The problem with handheld devices is that they have an annoying habit of running out of juice at the most inopportune moments. There’s nothing worse than being stuck on a train or a plane with a dead MP3 player or handheld console, and if you’re embarking on a long haul flight that scenario is often unavoidable. If only there was some way of recharging your device, while continuing to use it – well actually there is.
The ReCharge4 is a portable battery unit that can plug into your handheld device and recharge it on the fly. You will also be able to continue using your handheld device while it’s being recharged, so you never have to sit around twiddling your thumbs on those long journeys. And as the name suggests, you’ll get four full recharges from the ReCharge4, before the device itself has to be plugged into the mains.
The battery itself is finished in matt silver and grey, and looks pretty good for what is essentially a utilitarian kind of product. At the base you’ll find a connector for charging the ReCharge4 up from the mains, while on the right side is another connector for hooking it up to your device. There are eight indicator lights on the front which display the amount of remaining charge when the button at the bottom is pressed. Both the connectors are protected by rubber bungs and the battery slips into a velvet drawstring bag for transport.
The battery itself weighs only 120g, which is pretty reasonable even by today’s standards of super-svelte mobile phones and MP3 players. With dimensions of 84 x 40 x 23mm (HxWxD) the ReCharge4 is small enough to slip into your pocket, and will easily hide unobtrusively in your bag.
Exspect sells three versions of the ReCharge4 – Portable Gaming, MP3 Player and Mobile Phone. The Portable Gaming pack will charge a Sony PSP, Nintendo DS, DS Lite, GBA, GBA SP and GameBoy Micro. The MP3 Player pack is good for Creative, Apple, iRiver and any device that charges over a mini-USB socket. Finally, the Mobile Phone pack is compatible with most Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and Samsung phones.
I was sent the Portable Gaming pack for use with my plethora of handheld consoles. But if I wanted to use the ReCharge4 with my iPod or mobile phone, I could just buy the connector set separately, rather than having to buy a completely separate battery package. In the box I found four different charging cables, along with an extension cable to let you keep the ReCharge4 in your pocket or bag while you’re using it. Given the fact that the battery life on the PSP is particularly poor, having a device like the ReCharge4 in your bag is a real boon. In fact I often find myself running out of juice on relatively short train journeys because I’ve forgotten to charge my PSP overnight.
Once my PSP had died, I simply plugged the ReCharge4, pressed the Check/Start button and it instantly started charging the PSP battery, while also allowing me to carry on playing. Obviously it’s a little inconvenient having the ReCharge4 plugged in while you’re playing, but having a cable plugged into the power socket is far less of an issue than being bored for hours.