Kanex GoPower Watch Charger REVIEW A step in the right direction
I have been a fan of the Apple ecosystem since the iPod Classic. Since then, I have advanced through a variety of iPhones, iPads and now I have an iPhone 7 plus, iPad Air 2, #2 iPad Mini 4 (for my children) a MacBook Pro 15″ and an Apple Watch Sport Gen 1. Interestingly, as I have upgraded my iPhones yearly and my iPads about every 2 years, I still have the first generation Apple watch. Truthfully, the second generation changes were not enough of advancement to drive me to upgrade. When generation 3 gets here, you better bet I will be on board.
I have absolutely loved having the Apple Watch on my wrist. It has really revolutionized texting and how I interact with my phone/contacts while at work. A message will chime and I can check the importance with a flick of my wrist. Gone are the days of rudely pulling my phone out to look at the message. Whether you play RuneBlade with the watch, use it as an activity tracker, catch some Pokemon with Pokemon Go or solely use it as a timepiece, you will likely realize that your day is longer than your 205mAh (28mm) to 246 mAh (42mm) battery can survive. When it comes to complaints, this has been one of the biggest Apple Watch complaints. The battery needs at a minimum nightly charging.
Up until recently, you could only get the Apple Watch inductive charger from Apple. Many third party accessories were created that utilized Apple’s cable in some manner. Some allowed you to wrap around a central core; some forced you to weave the cable through a dock and then plug the USB-A end into a hidden port in the base. Either way, you had to buy 2 devices (a cable and the charger base). This was not that portable did not work well for a hiker/backpacker/camper. When I took my boys camping (Cub Scouts), I would carry extra batteries and power cords. Luckily Kanex solves this problem with their GoPower Watch design.
The product is shipped in a white rectangular box with yellow accents. The cover displays the product nicely and promises 6x charging of the Apple Watch. The most exciting factor was the integrated inductive charger. Lift up the front magnetic cover of the packaging and notice a clear window, directly showcasing the charger. The device is roughly 3 1/16 inches x 3 1/8 inches and just at an inch tall and weighs 4.9 oz. The appearance of the device, a space grey square with 3 1/4″ white central charging disk, is very tech sexy. The inside flap shows the power button and the methods to utilize the charger. Additionally the 4000 mAh battery promises to charge the Apple Watch and iPhone simultaneously. The rear of the packaging also details the built-in power surge protection, for your charging devices and the priority charging detection. You can use the device as a passthrough, to charge your devices and when done, it will charge itself.
I pulled out the GoPower Watch device and charged it overnight, using the included USB A to USB-Micro adaptor. There is no included wall charger, which is not really that big of a problem. You can charge it with your computer USB Port or phone charging bricks. Personally, this is not a big deal, as we all have some kind of USB charger lying around. The device charges in about 2 hours. When I charged it overnight, it was fully charged and ready by morning. You will notice the power button with surrounding LED bank. If you press the button, it will illuminate the blue LED and alert you to the remaining power. These are designed to represent 25, 50, 75 and 100% remaining power.
I took my Apple Watch Sport (42mm Gen 1) nestled comfortably in a Catalyst Case, and placed it upon the charger. The induction charger immediately began to charge my watch and I was greeted with the characteristic “ding” that I have come to love. For my first test, my apple watch started at 67% at 9:49pm and by 10:15pm it was at 92%. That charging rate is actually pretty good, and approximated a 1A output (I do not have a way to test this). Pressing the power button, all 4 LED remained illuminated. For the next test, and with the watch still at 92% power, I plugged in my iPhone 7 plus into the accessory USB port. To test the rate of charging, I plugged my Drok USB tester into the USB port and plugged my apple iPhone 7plus into output 2 (power) on the Drok tester. My iPhone was at 27% and charged to a max of 79% at 5V 1.67A. I found this interesting as the packaging and website list the output as only 1A output.
For a 4000 mAh battery, I would expect more than 6 charges for a 250mAh device (Apple Watch 42mm). Assuming 80% efficiency, which is reasonable for the industry, I would expect 3000 mAh of the 4000mAh to be available. Assuming 6 charges only with the device, that equates to a 37.5% efficiency. If my iPhone 7 plus battery is 2950 mAh and the apple watch is 250 mAh I would not expect to be able to fully charge both devices. This proved true in a variety of tests. On day 2, I started my iPhone 7 plus at 1% and charged the phone until the Kanex GoPower Watch power ran out. I was able to get to 90% charge on my iPhone 7, which was better than I expected. It appears that the efficiency of the battery may be closer to 50%, which seems a little underwhelming. I repeatedly obtained output current of 1.5–1.66 A at 5V. Even at this efficiency, I would expect to charge my Apple Watch ~8–9 times.
I tend to carry 10,000 mAh batteries when I travel/camp. With the typical 80% efficiency, I can expect ~2 charges of my iPhone 7 plus and Apple Watch. This tends to work wonderfully for a weekend camping trip. I really love the design of the Kanex GoPower Watch charger, but actually want it to do more. The integrated induction charger is very well done and the device is a really good weight. It is made of plastic and has a slippery/glossy feel to it. I actually would like some kind of hook/attachment method to strap this to a backpack. Additionally, an accessory solar charger would be appreciated as well. If anything, I would actually appreciate a larger more efficient battery inside of the Kanex device. I would love to be able to carry a single charger, to be able to charge my phone and watch. Perhaps they will make a bigger brother to this device, for just this case. Honestly, I would sacrifice some of the lighter weight nature of the device for more charge.
For my third test, I wanted to try to only use the Kanex Charger for my watch. Starting this past Monday, I waited until my watch was at 50% and recharged to full. Once the watch reached 100%, I removed it from the charger. It is now Saturday and I still have 2 of the wedges (50% power) left. If your watch is completely depleted, you can expect likely ~ 6 charges, which is about the suggested number of charges on the packaging. With a battery of 4000mAh, I would hope that the efficiency would be better.
I love the idea of the device and it does everything that the packaging says it should do. I guess ultimately, I am spoiled and want my tech to do more. I have reached out to the Kanex customer service department via email and they have been responsive to my questions. As a consumer, I greatly appreciate quality gear and a company that is available to answer questions. Based on the review, tests and the promises documented on the package, the Kanex GoPower Watch is a solid 4/5. If you are hoping that this will charge your phone and your watch, this is not the device for you. Think of this device as a travel watch charger that also can provide backup power for another device. In an emergency, this will keep your phone from fully depleting. With my Apple Watch charging cable wrapped within my charging stand, I am glad not to have to purchase another cable or to remove the cable from the charger. I would definitely recommend the device for Apple Watch users and more specifically, those who travel.
BUY FROM AMAZON
Originally published at macsources.com on March 6, 2017.