According to a recent survey, mobile phone service is the second-lowest ranked industry when it comes to customer satisfaction. Yes, billing problems are at the top of the list, but how many times have you complained about your cell phone battery dying too soon, and too often? This week in our "Does It Work?" report, a look at some new battery boosters that promise to give you the juice you need.
It's happened to all of us at one time or another whether you're working, or just want to make weekend plans. You pick up your cell phone to make a call and no power. And with no outlet to re-charge, you're out of luck, right? Well, not anymore.
"Companies are looking for lots of different ways to help extend your battery life, or let you recharge the power of your cell phone on the fly," says Stephen Jacobs of the Rochester Institute of Technology. "The battery power isn't meeting people's needs. Companies are trying to bridge this gap because its obvious that it's a consumer need."
We started seeing that need met about a year ago, about the time we tested a product called the Quick Charger. Pop in a few AAA batteries, attach it to your cell phone and it will power your phone, even charge it up in some cases. It got mixed results when we tested it last year. But now there's a whole new generation of products that are supposed to work even better.
Three products that promise to boost your juice. The Instant Power Charger, the Sidewinder, and the Cellboost. The Cellboost is a disposable device that plugs right into your phone, giving you an extra hour of talk time the instant your battery dies. "It fits in your pocket, your briefcase, your glove compartment. It has no cords, it has no maintenance required," says Todd Ruhalter, President of Compact Power Systems.
The Zinc-Air Instant Power Charger is activated when you open the package, and comes with a smartcord to connect to your phone. "Once the Instant Power is used for three different charges, then you simply dispose of it," says Lisa Turner, President of InTouch USA.
And you have the blue-colored Sidewinder, which has a hand crank you simply turn Bret Heidkamp, CEO of innovative solutions & technologies "You're actually powering your cell phone directly. Two minutes of winding usually gives you about five or six minutes of talk time," says Bret Heidkamp, CEO of Innovative Solutions & Technologies.
All of the devices look cool, but will they help our cell phone users in a crunch? Our volunteers let their batteries die, so we could find out. Michele tried the Instant Power Charger, Alan, the Cellboost, and Danielle toyed with the Sidewinder.
"I was shocked that the Cellboost worked and I was amazed how quickly my cell phone was charged... I could use it instantly," says Allan.
Michele was also pleasantly surprised with the Instant Power Charger "I plugged it in and I waited for a couple of seconds and it turned on right away. I can bring it in my bag and go places."
As for the Sidewinder, although the company claims Danielle's cell phone is compatible, it didn't give her any power. "My battery is still dead." So, we tested the Sidewinder on another make and model, and the battery did charge instantly.
"Does It Work?" We give these 3 products a "yes."
As a result of our test, the president of the company that makes the Sidewinder tells us they're taking the Motorola T-730 off their web site. That's the model of Danielle's cell phone.
The Sidewinder is $25, the Instant Power product is $15. And Cellboost is just $6. All three are available online by clicking on the link above.