Summary

Our Score

7/10

Review Price free/subscription

The Power 2 Go SCE76040 isn't any kind of turbo charger, so devices recharge at pretty much the same speed as they would via a regular USB connection. I tried the SCE7640 with a range of devices, and most took a charge without any trouble. My old Sony Ericsson phone, Canon Ixus 40 digital camera and PSP all charged with ease, as did the iRiver P7 I had in for review and a FiiO E5 headphone amplifier.

An old iPod mini and a first generation iPod touch also played ball, though a second gen touch wasn't feeling so accommodating - Apple is to blame for that one, though. There's also, apparently, a connector for the Nintendo DS Lite, though my review package (which appears to have been through several wars) did not include it.

The good news is that there's enough power here to last a good long weekend. Philips quotes a figure of 60 hours of portable power, whatever that means, but I managed to recharge the Ixus, the PSP and the iRiver P7 without running it down completely, and both the PSP and the P7 are demanding little devils.

However, this power pack has another purpose. Pull out another cable and hook it up to the 19v output, then plug in one of a second range of connector tips, and it will also provide some much needed additional juice for your laptop on the move. Here the amount of extra time you will get depends a lot on the draw of your laptop and its size; you may get a few hours of web browsing and word processing on a lightweight 13in or 14in model, but I struggled to get much over an hour on my 15.4in HP machine. Not all notebooks will run off the SCE7640, depending on their power socket and power requirements, but there's a list of those that will on Philips' website, and many others not listed will run perfectly well.

All in all, the SCE7640 is a simple product that does a simple job very well. For all my waffle about camping earlier, it's probably just as well suited to the long-haul business traveller or those outdoors-going gadget freaks exploring off the beaten track. And while it's hardly the sort of device you show off to your mates down the pub, it could be really, really useful.

At £130 the price is a little steep for my liking, and in some situations you'd arguably do better with a cheap USB charger or solar-powered charger instead (which can cope surprisingly well even with the light available on a window sill). Given the vagaries of our climate, however, it might be better to have the SCE7640, just in case.

Verdict

Pack this handy unit, and you don't have to worry about running out of power on the move. It's expensive and your mileage will vary, but if you spend a lot of time travelling or enjoying the great outdoors, then it might just be more useful than you'd think.

Our Score

7/10
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