Lifestyles of the Mobile Road Warrior - All-Day Power

Working on the move outside of the office presents a challenge when it comes to powering your mobile tech gadgets. And it becomes even more daunting for folks that need to have all-day power for their devices. Smartphone users in particular know that feeling of sitting down for dinner after 6PM only to have their critical handheld die on them because it has been exhausted throughout the day.

For devices with non-user-replaceable batteries such as the iPhone, it can indeed be difficult to get your work done beyond the regular 9-5. But just because you're on the go and nowhere near an outlet, it doesn't mean you have to be without juice and interrupt your work. As you'll see in this installment of Lifestyles of the Mobile Road Warrior, you can easily keep all your devices running way beyond your evening dinner, all with the help of just one compact and lightweight battery.


It's been close to two years since my purchase of the Energizer XP8000 mobile battery pack. In my initial review, I gave the unit a healthy recommendation, despite being disappointed with the performance of it's big brother, the XP18000, that I also tested. Little did I know when making my $99 investment that it would become key for keeping not only my smartphone topped up, but fully power and charge my complete arsenal of mobile tech gadgets, both now and well into the future.

Everything you see here...
Why go with a mobile battery pack as opposed to just buying a spare battery for [insert favorite device name here]? For one thing, buying spare batteries for each device I use becomes expensive. Second, that spare battery immediately becomes obsolete if I change devices or the device no longer works, making my investment a loss. Third, it means I need to interrupt my work, power down and swap batteries - not cool when you're in the middle of a file download or important call. Finally, I didn't want to tote around and remember to keep charged multiple batteries, especially since in the middle of a busy schedule it can be very easy to forget.

...powered and charged using this!
As I've already highlighted in the introduction, devices such as the iPhone don't have a user-replaceable battery. Such candidates cannot even benefit from extended capacity batteries, which also have the disadvantage of making your devices larger, heavier, and impossible to fit into belt cases and docking cradles. Slates are another popular mobile tech device for which you cannot buy spare batteries and swap. For these cases in particular, choosing a mobile battery pack that you can bring along and plug into for juice will provide maximum benefit, allowing you to stay powered on and connected all-day.

Looking at the Energizer XP8000, you would find it hard to believe just how versatile this mobile battery pack really is. Measuring in at a compact 4.3x2.9x0.9 inches (roughly the size of a BlackBerry smartphone) and weighing in at exactly 7.9oz, it's perfectly capable of finding a home in any jacket pocket or ride along on your belt. Rated at 30WH with a 8000mAh capacity, it is more than able to power whatever type of mobile device you happen to have, be it a smartphone, mobile hotspot, feature phone, tablet, netbook, ultrabook and even a mid-size notebook.

Universal power connectivity
This versatility is made possible thanks to a trio of power outputs on the device, grouped into voltages ranging from 5 volts all the way to 20 volts. You get a standard USB charging port pushing 5V, a barrel connector that can supply 9 to 12 volts, and another barrel connector set to provide 16 to 20 volts. The Energizer XP8000 contains sophisticated circuitry able to determine the voltage of the device you are connecting to and supply the required amount of current.

Cables supplied with the XP8000...
You'll also find a 19V charging jack for the AC adapter supplied with the XP8000. This adapter does more than just charge the li-poly cells inside the XP8000 - you can in fact daisy-chain the XP8000 with the AC adapter and your device, and feed power to both. What that means is that you can leave your smartphone's charging cord at home, plug into the XP8000 for juice, and then plug the XP8000's AC adapter into a wall socket to power both devices. When the XP8000 is done charging, the circuitry inside is clever enough to turn the charging feature off, yet continue to feed power thru the connectors to keep powering and charging whatever it is you have connected to the XP8000. The supplied AC adapter is rated for 3.16A output at DC 19V, enough to provide power to a wide range of notebooks on the market today, along with stuff you'll be buying in the future.

...along with tips for smartphones...
Supplied with the XP8000 and XP18000 is a wide selection of power tips designed to work with whatever mobile tech gadget you have. For smartphones and other handheld gadgets, you have a microUSB and miniUSB tip, along with branded tips for Samsung, LG, Nokia and Apple hardware. You get a pair of color-coded cables that plugs into each of the voltage outputs on the XP8000 along with a third, curly cable for the 5V USB connector. You use these cables to plug the various power tips into, and then connect with your device.

...notebooks and netbooks
In addition to the six power tips for smartphones, you also get nine barrel tips for use with notebooks, netbooks, etc. These are designed to work with pretty much any gadget that can accommodate a barrel connector, and doesn't necessarily have to be a mobile device. I've been able to power USB hubs, external 3.5 inch hard drives, external 5.25 inch burners and various other devices that normally require power from a wall wart. If you're thinking of doing something similar, the 70WH capacity of the larger XP18000 will more than double your run time away from an outlet.

