Say you've got 15 minutes in an airport between flights and your phone is nearly dead. What do you do?
You could find an outlet and plug in your phone, watch the battery meter inch up as the minutes run down, and pray that you gain enough power to get you through your day. Or you admit defeat and let your phone die.
But over the past few weeks, I've been testing a remarkable third option, a device that lets you fully charge your phone in just 15 minutes. Well, sort of.
The device is an Ultrapak battery pack, an external charger made by Unu Electronics. External battery packs aren't novel. These little devices are essentially just batteries in a case — you charge it up by plugging it into the wall then plugging your phone in to suck up the power stored in the pack.
But the Ultrapak does something unusual: It sucks up power about eight times faster than other battery packs, the firm says. It's so fast that, in about 15 minutes of charging, the pack gets enough juice to charge a standard smartphone one time.
In other words, if you've got just 15 minutes to charge your device, you should plug the Ultrapak into the wall instead of your phone. The Ultrapak will rapidly ingest power. Then, when you get on the plane, plug your phone into the Ultrapak. Over the next couple hours, your phone will slowly sip the power in the Ultrapak, eventually getting to 100 percent.
It really works. I use my iPhone a lot, and I frequently find myself between meetings — in coffee shops, airports — with just a few minutes to power up. In those instances, the Ultrapak, which I keep stuffed in my work bag, has become a lifesaver.
The Ultrapak comes in two sizes. The large one, which sells for $100, is about the size of a men's wallet and weighs about 10 ounces. When fully charged, a process that takes about an hour and a half, it has enough power to charge up a phone about four times (or a tablet one time).
The smaller one, which sells for $60, is about half the size and carries a third of the battery capacity. Both units ingest enough power in 15 minutes to charge a phone one time. If there's a better way to power up quickly, I haven't seen it.