Review

Review: Ontrion LifeCharge Pack with LED Light

How many times have you heard the dreaded "beep" of your phone, warning you that you have only a few minutes of battery life left? We've all been there, and generally the solution is to either charge your phone at the nearest outlet or turn it off and conserve the precious few minutes of power it has left. Today we're going to review a third option: the Ontrion LifeCharge Pack with LED light.

The LifeCharge Pack is a small device that packs a 4500mAh battery. That size is three times larger than the rated power for Apple's iPhone 5, and twice as large as the Samsung Galaxy S3. Based on the specs, the device should allow a user to run their phone for days without needing to plug into a fixed power source, although we don't recommend using this as anything more than a stopgap for a tablet like the iPad or Kindle Fire.

Dimensions

  • 94 x 43 x24 mm, 113g

Battery

  • Capacity: 4500 mAh
  • Input: 5v-1 amp
  • Output: 5v-1 amp
  • Full Charge Time: 6.5 Hours

Display

  • Four blue LED lights show capacity

Connections

  • Input: MicroUSB
  • Output: USB

Although the Ontrion LifeCharge Pack comes in both black and white, we only received the black version to review. The device looks slick with a glossy piano black top and bottom and a chrome band around the middle. The charger has only a single button on the top, a micro USB port on the side to charge it, and a regular USB port on another side to charge other devices. There's also an LED next to the regular USB port to use as a makeshift flashlight.

A single button press illuminates four blue LEDs that tell the user how much power is left for charging. If your phone is connected via the USB cable, then the single button press begins the charging function. Holding the power button down will turn the flashlight LED on and off.

While the flashlight is nice in a pinch, it won't be something you want to rely on in most situations since the LED flash on your cell phone is far brighter and more useful. I would've prefered to see a red laser pointer on the LifeCharge Pack, as that would be handy to use during presentations while on the go. Overall, though, that's a minor quibble.

So how does the Ontrion LifeCharge Pack with LED light hold up in the real world? To test the device's power, I decided to test the performance by using only the LifeCharge Pack to power our Samsung Galaxy S3. On a normal day, my S3 usually gets down to around 30% capacity. I plug the S3 into the wall before I got to bed so that I'm at 100% the next morning. Wash, rinse, repeat.

I ran the test in two different ways to see if there was a noticable difference in capacity if the LifeCharge was left plugged in, even after the phone was fully charged.

  • Replace the wall charge with the Ontrion LifeCharge Pack overnight
  • Fully charge the S3 with the Ontrion LifeCharge Pack then disconnect before bed

I'm happy to report that both tests performed identically, so there's no concern with "overcharging" and draining the battery of the LifeCharge Pack by leaving it plugged into an already charged device. In each case, using a fully charged LifeCharge Pack, I was able to charge my Samsung Galaxy S3 up to 100% two nights in a row, and up to 85% on the third night. In essence, this device allowed me to use my phone for four straight days without having to plug it into the wall--an impressive feat.

How fast does the LifeCharge Pack charge up the phone? In my tests, I was getting roughly 1% of extra battery power for every two minutes of charging, based on the battery usage meter shown on the Galaxy S3. By comparison, plugging directly into the wall gave me roughly 1% of extra battery power for every 1.5 minutes of charging. This was an unscientific study: Regular background processes, such as Touchdown (email), were always running in the background, but the comparisons give a good ratio.

Overall, I can highly recommend this product for anyone who needs a way to charge when you're not near a power outlet. The performance is very good, providing over half a week of regular phone usage on a fully charged LifeCharge Pack. Its compact size makes it easy to put into a pocket or in a bag, and it does what it says it does: charge your portable device.

There are a few minor complaints. First, the LED flashlight isn't much of a feature. Sure, it'll work in a pinch, but in most cases you'd be better off using an app on your smartphone that allows you to activate the LED flash as a flashlight as it's much brighter. It would've been nice for the road warrior to have a laser pointer instead. The other minor issue is that it costs $45, and there are other devices with cheaper price points and/or higher battery capacities. However, since I haven't had a chance to use any of those devices, I can't say how they compare to the LifeCharge Pack.

The only other minor issue is that of branding. I've been calling it the "LifeCharge Pack," because that's what the box says. However the back of the device says "Power Bank," and has no company branding at all. Even Ontrion's own page adds to the confusion, calling it the LifeCharge Power Bank in a few spots. As Shakespeare says, "That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

That said, if you need a way to power your smartphone while away from a power outlet, don't hesitate to pick up the Ontrion LifeCharge Pack with LED Light.

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27 Comments

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I have an iPhone and I use the Mophie Juice case for it. I find it very convenient. If I run low on juice I just flip a switch and the case recharges the phone. Nothing extra to carry around and it protects the phone. When charging the case juice is used first then the phones. A mini USB is used to charge both the phone and the case. I plug it in when I go to sleep. It doubles the usage time of my phone which is fine for me.

