready-to-go time down to 3-4 hours. As-is, you can expect to leave this battery plugged in overnight before taking it out to use.
On paper, F70Q isn’t a standout: the 7000mAh capacity, 2-Amp peak output and 1-Amp peak input speeds are decidedly middle-of-the-pack right now, and there’s nothing really incredible about the design, either. But the $59 MSRP for the 7000mAh battery compares very favorably with more common and frequently more expensive 6000mAh options, offering more power at a lower price. If you can look past the slow refueling of the F70Q itself, it’s otherwise a really compelling option for any iPad mini or smaller Apple device user. F70Q merits our B+ rating and strong general recommendation.
Company and Price
Company: Spigen SGP
Compatible: All iPads, iPhones + USB-charging iPods