Recently, we’ve seen a number of backup battery packs with wall prongs built in, eliminating the need for a separate USB cable or power adapter. Zagg is among the companies jumping on board with its Zaggsparq 6000 ($100), part of a line that also includes 1220mAh and 3100mAh models. With its dual USB ports, the black and silver plastic brick can be used to charge two devices off the wall, or provide power to the devices when on the go. Because the two ports share 2.1A of power output, though, this unit is only suitable for charging one tablet at a time, or two iPhones/iPods.
Rather thick at almost 1.5”, Zaggsparq 6000’s volume is more than double that of Fluxmob Bolt, a very similar solution with half the capacity and only one USB port. The body is mostly a matte black plastic, with a silver layer on the face playing well against it. You’ll find the ports on the bottom of this curved glossy plate, and everything else — the fold-up prongs, battery indicator button, and power switch — on the black plastic. Five battery indicator lights along the top edge show approximately how much battery life is left.
With a 6000mAh cell, we expected the battery pack to provide a 90% charge to a fully depleted first-generation iPad mini, based on a dozen previous tests. Zaggsparq 6000 handily beat that average though, delivering 99%, which is close enough to say that the battery can provide the equivalent of a full extra charge.
Among 6000mAh batteries we’ve tested, that’s a very good result, but not quite the best; Mophie’s Juice Pack Powerstation Duo costs the same, and delivered 105%. It too split its 2.1-Amp output between the two ports. While it may sound like the two are equivalent, with Zagg’s battery taking the lead thanks to its built-in prongs, there was one major issue. When plugged in to the wall, Zaggsparq 6000 puts out a very loud, very annoying squeal. Although it can fade in and out, the fact that the sound is produced in the first place is an issue that detracts from the overall appeal.
Were it to perform its job silently, as it’s supposed to, Zaggsparq 6000 would merit our strong general recommendation. The price is too high to justify anything in the A-range, but the performance is very good, the design is nice, and the prongs are a plus. The squealing is a real issue though, ultimately leading to the B- rating. If you’re willing to put up with the annoyance, it’s a good product, but we find it to be too big of a problem to justify more than a limited recommendation.
Company and Price
Model: Zaggsparq 6000
Compatible: All iPads, iPhones, iPods