I thought the 3000 mAh backup battery I bought a few weeks ago was plenty of power. At least two full charges for my iPhone - what more could I ask for?

Then I see these 4000 and 10000 mAh packs. Blah.

Torolol said,
what the deal with pointless, low-density-information, metro-like-tiles pictures ?

They've been doing it for ages and i like it, it's very handy.
Gives a brief easy to digest highlight of the pros, cons, price and verdict.

Torolol said,
what the deal with pointless, low-density-information, metro-like-tiles pictures ?

Are you referring to the verdict badge at the end? Of the headings like, "Design," "Performance," and "Conclusion?"

The former has a lot of information in it, the latter are used to break up sections of the article.

metro tiles are abolutely, totally fugly when no information whatsoever on the tiles.

using 'A' tile(no -S) is enough, using multiple useless, information-less, colorless tiles are just silly, such section break can be look nicer without the tile-ness.

Torolol said,
metro tiles are abolutely, totally fugly when no information whatsoever on the tiles.

using 'A' tile(no -S) is enough, using multiple useless, information-less, colorless tiles are just silly, such section break can be look nicer without the tile-ness.

Ah i see what you mean now. Yeah looks a bit odd. I actually quite like it though for some reason.

I need something like this! I always find myself running low when travelling... running around in the airport searching for an outlet (and therefore have to sit by it for ages) or keep the phone off. I have a spare battery, but swapping it out is a pain... Might look into this! Thanks for the write-up

Poof said,
While I'm sure this product is great, I personally recommend the Anker 10000mah external battery, only $39.99.

I have two of them 'just in case'. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009USAJCC

Anker ftw. I've got the Astro E4 13000mAh, Astro 5600mAh, and I got my gf the Astro Mini 3000mAh

Great products, and great customer service.

ooh, 13000mAh? Anker is great. Large amounts of capacity with a low price and great customer service. Oh yeah, it also charges at up to 3 amps between ports.

ahinson said,
I was looking for something like that for my Kindle fire.

It works with the Fire -- you'll only get an extra 50% charge or so out of it. I didn't run full tests on tablets because of the lower battery capacity on the Ontrion device.

This appears to be a solution to an artificially created problem. Just buy only phones that you can swap in a spare battery and the manufacturers will have to stop trying to rip us off.

Spicoli said,
This appears to be a solution to an artificially created problem. Just buy only phones that you can swap in a spare battery and the manufacturers will have to stop trying to rip us off.

Well that rules out iPhones, all recent Windows Phones, and several Android phones then, lol.

Spicoli said,
This appears to be a solution to an artificially created problem. Just buy only phones that you can swap in a spare battery and the manufacturers will have to stop trying to rip us off.

You still have to carry the extra battery with you, and to replace it, you have to power off the phone. Not a huge deal, but this is much more convenient.

TCLN Ryster said,

Well that rules out iPhones, all recent Windows Phones, and several Android phones then, lol.

Yes, it does. They're all copying Apple's battery scam because it works. I'm surprised more don't try the similar proprietary cable scam. If you buy Apple, you clearly don't mind getting ripped off with single source hardware, so sorry. The rest of us have options.

Fezmid said,

You still have to carry the extra battery with you, and to replace it, you have to power off the phone. Not a huge deal, but this is much more convenient.

Are you joking? Having to carry this thing, and a cable, and having this thing hang off your phone is more convenient than a battery that's smaller than a credit card and will add another day two your power time? I carry a couple on travel.

Spicoli said,
This appears to be a solution to an artificially created problem. Just buy only phones that you can swap in a spare battery and the manufacturers will have to stop trying to rip us off.

While true, getting my otterbox case off my phone to do so is a VERY scary process one that feels like you will break the phone doing, thus I don't do it until I have to.

Spicoli said,
This appears to be a solution to an artificially created problem. Just buy only phones that you can swap in a spare battery and the manufacturers will have to stop trying to rip us off.
Charging the extra battery is not as easy as charging this thing.

Upsides to external power packs: they're safer to carry around in a packed bag (I'd be a little weary about carrying flimsy bare batteries amongst everything else in my bag...), can choose to charge the phone at will instead of waiting to drain down each pack one by one, and best of all - you can charge a friend's phone.

... plus I'd rather not be limited to picking just phones with removable back cases.

Spicoli said,
Are you joking? Having to carry this thing, and a cable, and having this thing hang off your phone is more convenient than a battery that's smaller than a credit card and will add another day two your power time? I carry a couple on travel.

And when you buy a new phone, what happens to your old batteries? Unless the company doesn't change the form factor on the phone, you won't be able to use them anymore.