Before we left for our trip, we needed two things from the Verizon store. First, we needed information about my data plan for use with my hotspot, and second we needed a cable to charge my phone in the car, and Luna’s iPad, too. We verified the unlimited data plan which is working out well. For the record, we’re pulling down 100GB per month. Woot!
Next up was getting the cables, which is exactly what I had asked for, but, as it turns out, it’s not what we needed — at least not according to the salesperson. Our very informative saleswoman was not-so-subtly “upselling” my request, but I wasn’t going to have any of it. I knew what I needed and we were being steered around it. Nearing a kiosk that didn’t include car charges, she asked a few more questions and then, pointing to the charger, summed it up by saying, “This Sony Portable Charger can charge all three of your devices on the go — in the car, while hiking or whatever you are doing. You can carry power for your devices with you.” Really? I thought skeptically. Let’s see it.
As Liza and I stood there trying to see the charger through the box, I really wasn’t sold on it. It seemed like another device-related electronic piece destined for the recycle bin. But our rep kept talking, helping us imagine hiking in the woods or lost in the land of roaming signals, needing to recharge just in case. I still wasn’t sold. I kept thinking that a car charger was all that I needed. Luna, too.
But then I started thinking about the car charger being a nice solution, but limited in comparison to the external battery. The car charger wouldn’t help us juice up our devices if we were on an epic hike taking photos or if we needed our phones during a storm where we basically unplug all-the-things to avoid a device-wrecking power surge. Keeping Luna’s Minecraft playing/video-watching sessions alive can be a huge factor as well. It seemed like it could help us out quite a bit.
So we bought it: $59.00 5/19/2015
And then we used it. We were on our way to Sandusky and the batteries in all of our devices were dying. Liza plugged into the Sony first, but she was navigating and using Google Maps, which seemed to limit the charger’s abilities to boost power, so she plugged into her car charger instead. Meanwhile, Luna took a nap, so Liza plugged in Luna’s iPad to the new charger. The battery level of the iPad was really low; the charger seemed to make no difference whatsoever. With our enthusiasm dwindling, it was looking like our impulse buy was destined for recycling after all.
We gave it some more tries during our various camping trips. We learned that it helps to not use the device being charged while it is charging. It also seemed to work better when we used the original chargers that came with one of our phones, charging faster when plugged directly into a wall, rather than a computer or other USB port as directed on the box. It wasn’t until our more recent trip to the Porcupine Mountains that our confidence in our little impulse buy changed.
We were off-the-grid completely in The Porkies. All devices were off, because there wasn’t a cell signal to be found. This was done on purpose, our turning “off” and camping remotely for a couple of days. But Luna didn’t quite comprehend that if she played with her iPad while we were setting up camp, she might not have any power for the rest of the trip, nor did she gather fully that we had a long drive from the west side of the Upper Peninsula to the east side after our rustic camping adventure, which could make for a very long journey for her come travel day. Nevertheless, she drained the battery, much to her dismay.
What she didn’t know was that we had a full charge on the portable charger for whatever battery emergency might arise, but we were saving it for the end of our trip in The Porkies. The Sony Wireless Portable Charging Pad (CP-W5) allows you to top off your device’s battery. If you have Qi-compatible devices, it can even work without wires. The battery takes approximately eleven hours to charge via USB, or six hours by AC adapter (not included).
We didn’t know we needed this little gem, but it has proved to be a useful piece of gear. Funny thing was, we already had a cable to charge my phone in the car. Oh, well. The very informative salesperson listened and help us get what we needed, even if we were not asking for it. Hmm … That’s what I do at Rumspeed.
If you are looking for a way to charge many devices at once without carrying a bunch of cables, check out the Sony Wireless Charging Pad.