The other great thing about the XP8000 is it's ability to stay charged over an extended period of time. The spec sheet claims up to 1 year's ability to hold and maintain a full charge, and I can definitely concur with that - I've had my unit sit idle for months at a time when unused yet still show a full four bars of capacity. It's a testament to the high-quality of the lithium-polymer cells Energizer has chosen to use with their product, and should offer many years of reliable performance.

Some of you may at this point be thinking, why plug into a battery that I need to take along when my notebook/netbook already has USB ports available? True, you can plug in your smaller mobile devices to charge, but you'll be dealing with multiple drawbacks. Firstly, it means using up a precious USB port - something that you may in fact need for actual data devices like a thumb drive, external optical drive and/or RF dongle for a wireless mouse/trackball. Second, I've found that notebook/netbook USB ports simply don't provide the amps needed to properly charge devices, and will in fact refuse to wake up a device that has gone completely dead. Third, it means I sacrifice my notebook/netbook battery to power and charge my other devices, reducing my unplugged run time by as much as 50%. Fourth, I need to have my notebook/netbook either powered on or have sleep-and-charge enabled - difficult to do if my notebook/netbook is in it's gear bag and blocks port access. Finally, some devices will have issues as Windows may mistake them for unknown hardware and automatically begin a search for drivers - that means interrupting your work, dealing with an incorrect driver installation, or in the worst case, messing up your OS and making your device unrecognizable.

All in all, I've been able to get incredible use out of the XP8000 when it comes to powering my smartphone and mobile hotspot. Likewise, I know if I get a slate in the near future it will be able to power that too. It can power and charge my netbook in an instant if the need arises. And I've found that the mobile power pack can even double as a notebook AC adapter, letting you leave your standard power brick at home.


Although the XP8000 is perfectly capable of powering and charging even a larger notebook, I decided to go with a spare netbook battery for my 10" HP 210 Mini netbook. True, it did only cost me $38, but given the performance HP's battery provides, along with the netbook's power-sipping internals, this solution is far superior.

Forget looking for outlets - just grab this!
As far as size and weight is concerned, netbook batteries are very easy to carry along, even the 6-cell 66WH 5700mAh unit I have. I can fit it in a bigger jacket pocket just fine, or even a back pants pocket if need be. Seeing how I can already achieve close to 8 hours on a single charge from one battery, carrying a second ensures I can get anywhere from 9 to 15 hours of use out of my netbook, all the while totally oblivious when it comes to my surroundings.

When it does come time to swapping my netbook battery, I simply pause my work and hibernate. Given that it's just a one-time interruption to a 9 hour or longer work flow, that 3-minute intermission is totally manageable. At the end of an exhausting day I can easily locate a power outlet, plug my netbook's AC adapter in and recharge my batteries as needed.

Taking care of your batteries will reward you
One thing I would definitely advise is that you rotate your netbook batteries frequently in order to obtain equal use out of them. It can be very easy to leave one in use all the time while that 2nd battery just sits in your gear bag for weeks or months - swap them periodically. It'll ensure you not only provide equal wear on the cells, but that each pack gets a regular charge. Over the last 10 months or so, this routine has worked well for me and I'm actually seeing 0% wear on both my batteries, meaning that they continue to work at their maximum design capacity.

In a similar fashion, doing a regular full discharge and charge cycle will help maintain the charging ability of your batteries. All battery technologies degrade over time, so you will eventually need to replace your batteries (or your device). By looking after your batteries and making sure they are rotated and charged regularly, you can not only ensure a long life for your equipment, but most importantly, get the maximum run time for your netbook.

On a final note, I did briefly contemplate purchasing a multipurpose adapter for my netbook - the kind that works in an airline seat as well as in a car and 120V AC. But looking at how so many modern cars these days come with 120V outlets standard, such an expense is unnecessary, and I don't need the extra weight of a fancy adapter in my gear bag. In the rare event that I do need juice sitting in a car or on a flight, and I don't have my AC adapter with me, the XP8000 can power my netbook and/or charge my battery for that brief period of time.


Being a full-time mobile road warrior, and given my experience working with the gadgets I have, I can state with confidence that the combination of Energizer XP8000 and spare netbook battery have worked out amazingly well, performing beyond my expectations. I can effortlessly tackle even the most grueling 15-hour day, with ample power to spare for all of my devices, yet sacrifice nothing when it comes to productivity, connectivity or mobility.

Even more appealing is the fact that the XP8000 is perfectly capable of powering and charging gadgets I buy in the future, making it a no-brains investment. Since it can outlast and work with multiple devices, I know it will serve me well for a long time yet.

With all-day power now available for every mobile tech device in my arsenal, there's virtually nothing stopping me from getting my work done. "Go anywhere, do anything" now becomes reality!


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