Review: Ideal gift for road warriors
TGT is best known for its factory overclocked graphics cards, but now it is trying to expand to new markets. A portable battery charger seems like something mobile enthusiasts, or road warriors, might need. TGT’s Midas Force PowerPack 12000 should be one of the best mobile chargers on the market, at least judging by the spec sheet.
The capacity of TGT’s chargers is evident from the branding, so the Midas Force PowerPack 12000 features a 12,000mAh battery. The company also offers Midas Force PowerPack 5200 and Midas Force PowerPack 3000 chargers, but in some instances you will come across abbreviations, so the MF-1200 denotes a Midas Force PowerPack 12000 and so on.
The whole point of buying a portable battery charger is to have quick access to a source of power and charge mobile devices at any place and time; it can’t be more straightforward than that. Thanks to its impressive battery capacity, the PowerPack 12000 can charge broad range of devices including all kinds of tablets, phones and portable game consoles. Depending on the device type and frequency of use following additional uptimes are possible:
- Tablet computers up to 20 hours
- SmartPhones up to 75 hours
- Computer gaming up to 60 hours
- Music up to 360 hours
The PowerPack 12000 looks quite well and it feels good to the touch. We talk more about the design and build quality on the next page.
Let’s start off by covering the basics, dimensions and weight. These two parameters can be vital if you spend a lot of time on the road, or tend to pack a lot of gear in your backpack. The PowerPack 12000 weighs 258g, but thanks to its exceptional battery capacity, our mobile phone and satnav could operate for several days without a socket. Pretty impressive for a device which weighs less than a 7-inch tablet.
You might not fall in love with it at first sight, but as time goes by you are bound to appreciate the simple and clever design. The PowerPack 12000 features a square design, with curved edges, which makes it is pretty comfortable to carry around in a pocket. It measures 99 mm x 93 mm x 29 mm (L x H x W), so it feels like an oversized wallet, not much bigger than a compact camera. Basically you can even fit it in small coat pockets, or just about anywhere else.
The PowerPack 12000 features a closed-form factory design and that means you cannot access its insides, but there is no need because all connectors are easy accessible and placed on the sides. It features a Li-polymer battery with a capacity of 12000mAh@ 3.7V (44Wh).
Once your PowerPack dies all you can do is buy a new one, you can’t replace the battery. The problem with rechargeable batteries is that they have limited lifecycle. TGT claims the battery can stand up to 500 cycles, which should be enough for most users. For example, if it’s charged once a week, it could last for up to ten years and that’s plenty. Sadly though, it ships with a one-year warranty. In order to prolong its life, discharge and recharge the power pack periodically if you don’t plan to use it for an extended period of time.
The PowerPack 12000 is more stable if we place it horizontally on the table, as show on the image above. Small, rubber pins are placed on each corner (see image below) and to prevent scratching.
The rubberized surface feels great. When you hold it in hands you get the feeling you are dealing with a very robust piece of kit, and since it has a rubberized finish, it should also stand up to punishment quite well. The silver bit in the middle and the clever design of the power button with included LEDs are additional highlights. Frankly it seems a bit over-designed, which is a good thing.
On the next image we compare it to a standard 7mm SSD drive. As you can see, it is not really a flat device, but it is small enough to handle in any situation and it doesn’t take up too much room.
The packaging is sturdy and you can see the device through the clamshell plastics. For some reason the packaging states that the PowerPack MF-1200 (PowerPack 12000) is compatible with HTC Android phones, but of course it is compatible with all other smartphones as well, provided you choose the right connector.
The bundle includes:
USB to Micro-USB cable (length: 75 cm),
USB to hollow-plug cable (length: 75 cm),
Micro USB adapter,
Mini USB adapter,
Samsung Galaxy Tab adapter,
Samsung phone adapter.
You will also get velvet pouch that is practical for keeping all the bits in one place. It’s a neat touch.
The supplied AC adapter comes with one hollow-plug power input connector. USB charging is not supported. The adapter features a green LED (as shown on the image below) but it really serves no purpose, as it just indicates that the adapter is plugged in. The LEDs on the device itself serve as a battery capacity indicator.
You can always check the power pack capacity prior to use. Simple press the On/Off button for a few seconds and the power level indicator will activate. If all three LEDs are visible (image below) the device is at full capacity (>75%). Two visible LEDs indicate it’s half full, or half empty, while one visible LED indicates low capacity (<20%). The LEDs are marked Low / Med / High and it’s all self-explanatory from here.
While the PowerPack 12000 is being recharged, power level indicator LEDs activate automatically, letting us see the current capacity of the battery. The LEDs will flash until the next power level is reached, e.g. if the device is charged to half capacity, the High capacity LED will flash, while the other two will stay lit..
When the battery is fully charged all power level indicators will glow and that’s all there is to it.
If we connect a device to the power pack, and it starts charging, the On/Off indicator will glow blue. We can press the On/Off button again to check battery capacity level; this will not interrupt the charging process.
On one occasion we did not use the PowerPack 12000 in over a month, but we observed that the capacity was still at full once we tried it out again. However, discharging and recharging the battery periodically will help keep it fit and healthy.
To fully charge the battery it takes between seven and ten hours, so it is an overnight affair. The charging time will be shorter if the battery is not fully discharged. Devices cannot be connected to the power pack while it is charging from the AC wall charger.
We used HTC’s One S smartphone with a 1650mAh battery to try out the power pack. We could charge this phone five to six times, depending on how much we used the phone during charging and how low its battery was. From this we can conclude that PowerPack 12000 can deliver about 8500mAh while it consumes 12000mAh. This means that big tablets with battery capacities in excess of 6500mAh can only be charged once.
After we charged the phone two to three times the battery capacity indicators showed a drop in capacity, from three to two LEDs.
You have to be careful when the battery capacity is low. The low cattery capacity indicator is basically a single LED, so sometimes the device will contain enough power to charge a phone, but it could be practically empty as well. If you are in the middle of nowhere and you depend only on the PowerPack to charge your phone, it’s a good idea to keep track of the capacity. However, if you do end up in such a situation, chances are that you will succumb to exposure or dehydration before the PowerCharger 12000 runs out of juice.
The USB connector designated OUT1 is rated at DC 5V 1A, while the second one named USB2 is DC 5V 2.1A unit. Obviously, charging through the USB2 connector can speed up charging by 50%, provided your device supports 2.1A.
Two devices can be connected for charging at the same time.
TGT’s Midas Force PowerPack 12000 can be used to charge a wide variety of mobile devices, from tablets and smartphones to mobile gaming consoles or even smart cameras. Yes, we expect smart cameras will take off, and just like smartphones, they will be more power hungry than ordinary compact cameras.
Even if you use it to charge a high-end tablet with a 8000mAh battery, the Midas will do the trick. As we said, it could fully recharge a 1650mAh phone five to six times. The build quality is top notch and it feels really durable. It’s not too bulky or too heavy either and with a battery capable of surviving 500 charge cycles, it should last for years. Our only complaint in this department is the one-year warranty. It’s just not enough in this day and age.
Midas Force PowerPack 12000 is listed at as low as €70, but the cheapest available unit we could find cost €98. It is no bargain, but there really isn’t that much competition out there. If you can afford a ton of gadgets, you can afford a power pack as well. It all depends on your needs and habits. Since it could last for years, it might be a clever, since it will charge all your gear. Buying replaceable phone batteries or proprietary camera batteries with each new product generation will cost more.