by Jerry Jackson
Anyone who travels with their notebook understands the need for more battery life. Whether you’re talking about powering a laptop or your new iPhone, it always seems like a power outlet is nowhere to be found while traveling. You could bring extra batteries for your notebook, but what about for your BlackBerry and your iPod? If you need extra battery power for multiple devices the best option is a universal power source, such as the Duracell PowerSource Mobile 100, that provides both AC power and DC power from its own internal battery. Is the Duracell PowerSource Mobile 100 the best battery solution for road warriors? Let’s find out.
Duracell PowerSource Mobile 100 Specifications:
- Combines a 100-watt inverter with a lightweight, high-output 4.0 amp-hour lithium-ion battery pack
- Converts 12-volt DC power from a vehicle battery into 120-volt AC power
- Three-prong AC outlet to handle all chargers and adapters for mobile electronics
- Two USB charge ports
- Blue LED On/Off indicator
- DC cable with vehicle and airplane connector
- Lightweight AC charging adapter
- LED battery status / charge status indicator
- Unit dimensions (L x W x H): 5.375 x 3.125 x 1.5” (13.7 x 7.9 x 3.8 cm)
- Unit weight: 1.1 lb (0.5 kg)
- One-year warranty
The first thing you need to do after opening the Duracell PowerSource Mobile 100 is plug it into a 120v wall outlet to charge. When the orange charging indicator on the power switch turns green the outlet is ready to power your devices. Users also have the option of charging the device inside an automobile via a 12v power jack. Charging times vary between both 120v alternating current and 12v direct current, as a wall outlet chrages the Mobile 100 in a little more than four hours and a car power outlet charges the Mobile 100 in just two hours.
Above the orange/green charge indicator is the blue LED on/off button. You have to press and hold the power button for several seconds to turn the PowerSource Mobile 100 on or off.
To use the Duracell PowerSource Mobile 100 for AC powered devices, the instructions tell you to turn the device on prior to plugging in your device. That said, I was able to get the PowerSource Mobile 100 to power any device even if I plugged it in prior to turning on the PowerSource Mobile 100.
When the outlet is fully charged it is capable of powering a wide range of devices. With a Dell Latitude E6400 running in “Power Saver” mode, the runtime was better coming in at one hour and 19 minutes. That’s actually surprisingly similar to the performance of an Energizer Portable Power Outlet we previously tested, which powered a Dell Inspiron 1525 for 70 minutes.
I was able to fully charge a Motorola Q9m smartphone via the power outlet on the Mobile 100 and was able to charge an 30GB iPod Video via one of the USB ports.
Unlike some other mobile inverters/outlets, the Mobile 100 worked with every notebook power adapter we tried, including Dell-branded 65w and 90w adapters.
Noise is a problem with many mobile outlets/inverters and we expected the built-in cooling fan inside the PowerSource Mobile 100 to sound like a small weedwacker. As it turned out, the Mobile 100 is whisper quiet, and even when the outlet is being stressed while charging a laptop the cooling fan remains so quiet that you can only hear it if you put your ear next to the air vents.
There were only two real “problems” that we encountered during our testing of the Duracell PowerSource Mobile 100. First, the main on/off switch is located in an exposed position that makes it possible for the device to be turned on or off inside a laptop bag. During one business trip to New York I arrived at my destination only to discover that the Mobile 100 had been turned on in transit and the battery was partially drained. While we’re on the subject of partially drained batteries, the only other minor annoyance with the Mobile 100 is that the battery indicator really needs to have multiple LEDs to show you exactly how much charge is left. As it stands now, you really only know when there’s a full charge, partial charge, and a nearly depleated charge.
The idea of a very lightweight inverter with battery has become a popular idea over the last few years as more and more consumers use mobile electronics with limited battery life. So far in practice the mobile power offerings are indeed helpful, but not quite perfect. The Duracell PowerSource Mobile 100 exceeded our expectations and worked perfectly with every notebook and mobile device we tested, but laptop users may not be satisfied with only another hour or so of battery life. We would still recommend the Duracell PowerSource Mobile 100 to any laptop user who needs a portable backup battery, but a second laptop battery will provide even better battery life for the same amount of money or less.
- Easy to use
- Charges from AC wall adapter or inside car
- Powerful enough to handle any notebook we tested with it.
- Power button can be accidentally pressed inside a bag
- Battery life indicator could use multiple levels to let you know exactly how much charge is left