1. Monoprice PoweRocks Universal External Backup Battery Review by Mike Rohde

    This is a guest review from my good friend Mike Rohde. Mike is a designer and sketchnote artist based in Milwaukee, WI. He is an experienced designer focused on interface and visual design at Gomoll Research + Design, and runs Rohdesign Studios, a small design and illustration firm. You may know his work as the illustrator of REWORK, the best-selling business book from 37signals.

    Mike was in town recently under special invitation from An Event Apart – Minneapolis where he provided the official sketchnotes for the event. I knew that would mean long days of iPhone and iPad use with limited options for power. I lent him one of these and asked him if, in return, he would provide a review under “real world” conditions. This is that review:

    Monoprice PoweRocks Universal External Backup Battery Review

    When you’re on the road, away from a power source, the last thing you want to see is a low battery warning on your iPhone or iPad. It’s even worse if more than one device is low and there are no wall sockets in sight.

    Now there’s a solution from Monoprice: the PoweRocks 7800mAh Universal External Backup Battery with dual USB ports. This small white battery backup pack, about the size of a MacBook AC adapter, charges from a laptop or desktop USB port, USB wall charger or USB car charger.

    The top surface of the charger features an LED version of the PoweRocks logo to indicate the charge state of the battery inside and when charging – fully lit means fully charged – and when charged – letters grow less lit as the battery is drawn down. Checking the state of the PoweRock is easy – simply press the power button on top of the unit and the letter-level indicator lights for a moment, showing the charge level.

    Once charged, the PoweRock’s 7800mAH battery can charge two separate devices via dual USB ports - for instance, an iPad and iPhone – at the same time.

    The dual USB ports are designed to charge at two different rates: USB Output I port provides 1000mah output / 2.1 amps for iPads which demand more power, while the USB Output II port provides 500mah for iPhones and smaller demand devices.

    The PoweRock battery pack full charges within 5 hours. I like to charge mine the night before an event, or while at my desk working on my MacBook.

    I was able to use the PoweRock while charging my iPad and iPhone while off, as well as while using my iPhone while on the road. In fact, my iPad was charged to 100% while writing this review.

    I appreciate the PoweRock’s dual USB ports, rather than specific cables, since I can charge a wide variety of electronic devices, so long as they have a USB based charging cable.

    One note: Monoprice says the PowerRock dual charger doesn’t work with the Galaxy Tab line of tablets.

    The PoweRock’s small size works great for carrying along in my Timbuktu backpack. If my iPhone battery gets low, I know I can charge it up on the spot.

    When I go with my minimal iPad kit for travel, writing or on sketchnote gigs, the PoweRock provides the backup I need, freeing me from hauling my entire MacBook along.

    The Monoprice PoweRock dual USB charger is available at the Monoprice website for $41.16, with price breaks for larger quantities (take note IT people).

    Bonus Giveaway

    I have another one of these to give away to one lucky person. Here are the directions:

  2. To enter, please send me a message to @minimalmac on Twitter with the phrase “More power rocks!” before midnight (Central Standard Time) tonight. No entries will be considered afterwards.

  3. One winner will be selected tomorrow at random and notified by reply to their Twitter message. In that reply, I will give instructions for emailing me shipping information.

  4. The PoweRock will be sent out via USPS by early next week so set your expectations accordingly.

  5. Got it? Great. More power rocks!

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