If you’re a fan of Gearist then you know that we aim for a rather high degree of detail in our reviews. However, while getting note together for this particular review, it dawned on me that sometimes the simplicity and ease of use of a product is parts of what makes it good and that being verbose isn’t really necessary. With that in mind, let me introduce you to a new charger for your smartphone, the PowerBand from Joby.
Construction of the Joby PowerBand is fairly straightforward. The battery pack measures 5.9 x 1.1 x 10.5 cm (2.32 x 0.43 x 4.13 in) and weighs in at only 3.1 ounces so right away, we’re talking about a very pocket-ready and lightweight package. On the side of the pack is the exposed input (using micro-USB) port for charging the pack while on the opposite side there is an integrated, 3.5 inch long cord with the charging head on the end – in our case, we’re using an iPhone 6S. The cord rests within a channel in the pack so the line is mostly undisturbed and protected.
On the back of the pack lies a small button with four LED lights indicating the amount of charge left in the battery pack as well as the charging status when the pack itself is being charged. Also on the back of the case is what gives the JOBY PoerwBand the “BAND” part of its name. There is a series of silicone bands – a web, if you will – which stretch to fit the PowerBand to any device whether it is enclosed in a case or not (more on the encased phone thing in a second).
The portability of this device is really fantastic and I’ve take to keeping mine in my messenger bag much of the time since it’s simply so compact that it never gets in the way.
The JOBY PowerBand rocks a 3500 mAh LiPo battery which is advertised as being able to charge your phone fully, twice – depending on the device. I found that it charged my iPhone 6S from completely dead about 1.8 times which is quite impressive for something so lightweight and small.
As for the pack working with your phone, the PowerBand comes in two flavors; Apple Lightening plug and micro-USB for Android devices. The beauty of this pack is that you don’t have to have a permanently attached pack that is part of a case that makes your phone that much larger. In this case you simply take the PowerBand on and off as needed. As for the attachment process, all you do is stretch the silicone bands around the front edges of the phone and that’s it. The bands may possibly block a small corner of the screen but are easily moved if you must have access to those spots.
The true advantage of the PowerBand over similar, standalone battery packs is that you can easily set down the phone and not have to worry about two separate things flopping around. With all this simple goodness I do need to point out a drawback; while trying out the JOBY PowerBand I’ve also been using the Nüüd smartphone case from LifeProof [REVIEW HERE]. While the plug on Apple’s Lightning cord fits into the port on the bottom of the case for easy access to the Lightning port on the phone, the plug – or rather, the plastic around the plug – on the JOBY PowerBand can’t fit through the space in the case. So, when I’ve used it with the Nüüd case, I’ve had to remove the case until it was charged. I’m not sure if this is an Apple thing (which would not be surprising at all) or if it’s simply a compatibility misstep nor can I say how this plug interacts with other cases.
Despite the fact that the JOBY PowerBand’s plug can’t make its way to the plug with one of our testing cases, I still love using this thing. It’s light and powerful with integration so simple it’s like the did what we’ve all been doing for ages and just using simple rubber (or silicone) bands to hold things together. You know how we like elegant simplicity in all types of gear and the PowerBand demonstrates this with aplomb.
At $59 for iPhone and $49 for Android devices, the JOBY PowerBand is a bit on the pricier side of battery pack with the amount of juice that it has. However, I think it’s well worth considering the package and convenience as a whole and it’s simplicity of use.
Born and raised in the great state of Virginia, Brandon is a former opera singer (true story) who’s had the outdoors flowing through his veins since day one. Brandon now lives in Colorado with his daughter Sydney (AKA, Baby Gearist).