Here’s an insanely handy travel gadget

May 30, 2024
2 mins read
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Summary

Belkin Boostcharge Hybrid

Chargers are useless if there’s nothing to charge them with, but PAT PILCHER has discovered a nifty space-saving solution to this dilemma.

$129.99

If you’re a red-blooded gadget fetishist, then electricity (you know, the stuff that keeps all those wonderful shiny toys running) is easily as valuable as the air we breathe. Being able to keep that smartphone, watch, laptop, and other widget charged is a major issue, especially when you’re travelling.

Unfortunately, a charger is about as useful as a cat door on a nuclear sub if there’s no mains power socket handy, and this happens to be an issue that crops up with startling regularity when you’re away from home.

Luckily, Belkin must have been feeling the pain of many travellers as they’ve launched a super nifty charger with a built-in battery. This handy feature means it’ll act as both a power brick and a power bank to juice up your gadgets, even when you’re away from a convenient power socket.

Belkin has called it the BoostCharge Hybrid Wall Charger 25W + Power Bank 5K, which, aside from being a bit of a mouthful, tells you exactly what it does. With twin USB ports, 110/220/240v AC Power support, and multiple clip-on mains plugs for the US, EU and UK plus AU/NZ/China, it’ll work nearly anywhere, curing your travel gadget charging woes without you having to break a sweat.

The real appeal of the BoostCharge Hybrid is that it reduces the gear I need to pack. In the past, I used to pack a charger, cables and a separate battery power bank so I was never caught short. With the BoostCharge Hybrid, I only need to pack one gadget, saving weight and scarce luggage space. I’m really not kidding about it being compact, either. It measures just 76.2mm x 58.4mm x 25.4mm, weighing in at a mere 453g, making it the perfect addition to any laptop bag.

Belkin has crammed a 5,000 mAh battery and USB-C and USB-A ports (yes, it can simultaneously charge two devices) into the BoostCharge Hybrid’s Tardis-like dimensions. Plugging it into the mains not only supplies juice to your gear but also charges the battery, which can be used later, when away from a wall socket, to deliver a charge to widgets while you’re on the move.

After just over 30 minutes, my phone’s battery went from zero to 58%. I got similar results when plugging in my flat Kindle Scribe alongside my phone. Another nice touch is the bank of small white LEDs showing the charge status when you press a small button next to the USB ports. It’s a simple but very handy additional feature. On a recent flight from Sydney to Wellington, I confirmed that similar charge times applied for my phone when away from the mains, making the BoostCharge Hybrid a godsend for long flights.

Interestingly, the manual revealed two ways of topping up the built-in power bank. First (and most obviously) is plugging the BoostCharge into a mains socket, which saw it fully replenished in just over two hours. The other, less intuitive way is to use the USB-C port. Counter-intuitively, this was slightly quicker to fully charge the integrated battery.

Having it plugged in and supplying juice to my gear is handy, but knowing that it’s also charging when I plug it in is even better. Thanks to its twin USB ports, it can charge itself and recharge two devices. If you’re going on a trip and taking a few gadgets away, the BoostCharge Hybrid should have a place in your laptop bag. Its sheer utility and compact size make it an absolute gem.

https://www.belkin.com/au/hybrid-wall-charger-25w-power-bank-5k/P-BPZ003.html

 

Pat has been talking about tech on TV, radio and print for over 20 years, having served time as a TV tech guy and currently penning reviews for Witchdoctor. He loves nothing more than rolling his sleeves up and playing with shiny gadgets.

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