I have a number of portable battery chargers sitting in a desk drawer. From Mophie to brands I’ve never heard of before — including Gooloo — each have been used one or two times before I forget that I even have them. It’s not that these products are terrible — the exact opposite in fact — it’s just with quick charging and wireless charging being all the rage these days and each OEM’s push to create better battery life, I’ve found the need for a portable charger to be dwindling.
There are still a number of people, though, who need these devices, and have come to rely on them when they’re not near a power outlet or don’t have their chargers with them.
The way I see it, in order for these companies to continue to sell these devices well, they need an ace-in-the-hole, so to speak. These companies need something extra or something different to stand out. Enter the Gooloo Jumpstarter Power Bank, a portable charger that not only charges any number of devices, but adds a few handy emergency features to help you in a pinch. Even so, are these extras enough to make it worth your money? Let’s take a look.
What’s in the box
- 7,500 mAh power bank (weight: 325 grams)
- Multi-device charging cable with a 40-pin iPod connector, micro-USB connector and lightning port connector.
- 12V input/output car charger
- 14V-1A switching adapter
Using the charger
When I first picked up the Gooloo charger and gave it a look, I threw it into my bag without much thought. The charger carries a dual Input (14V – 1A)/Output (15v – 10A) port, two USB output charging ports — one at 5V-1A, the other at 5v-2A) and a LED flashlight. The charger itself is about the size of a portable hard drive, about six inches tall, three inches wide and an inch thick.
All this, and the power bank itself, is housed in a shiny white plastic housing. Despite it being a smooth finish, I found the power bank to be grippy, a good thing when you’re fumbling around with it in the dark. Gooloo added a convenient blue three light charge indicator that allows users to see how much juice is left. Though, in my use over the past few weeks, I’ve never seen the third light actually turn on. That’s not to say that it’s not fully charged or that the light doesn’t actually work, but I’ve just never seen it on.
Normally, every other charger I’ve used comes with a partial charge so it can be used right out the gate. The first day I took this device for a spin, I found my LG G4 needing a quick charge (gaming can be such a draining thing) and grabbed the power bank. As I plugged the device in with the multi-charging cord, and hit the power button (as per the instructions) I found my G4’s battery life going nowhere but down. Speaking of the multi-charging cable, I found it quite handy for charging a good number of devices. Those needing one with USB-C however will have to look elsewhere for now as it doesn’t have it. Given that very few devices are packing that right now, it’s not a big deal, but something Gooloo should look at adding in future models.
Apparently, unlike most other power banks, this didn’t come with a wee bit of juice right out the gate. Inconvenient but not a deal breaker. When I got home I threw the power bank on its charger and let it charge. The initial charge took about five hours, and subsequent charges of the power bank took about three and a half hours. The Gooloo web site says the device charges in about three hours and my charger is getting there, but it’s a little over that in my use cases.
When I first got the power bank, I took it with me camping. Rather than pack my DSLR camera, I typically rely on my LG G4 for my day-to-day shooting, so keeping that charged is a necessity. However, rather than keep my truck running to charge the device, I just plugged it into the power bank.
I was a bit skeptical about only having 7,500 mAhs to work with considering the G4’s battery is 3,000 mAh, but I got two full charges out of the power bank and a little extra to top it off when needed. It was perfect for the two-day camping trip.
As far as charging devices is concerned, it’s kind of the same story. The power bank does quite well in charging devices, but compared to quick charging, the Jumpstarter could certainly charge devices a bit faster. It took my iPad Air and iPad Mini 2 about five and a half hours to charge each, and when I used the power bank to charge my G4, it took about three and a half hours to bring it from 15 percent to full.
It should be noted that this was with the one-amp output and the two-amp charger cut about an hour from each iPad’s recharging times. The same can be said for the G4’s charge time, which is a bit more on-par with today’s chargers I’ve used. Also, as I used the device more, I found each subsequent charging times to drop by a few minutes. Currently, my iPads take about four hours to charge and my G4 takes about two and a half hours to charge.
So typical device charging aside this power bank boasts a few extra perks that make this device worth having around. Besides the convenient flashlight that has an always on, strobe, or flashing options, the Jumpstarter has an added caveat. As you could guess by the name, it also has the ability to jump start ones car.
While summer isn’t typically a normal time to see dead batteries here in Wyoming — typically it’s winter when it’s -10 out — sometimes you forget to turn the lights off in your car. For the sake of this review, a friend let me test out this feature by purposely leaving the lights of an old car on. After we made sure the car wouldn’t turn over I plugged the Jumpstarter in.
The instructions suggest that the Jumpstarter be plugged into the 12v port in the car (car charger plugged into the 15V-10A output port) and sit for 5-10 minutes. For my testing purposes, five minutes wasn’t enough of a charge, but after 10 minutes and a bit of a struggle to turn over, the car eventually roared to life.
While in the winter, and the common negative degree weather, I will opt for the quicker jumper cables option of jump starting a car, though having this option in a portable charger is handy.
There’s one thing to note though. In an email correspondence with Gooloo, I was told to make sure that nothing else is plugged in and drawing power when trying to jump start a car. With a number of people leaving a variety of items plugged in, this makes sense. You don’t want anything else taking the juice away when you’re trying to jump start your car. Though the only time I saw this warning was in the email and it’s nowhere in the instructions or on the box.
I’ll admit, when I was asked to review the Gooloo portable jumpstarter charger I was a bit apprehensive at first — as the desk drawer of chargers will tell you, I seldom use these things — but after using it for two weeks it’s become a staple in my laptop bag.
Sure, it’s not the fastest or smallest power bank I’ve ever used, but it’s well built and easy to find at the bottom of my bag or when it’s dark, and for me, that outweighs the need for speed. Though, that being said, others may find themselves desiring something a bit faster.
The added bonuses of jumpstarting one’s car and the device’s flashlight make this power bank an added tool worth keeping in one’s car. If I didn’t keep this with my laptop (something I take everywhere) it would be resting in the center console of my Silverado.
The device isn’t without faults, it’s a bit thick for some people’s tastes, again, it’s not the fastest charger, and the instructions and warnings for the device leave a little bit to be desired and it’s missing USB-C. But for my money, the pros outweigh the cons. You get a lot of features, multiple levels of output, and a convenient cord that allows your charge a wide variety of devices, and that makes it worth it in the end.
The power bank is available on Amazon for $59.99. Normally for that price you’ll get the charger and charging cord and that’s it. With everything Gooloo packs in with this charger, you’d be hard pressed to find a better bang for your buck.