I've covered a lot of external battery packs for charging smartphones and tablets here on Hardware 2.0, but this is the first that can not only help to keep your mobile devices running, but help keep you mobile by getting your car running too!
Introducing the new Cyntur JumperPack Mini, a small, portable 12,000 mAh lithium-ion battery pack that not only has a 2.1 Amp fast-charge USB port, but also sports jumper cables that can be used to jumpstart 12 volt cars, trucks, SUVs, boats, or even snowmobiles. According to the spec sheet, anything up to and including an 8-cylinder engine can be jumped using the portable device, and when you're done you can pack it all away into a glove compartment.
There's also a built-in 200 lumen LED flashlight to help you find your way around at night, which also doubles as a strobe to keep you safe.
Over the past few weeks I've had a chance to use the Cyntur JumperPack Mini under real-world conditions, and it performed admirably. I even used it to start a stone cold 2.0 liter diesel engine that had a dead battery, and it operated the heater plugs and cranked it just like a new battery would.
The pack comes pre-charged, and the makers claim you can get 25 starts out of it. I got over a dozen starts out of mine before I decided to charge it (using the supplied AC charger), and it was showing no signs of weakening. The battery will hold its charge for a year, so it's ideal for storing in the glove compartment or trunk.
The pack is IPX3 (splashproof/weatherproof) and it didn't seem to mind being used in the rain at all. It's also robust, a fact I discovered when I performed an impromptu drop test onto concrete.
For those who might be worried about connecting the cables up the wrong way, the jumper cables have built in "SmartJump" technology to prevent damage if it is connected up incorrectly.
I'm impressed. Very impressed.
My go-to jumpstarter pack is normally my professional-grade Sealy RoadStart unit (you can see that in one of the photos above). It's big and bulky, and it's needed to be in order to be able to handle big engines, especially big diesel engines. In my testing, the handheld Cyntur JumperPack Mini does the same job (ignoring the fact that my Sealy pack will start 24 volt vehicles too, whereas the Cyntur is 12 volt only). The 250 Amps of starting power it has been more than enough to start every petrol and diesel engine I've come across.
I love the case the pack comes in, and I think that printing the instructions inside the case on waterproof fabric is a nice touch indeed. There are not leaflets or instruction booklets to blow away or get soggy.
Everything about the pack is nice and well thought out, the jumper cables are easy to connect and disconnect, and the clamps are easy to use, and there are no knobs or dials that need to be adjusted before jumping a vehicle. You just plug the jumper cables into the socket (they'll only go in one way so there are no worries about getting it wrong), clamp it to the battery terminals, and you're ready to fire up the car.
One feature I wish it had was the ability to charge it from a vehicle's accessory socket (cigarette lighter). My Sealy pack gives me that option, and it would be nice to be able to charge up the Cyntur JumperPack Mini that way too. However, since it offers me 25 jumps, and the lithium-ion battery doesn't suffer from deep-cycle issues that lead-acid batteries like the one inside the Sealy does (basically, they don't like being drained too much), then this is not a huge problem. It could be a bad day if you forget to put the pack back in the vehicle after charging if you ever need it.
As for charging a smartphone or tablet, the makers claim you get five smartphone recharges, or one and a half tablet recharges, and from my tests this seems about right.
The Cyntur JumperPack Mini costs $99 and is available either direct from Cyntur or your local Target store.