Rechargeable batteries are something that I cannot live without. My mobile music players, my digital camera, portable TV, Smartphones, cordless telephone, remote controlled toys and various other electronic remote control all use some form of rechargeable battery in my home. Since I usually have spare backups of AA batteries, I can easily replace drained batteries as I need too. Whenever I am outdoors though, this becomes a problem with units like the Apple iPod Touch. The internal battery is self contained and not replaceable. On most occasions, I would be able to either connect my Apple iPod Touch to my laptop or outlet at home or elsewhere. There are instances when I am not able to do so. This becomes a real inconvenience when I am listening to music on the go. I cannot just swap in a new battery as I need to.
The past few months, I have been trying to use a product called the Fueltank UNO.
What is included in the box:
1: Fueltank UNO
2: AC adapter with approximately 2 meter long cable
3: 2 adapters plus a coupon for another of your choice
4: Standard black pouch with draw string
This product promises to provide 4X the battery life on standard mobile devices. This is a real generalized term and not really applicable to any of my circumstances as I have discovered quickly. The Fueltank UNO is a rectangular external battery pack that recharges in around 2 hours. Less when the power level indicator shows power still remaining:
(3 green LED - 1 yellow LED - 2 red LED)
Green: High energy level when the red,the yellow and the green LEDs are lit.
Yellow: Low energy level when only the red and the yellow LEDs are lit.
Red: Very low and almost empty when only the red LEDs are lit.
The specifications indicate that the built in battery is a lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 2200 mAh. Not very large when my standard rechargeable NiMH AA batteries have a capacity of 2200 mAh (milli amp hours). Typically I can buy 4 X AA 2200 mAh NiMH batteries for around $10.00 USD and a charger for around $10.00 USD also.
The unit I have comes with 1 universal mini USB adapter plug and 1 iPod Touch/iPhone plug (approximately 6 cm in length each). This works great for most of my devices since the mini USB works on all of my non Apple mobile devices. The manufacturer allows you to select your own cable connector when placing an order. The manufacturer states that 3000 different devices are supported therefore most major name brands and some little know brand products should be compatible to one of the connection cables available. If you use a mobile device that uses a mini USB power connection or your product happens to be manufactured by a popular name brand like Apple, Motorola, Sony/Ericsson, Blackberry, Garmin or HTC etc, you will be OK in getting the proper adapter for the Fueltank UNO.
There are a number of issues I have with the Fueltank UNO.
1: The device cannot be used while being connected to the Fueltank UNO. Very awkward to carry since you now have two solid devices plus a flexible short cable in between. The cable can easily become disconnected either at the point of the battery pack or at the connection point of the device itself unless both are held firmly while using.
2: The recharge process is very slow since the unit operates like a trickle charger and not your standard AC adapter which charges devices far quicker. Some devices may require you to leave the device off or unused while recharging otherwise the power will only be supplied to the operational portion and no additional power going to recharge the batteri
3: I can only recharge my iPod Touch 2 times before the Fueltank UNO needs recharging. The manufacturer states 4X on the box which is misleading as far as Apple users goes since the image on the box also shows an iPhone connected. Something small like a Bluetooth headset for mobile phones might be more suited for this type of product. Connect to recharge and leave alone until completely recharged.
4: There is a blue indicator light that comes on when the adapter cable is connected therefore you cannot leave the cable connected to the battery pack when not in use otherwise you will drain the battery over time. This means, you must be careful that you do not misplace the cable when you are traveling or in a hurry.
5: The outer case does not have the look and feel of a quality product. Case flexes in the middle when squeezed. The angled sides of the case also makes the unit difficult to hold easily.
My suggestions to the manufacturer:
1: Redesign the case to be flatter with the sides angling the standard 90 degrees.
2: Design a connection adapter that is cableless and allows a connection to the external battery pack with the battery situated underneath the unit thus allowing both to be held with one hand only.
3: Allow for a simple ON/OFF switch to prevent the battery from being accidentally drained over time when the adapter cable is still connected.
4: Provide at least a 4000 mAh lithium-ion battery inside since this is designed as a power recharging unit and not an emergency unit. Emergency power units are available from numerous manufactuers that use 1 or 2 AA batteries and work very well.
5: Provide actual indicator lights that are surface mounted instead of lights that shine through the flimsy plastic casing.
I have been reviewing mobile products for over 2 decades now, and I have found the Fueltank UNO to be the most difficult product I have reviewed in a very long time. The price of $49.95 USD is just too high for such a product at this low quality level. I would suggest a different option like the Energizer Energi to Go products or the dual AA battery iPodpower2 unit also from Energizer. You need to purchase at least 2 AA rechargebale batteries and a recharging unit separately but well worth it. Make sure the AA batteries have 2200 mAh or higher capacity rating.
- Over priced
- Cannot use the mobile device easily with the Fueltank UNO connected
- Does not provide the 4X recharging capability with my iPod Touch or other USB based Smartphone devices
- Adapter cables too easy to lose or misplace
4 out of 10
The product unfortunately failed to provide the features and functionality that I would expect in such a product at the price point. The Fueltank UNO from Callpod is not something I would recommend at the current $49.95 USD price.
Final Verdict: Not Recommended