31 August 2013



Here at The Test Pit we are not simply dedicated to a life of gadgetry and gizmos - some of us also have a social life. And so this week one of our illustrious team members had to attend a wedding; get to our age and that seems to happen every other week.

And so he set off into deepest darkest Wales of all places, fearing that a long drive and a whole day spent away from an electrical socket would leave his only tie to civilisation - his smartphone - flatter than his enthusiasm to be there. Fortunately help was literally at hand thanks to the PNY USB Power Pack.

We've previously featured another USB power pack from Panasonic, and although that particular device was very good, the PNY was much better, and not just because it's about half the size. To be honest there isn't a great deal we can write about something that charges your gadgets, so instead of fannying about (us?) we'll get down to the nitty gritty.

About the size of two small match boxes, the PNY USB Power Pack is wrapped in brushed aluminium and features a red LCD display. That is probably the key factor in making this one of the best USB chargers available, as the display gives a clear readout of the percentage of charge in the device, both when charging other gadgets and when being juiced up itself.

We tried out the 5200 mAh version that features a micro USB port for getting the energy in (so your phone charger is fine - even for Apple-ites as there is an included USB cable) and two full sized USB ports for getting it out, both in 1A and 2.1A. Charging the thing up to full took about four hours which the LCD display helpfully showed the progress of.

Being able to charge two devices at once is a major plus, but not just for having two flat gadgets. Because of the large 5200 mAh capacity our intrepid reporter found he got two full phone charges out it, more than enough for a long journey and day filled with snapping photos of friends drinking and falling over. The tiny size of the Power Pack meant it could be easily stashed in a jacket pocket and taken anywhere.

There are a lot of USB chargers out there at the moment and until smartphone battery technology catches up with the phones themselves, these handy gadgets are always going to prove essential. Our money is firmly in the PNY camp after trialling the Power Pack as they have managed to add, by way of the display, an element of user control to something that has in the past been rather vague.

One might say the power is all ours, but we'd never make stupid puns.

Around £45

Visit www.pny.com

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