Let's get this out of the way: this is a product that has a lower case i at the start of its name, yet it isn't an Apple product. It has always annoyed us when tech companies other than Apple do that; as if a lower case i makes a product fancy and desirable. Fortunately we drank a lot of coffee today so we're in a good mood and are willing to overlook that issue. Oh, and this is a pretty great mobile power pack. Walk this way...
There are a tonne of devices like this out there these days: mobile batteries which can be charged up and taken with you to use when your phone or tablet's juice runs low. However, most include some sort of wire which plugs into the phone's micro USB socket, meaning you carry that about as well as the power pack. Not so with the iWalk Link as this little beauty is a solid unit that attaches directly and allows you to still use your device without look like a wire-trailing wally.
In terms of design, the iWalk Link is a relatively slender thing and just a hair wider than most phones. We tested it on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and found it to be about as wide as the phablet. Once plugged in, even on smaller phones, it is still very easy to pick the two up together, and having the iWalk attached to the base of the handset feels quite natural. Also, the iWalk Link includes a cap to protect the micro USB connector when not in use – something that we, with gadget-crammed bags, really appreciate. There is micro USB port on the side to allow you to charge it up, and you get a cable and little rope tie to keep you cap attached included. A nice touch there.
Speaking of attachments, the iWalk features an extended micro USB connector which is a tad longer than your ordinary charging wire connector. This means you don't have to remove your phone or tablet from whatever protective case you use, making it much less of a faff to use. And this really does work well – we're currently testing a chunky Urban Armor Gear case on the Note 3 and the iWalk still managed to plug in without bother.
In terms of charging capacity, we discovered that (again on the Note 3 – a big phone) the iWalk managed to supply the nearly flat handset with about 70% of a full battery before giving up the ghost. This is pretty good, and blew several of the other mobile chargers we've recently tested out of the water. The speed at which the charging took place was also noteworthy (pun intended) as the whole process lasted no longer than an hour. And of course, because there are no wires hanging around, it is very easy to continue to use your device while it is being charged. Bear in mind, however, that we were testing this thing on a phone with a huge 5.7 inch power-hungry screen; if you have a smaller handset then you are probably going to get a full charge from the iWalk, maybe even with change left over.