A few months ago, Pennsylvania attorney Sara Austin wrote to tell me about a neat little portable battery called the Halo Pocket Charger 2200, and she let me turn her email into a post with her review of the product. Shortly before the holidays, Powerocks sent me a free review sample of a similar product called the Super Magicstick. The Magicstick contains a 2800 mAh rechargeable battery (so it holds a larger charge than the Halo unit that Sara Austin reviewed) but it uses a similar design — a small tube that is easy to toss into a briefcase or a purse or even a pocket on your pants or jacket. I tested the Magicstick extensively when I was traveling on business before the holidays and while traveling for pleasure during the holidays. It was very handy to have this easy-to-carry external battery with me, and I suspect that many others would like it just as much as I did. You can get it on Amazon for about $30 to $35.
The Magicstick is a small tube about 3.6" long and almost 0.9" in diameter. It has a smooth, brushed-aluminum finish that reminds me of an iMac or a MacBook Air. I like the rounded design because you don't have to worry about any sharp edges when the Magicstick comes in contact with something else in your briefcase (or scratching you in your pocket), and the brushed-aluminum finish is resistant to scratches so the unit should stand up to wear and tear.
The unit that I tested is silver, but on Amazon you can currently also get it in black, blue, purple, red, pink, green and gold. And the Powerocks website indicates that there are other colors available, so you might see more choices when you shop for it.
The Magicstick only weighs 2.6 ounces. Thus, you'll barely notice it in a briefcase or purse, and you will only somewhat notice it in a pants or coat pocket.
One end of the Magicstick has two ports — a USB port and a micro USB port.
To use the device to charge your iPhone, take the cord that came with your iPhone that has both a USB connector and a Lightning connector (iPhone 5/5s) or 30-pin connector (iPhone 4S and earlier). (The Magicstick doesn't come with the cord to connect to your iPhone, which makes sense because different devices need different cords.) My preference is to use the Magicstick with an iBoltz XS five inch cord that I reviewed last year, which lets me charge my iPhone (or iPad) on a desk without having lots of extra cord get in my way.
The Magicstick holds a 2800 mAh charge which is more than enough to fully charge an iPhone and almost enough to charge an iPhone twice. (For example, an iPhone 5S has a 1560 mAh battery, and an iPhone 4 has a 1420 mAg battery.) The Magicstick puts out 1 Amp of power so it is designed for the iPhone, but you can use it with an iPad if you need to do so, although it won't charge as fast as a regular iPad wall adapter that puts out 2.1 Amps and the 2800 mAh battery will only give you a partial charge on an iPad. When I used the Magicstick with my iPad Air, a fully-charged Magicstick was able to add about 20% battery life to the iPad Air, and that took about two hours.
The Magicstick comes with a USB to micro USB cord that you use to charge the device. Powerocks says that it takes about 5 hours to fully charge the Magicstick, and based on my tests, that sounds about right. You can get a sense of how much charge is in a Magicstick by pressing a button on the end of the device, which cause the button to glow for a second in one of three colors: blue (70% to 100% charged), green (30% to 70% charged) or red (0% to 30% charged).
The Magicstick comes with a cloth carrying pouch, but I never used it. I just tossed the Magicstick into my briefcase and it held up fine.
I see that Powerocks just recently announced a similar device called the Flash Magicstick, which includes all of the features of the Super Magicstick that I reviewed but is slightly longer and adds an LED flashlight. It will retail for $49.99 and will be available in the first quarter of 2014. I've used other chargers that have an LED flashlight and I've never found a need for the flashlight, so the Flash Magicstick does not appeal to me. Nevertheless, I mention it here because if you are shopping for a Magicstick and see both the Super and the Flash for sale, now you know the difference.
My iPhone usually has no problems lasting all day on a charge, but there are times when it runs through its battery more quickly, such as if it is having trouble maintaining a cellular connection or if I am tethering my iPad to my iPhone's 4G LTE. I never want to run out of power when I am in Court or in a meeting but I cannot always depend upon having easy access to an outlet. Thus, I consider a small, portable, easy-to-carry external battery an incredibly useful accessory for the iPhone, and the Powerocks Super Magicstick hits the sweet spot: a great size, shape and weight, more than enough power for a iPhone and even enough to add a little extra juice to an iPad, and a reasonable price. If you are in the market for an external battery, this is a good one. I see that Amazon has different prices depending upon the color you select and who you buy it from, but the range is $30 to $35.
Click here to get the Magicstick on Amazon ($30 to $35).