If you’ve ever been caught in that situation when you run out of battery on your mobile phone, you’ll know how irritating and inconvenient it can be. You might be on the train back from a busy meeting and need to tell the wife that you are late, or you could just be out shopping. The Philips Emergency Phone Charger could be the answer to your prayers.
The charger consists of two parts. The first is the main body of the charger, a metal cylinder topped with the brains and a connection. The body houses a single AA battery, supplied, which is why we think this is really clever: AA batteries are easy to get your hands on, no matter where you are. Slide the battery in and screw down the cap and you are done.
The second component is the tips of the charger. There are five different tips in the package, which broadly support Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Nokia and Motorola phones. There are two plugs for Nokia phones, the skinny type (for example E71) and the slightly fatter one. The Motorola charger is actually a Mini-USB, so won’t work with the newer Motorola phones, but it will work with many other devices powered by Mini-USB, such as older BlackBerry handsets.
Whilst this covers most bases, it doesn’t of course, contain the Micro-USB which are now being widely adopted for many handsets. All you have to do is plug the 2.5mm jack into the charger body, connect up your phone and it starts charging.
A small blue LED starts flashing to let you know that something is happening – you should also get some response from the phone, but if you have a totally flat battery, it sometimes takes a while to recover.
We tested the Samsung tip on a handset with a completely dead battery (having been unused for over a year) and found that it started to breathe life back into the phone so that we could power it up and get going. We also tested it on a Nokia E71 and found no problems. Philips say that you’ll get about 30 minutes talk time from a AA battery, but this will depend on your phone, whether it has a huge touchscreen, or is going to start downloading all your emails and so on.
So this isn’t a final solution by any means, but it will get life back into a number of different phones. The great advantage here is that you can source AA batteries easily in just about any city or town on the planet. You may even have AA batteries in other devices you are carrying. It also means that you don’t need access to the mains to get things going again.
But you do only get a last gasp out of your device. It is enough for that last phonecall to say you are late, or to book a taxi or similar – this isn’t going to fully charge your phone. It’ll give you about 3 hours of standby time, but again, this depends on your phone and also the health of your battery.
The omission of the Micro-USB is a pain, because as more and more phones are moving over to this standard, you might find your Emergency Battery Charger is only good for so long. We wouldn’t be surprised, however, if Philips added this tip at some stage in the future.
Otherwise, it does what it says on the packet.