What do you do when you're out of power? Plug into the wall of course. But that isn't an option if you're out and about. Sure you can slip on a battery case like the PhoneSuit Elite or the Mophie Juice Pack Plus, but what if you carry other gadgets with you? That's where PhoneSuit's Primo Power Core comes into play. It's a portable power plant that can fit quite uncomfortably inside your pocket waiting to serve you with its massive 8200mAh of pure battery pack juice not from concentrate. We've never reviewed such mighty power before, so this is going to be interesting for all of us.
Phones, tablets, iPods, wireless headphones - you name it, this is a portable battery pack you're not going to want to miss. So check out the full review right after the jump!
Unlike other backup battery packs we've reviewed in the past, the Primo Power Core can only be recharged off the grid with the included wall adapter. And for that 8200mAh of potentially lifesaving energy you'll be dropping $100 on the Primo Power Core.
Multi-device compatibility is the Primo Power Core's forte, and for that we're presented with a whole bunch of adapter tips that are compatible with all Apple, Samsung, BlackBerry, Motorola, HTC, LG, Nokia, Sony, Palm and various other devices that charge up via USB, mini-USB and mico-USB. That's an impressive amount of compatibility right there. Of course you can opt to use your own device's charging cable as long as its got a USB plug on one end with the Primo Power Core.
AS far as ports go, there are a total of 3 including your traditional USB output that you'll be using to charge up all of your gadgets, a DC input that is used to charge up the Primo Power Core itself and last but not least, a somewhat useful 12V DC output that enables you to charge up bigger gadgets like netbooks should you need to. One thing to note is the Primo Power Core's USB output that is rated at 2.1amps which should charge up the iPad and iPad 2 fairly quickly as intended with the supplied wall adapter that comes with the iPads. More on that later on though.
The Primo Power Core wouldn't fall under the most pocketable backup battery pack around, though it's definitely portable enough for such a huge battery capacity. As far as the build quality goes, there's nothing here to wow you except for that shiny mirror front finish. There's a strong plasticky feeling to it with plastic creaking noises a plenty that give you that sense of "cheapness". Unfortunately, there are no rubber feet to be found on the back side of the device so expect to have no control over it.
While PhoneSuit has designed the Primo Power Core with a fairly sleek look, I can't help but think it looks a bit outdated with the iPhone-like plastic chrome bezel. With portable battery packs such as the Gum Plus around, PhoneSuit should take note of flawless good design and solid build quality. What's more interesting to look at are the 3 bright, blue LED circles on the front of the device which let you know the remaining power as well as blink while you recharge the Primo Power Core. As soon as you see all 3 blue circles blink at once, that means you're ready to go and charging has finished. It would have been nice to see the traditional green and red status lights instead of blue for charging though.
How does PhoneSuit's Primo Power Core actually perform when put through its paces? Really well it turns out minus some glorified product claims we've managed to bust while testing it out with some popular gadgets like the iPhone 4 and iPad 2. That juicy 8200mAh battery has been able to fully recharge the iPhone 4 four times from a completely depleted state with a bit more fuel left in the tank. So far PhoneSuit has stood up to its claims. Of course it's safe to say that most other smarphones will see the same results while smaller gadgets like iPods can be fully recharged up to 7 times. Charging up the iPhone 4 has been quick, however charging up the iPad and iPad 2 is much painfully slower even while the Primo Power Core boasts a 2.1amp rated USB output.
I was able to recharge my iPad 2 from a complete dead state all the way up to 80% on two occasions until the Primo Power Core completely died. So we didn't see the promised 1 full charge promised by PhoneSuit here, but it's good enough for us, especially when the iPad's internal battery literally lasts for days. Other tablets will most likely see much better results as the iPad's internal battery is a one-of-a-kind beast.
All in all this is one lifesaver of a solid performing portable batter backup pack. If all this power for $100 is a bit too much for what you're looking for, you can always step it down a notch and check out the 6600mAh battery packing Mojo Power Vault at $70. Either way, you can't go wrong with either of these external batteries.