Saturday, November 17, 2007

First Impressions of the Tekkeon MP 3450 and Mamba XS

I purchased the Tekkeon myPower All MP3450 external battery and the Booq Mamba XS messenger bag and received both over the last two days.  Initial impressions are favorable.  In fact I am typing this post at a Starbucks with my Acer C110 connected to the MP3450 and I brought all of my gear in the Mamba XS.

When I was posting earlier about the MP3450, I was concerned that the battery would not charge my Acer internal battery.  Fortunately that is not the case. Right now my Acer is indicating that it is 'plugged in' and has been at 100% battery level for the last 30 minutes that I have been 'plugged in'.  So good news there. It was important to me because at times I know I won't want to have the MP3450 connected to the Acer any longer than needed.  Right now its not a big deal.  I am sitting at a table with the MP3450 placed on the table right next to the Acer.  However if I am walking round and have the tablet in slate mode it would be easier to not have to be tethered to another device, even though it is small and lightweight (< 1 lb).  And if the MP 3450 didn't recharge the internal battery I would be limited to the time without the MP3450 to the lifetime of the internal battery which is about 2 hours.

I also like that it has a 5V USB outlet which allows me to easily charge my  phone (Moto Q) and my Ipod Nano.  The power cord connecting the MP3450 to the Acer is coiled which I also like.  Its easier to store and less clutter when in use.  Nice touch Tekkeon!  Its also a nice looking design.  So nice that I would hate to scratch it up so its good that the battery comes with a protective pouch with a plastic window over the indicator lights and voltage selector button.

The Mamba XS seemed smaller than I thought when I took it out of the box.  Which is nice since its a smaller foot print when carrying but my concern was that it wouldn't be big enough to carry all of my gear.  So I emptied my Case Logic case that I have been using for 3 years now and packed the Mamba XS only to find I had room to spare.  Which was good since for this trip I was also bringing the MP3450 battery and a notebook for the writing workshop I will be attending today.

I also like the easy access pouch at the top which is where I will keep my iPod and I like the 'pockets' under the flap which nicely fit items I want to easily get at without the concern of those items falling out.  One thing I think I will miss is the zippered compartment in the back of my Case Logic bag  It was only wide enough for documents or magazines but it was a good place for those items without cluttering the main compartments.

I'll write more after a few days of use.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Portable Power Options

I have been looking at two companies that sell external power supplies and batteries, The Battery Geeks and Tekkeon.

Lets start with The Battery Geeks offerings. First off, they offer a free battery audit. You fill out a simple form and they will email you with recommendations. For my Acer C110, they recommended their external battery and portable power supply. The external batteries come in two capacities, 118 and 130 WH. Since my Acer battery has a 27 WH capacity, theoretically these will increase battery time four or five fold. Since I get 2 hours with the Acer battery I should get about 10 hours with these models. The prices are $170 and $200 for these two batteries. They weight about 1.7 pounds and the dimensions are 7.75x4.5x.75(in).

The external power supply offered by The Battery Geeks also come in 118 and 130 WH as well as 200 WH. These power supplies are only a tad bigger (8.93x4.84x.87(in) 1.87 lbs) but offer more voltage outputs, 3 - 28 Vdc as opposed to only 15 - 21 Vdc for the batteries. The advantage is being able to power other devices other than the laptop. As you can guess, the prices are a bit more, $250 and $300 for the 118 and 130 WH versions.

Tekkeon offers the myPower All 3450 external battery which is rated at 50 WH which would theoretically last 4 hours when used with my Acer C110. Its a bit smaller than the battery geek devices (3.28 x 6.80 x .92) and much lighter weighing just under 1 lb. Also, with the smaller capacity its less expensive $120. And unlike the Battery Geeks external batteries the myPower All has a USB port so anything you can charge via your computer USB port you can charge with this device. The disadvantage is that the 3450 will not charge my Acer internal battery. The Acer C110 is rated for 20 Vdc and the 3450 only charges devices that are rated for 16V or less.

Currently I am leaning toward the myPower All 3450 mainly because of the lower price and smaller size but may hold off right now. In the two weeks I have been using the Acer I have not had a need for the extra juice. At home and at work I am mostly plugged in and at the end of my daily train commute I usually have 30% left on the internal battery. Where this device would be needed is when I travel for off site training or conferences.

I'll keep you posted.