Back in January, I attended my fourth CES since starting this website and, as always, it was very fun. As usual, I brought along a few battery banks because when you’re at CES you’ll inevitably need some extra power. While I brought three battery banks with me, none of them had a built-in Micro-USB or Lightning cable since I brought a few separate cables with me to plug-in with. Somewhere along the way both of my Lightning cables were either lost or stolen, still not sure which.
I pretty much had no way of charging my iPhone and that’s when I ran across Phonesuit at CES. I chatted with Phonesuit reps (my predicament never came up in conversation) and they offered me a battery bank to check out and review. At first glance, the Phonesuit Journey Ultra looked like I could utilize it to get me out of my situation and it did indeed save my hide. Read on for this review of the Phonesuit Journey Ultra battery bank.
The Phonesuit Journey Ultra has the following features and specifications:
- 5,000mAh battery
- Built-in Lightning cable
- Built-in MicroUSB cable
- USB-A output
- MicroUSB charging input
- Charge up to 3 devices at once
What’s In The Box
- Phonesuit Journey Ultra
- MicroUSB to USB-A cable
- Instructions and documentation
The Journey Ultra has a pretty nice build. It isn’t made of aluminum or metal but has a finish that makes it look as if it is. The finish is also very grippy which is great for keeping it in your hand. The grippy texture also is much better than metal if you’re not using a case on your phone, it won’t scratch up your device. The Apple Lightning cable is built into the left side of the Phonesuit Journey Ultra and the MicroUSB cable is built into the right side. These are neatly tucked into the body of the Journey Ultra and give the device an overall clean look.
Right below the Lightning cable is the battery life indicator with blue LED lights showing how much charge is left in the Journey Ultra. Below the MicroUSB cable is the power button, just push that to either check the battery level or start charging a device when plugged in. At the bottom is the USB-A port for charging a third device and the MicroUSB port for charging the Journey Ultra itself. Overall the design isn’t drop-dead gorgeous with a bunch of sexy materials but it is functional and does the job it needs to do.
Ease of Use
This is pretty much a plug-and-play device so it’s super easy to use but let me tell you how I was able to utilize the Phonesuit Journey Ultra to get me through CES without a Lightning cable for my iPhone. Thanks to the built-in Lightning cable on the Journey Ultra, I was able to charge my iPhone for that day without a problem. The thing is, by the end of the day at CES, both my iPhone and the Journey would need charging.
I solved the problem by charging both the iPhone and the Phonesuit Journey Ultra at the same time using the 8-port USB hub I had brought along. I simply plugged my iPhone into the Journey Ultra and used the MicroUSB cable to plug the Journey Ultra into the USB hub which was plugged into the wall outlet. Both the battery bank and the iPhone charged perfectly fine, giving me a fully charged iPhone and fully charged backup battery bank. This feature is called pass-through charging and it was a life saver for me.
Now I know there are other battery banks that offer built-in cables like the Journey Ultra but the point of my story is, I didn’t happen to bring one along as I probably should have. This battery bank is super easy to use and I love the convenience of the cables being built-in.
Battery life will vary depending on how many devices you are charging at the same time and how much juice your devices need. The Phonesuit Journey Ultra has an advanced chipset and power management function that is supposed to prioritize power to your devices. I own an iPhone 7 Plus and I used this device to replenish my heavily used iPhone at CES at least once a night with plenty of juice left. I always charged it overnight with the phone just to be sure I always had that extra juice just in case. Battery life will just be heavily dependent on your use case.
Priced at $59.99USD, this device is pretty in line with the competition in the same category and features like pass-through charging and built-in cables make it very valuable.
The Phonesuit Journey Ultra is basically going to have a home alongside my other larger (no cable) battery banks simply because of those built-in cables and pass-through charging capabilities.