Make us your home page

How to get a phone charge in 15 minutes

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.

How to get a phone charge in 15 minutes 08/08/14 [Last modified: Friday, August 8, 2014 7:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, New York Times.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Triad Retail Media names Sherry Smith as CEO


    ST. PETERSBURG — Triad Retail Media, a St. Petersburg-based digital ads company, said CEO Roger Berdusco is "leaving the company to pursue new opportunities" and a member of the executive team, Sherry Smith, is taking over.

    Roger Berdusco is stepping down as CEO at Triad Retail Media to pursue other opportunities. [Courtesy of Triad Retail Media]
  2. Two new condo projects for same street in downtown St. Pete

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — It lacks the panache and name recognition of Beach Drive, but 4th Avenue N in downtown St. Petersburg is becoming a condo row in its own right.

    Bezu, a condo project planned at 100 4th Ave. N in downtown St. Petersburg, will have 24 units including a three-level penthouse with infinity pool.
[Courtesy of Clear ph Design]
  3. AAA expects gas prices in Tampa Bay will continue to fall


    Ticking slowly and steadily, regular gas prices have receded for the last 10 consecutive days. The average unleaded gas price in Florida is $2.67 this morning, a nickel cheaper than a week ago. In Tampa Bay, the current average unleaded gas has dropped 7 cents from a week ago to $2.62. The national average for regular …

    Gas prices for regular gas continue to decline. In Tampa Bay, the current average unleaded gas is down 7 cents from a week ago at $2.62 a gallon. [Times file photo]
  4. Kiran and Pallavi Patel commit $200 million for Clearwater medical school

    Real Estate

    CLEARWATER — Tampa Bay philanthropists Dr. Kiran Patel and his wife, Dr. Pallavi Patel are spending $200 million to create and promote a Tampa Bay regional campus for the private Nova Southeastern University.

    Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel, prolific Tampa Bay philanthropists, are putting up $200 million to create and run a new medical school under Nova Southeastern University. Here is a rendering of the proposed campus [Courtesy of Southestern Noval University}
  5. USF to rename sports management program for Vinik family


    The University of South Florida will name a business program for the Vinik family at a Tuesday event.

    Tampa Bay Lightning owner and chairman Jeff Vinik and his wife, Penny, in 2010.