Raboo Smart Charger Review and Interview

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While touring CES 2018, Nick and I made our way down to Eureka Park, located in the lower level of the Sands Expo Center. Eureka Park provided an entirely different experience than the remainder of the show, serving as a specialized area for startups to exhibit their new ideas, products, and services. Just down the aisle from the Indiegogo Booth, I had the pleasure of meeting the Father/Son team (Ghaith Abu Eideh and Maher Abu Eideh) from Raboo charger. The duo was demonstrating their “Worlds First Smart Charger,” a device that connects and disconnects automatically as your device needs power. This smart charger is supposed to eliminate trickle charging, overheating and overcharging stresses upon our rechargeable batteries and thus reduce some of the waste in our environment. It is common knowledge that overcharging and rapidly charging batteries can lead to premature battery degradation. The Raboo smart charger may be the device that helps to keep your batteries lasting longer.

The product arrived in 4 3/4 inches wide by 4 inches by 2 1/16 inches thick flat black cardboard box with a white charger on the cover. Located atop the charger, you will see the rather cute logo, which resembles a hexagonal rabbit with one ear up and one ear down. The packaging promises intelligent charging, battery protection, Bluetooth connection and requires you to download the App from the App Store or Google Play Store. The rear face of the box is a little text heavy but summarizes the features of the device well. The device is compatible with Android and iOS phones and tablets, uses wireless Bluetooth connection, eliminates trickle charging/overcharging and allows you to keep your device safely plugged in. Additionally, the device ships with four international adapters

Lifting the top from the box, I was surprised to see that the included charger was not the white device (as shown on the cover). The included black charger measured 1 3/4 inches wide by 2 1/4 inches tall by 1 1/8 inches thick. There is a single USB A port along the bottom, and the back has a cutout to accommodate one of the four included universal adaptors. The adaptors include a type A adaptor (USA, Canada, Mexico, Japan), Type C (Europe, South America, and Asia), type G (Great Britain, Ireland), Type I (Australia, China, Argentina, New Zealand). Also within the packaging was a double-sided tri-panel instruction/product manual.

To use the raboo smart charger, start by choosing the appropriate adaptor for your country and slide it onto the charger. You will need to supply your own charging cable, as no cable was included with this kit. Once plugged into power, a green LED will illuminate along the bottom right of the device (your left). Next, navigate to the App store on your device and download the App. Once downloaded, open the App. The App will ask you for permission to access your location. Initially, I thought that this was rather odd and the description did not help my concern. The access request window stated: “We get your location to record the last connection or disconnect of your device. If your device is lost, you can locate the device through this location. “We get your location to record the last connection or disconnect of your device. If your device is lost, you can locate the device through this location.” I chose to not allow the location services.

The main screen of the App shows a battery icon with the raboo logo along the center and the battery percentage above the rabbit ears. Beneath the battery icon, you will see a phrase “discharging,” while unplugged and charging when plugged in. While actively charging, the green LED on the charger changes to a solid red color. Tapping the green connect button provided an informational link between the phone and device to fully charge my phone. If you select settings, you can set a name for the device and you can set a default toggle for minimum/maximum charging level. To test the device, I plugged my DROK USB multimeter into the single USB output along the bottom of the charger. My iPhone X started at 61% charge at 10:50 PM and the multimeter showed 5.04V 1.47–1.66A. I checked it again at 12:00 am, and the phone was at 98% and smart charging. At 98–99% power, the DROK USB multimeter showed 0.23–0.40A. My phone was fully charged at 12:12.

The raboo charger has a built-in smart feature, allowing the proper current for your tablet vs. phone. Interestingly, when I tried to download the App on my iPad Air 2 and my son’s iPad Mini, the App was not in the app store for iPad. If you click iPhone Only within the App store (top left), the app will appear. Once the charging was complete, the little red LED along the bottom of the raboo device changed back to green. The rate of charge decreased as the phone charge approached 100%. It took about twelve minutes to go from 99%-100% as the current was only 0.2–0.24A. The charger provided the same current as my standard iPhone brick and was able to output plenty of power. Once my phone reached 100%, the charger turned off and the App icon stated “discharging.” If the App is not installed on a device, the raboo will not provide power to it.

I do not know how much this will save my battery in the 1–2 years that I will have my iPhone X. As such, I do not know that it will save me much in the long run. I did have some issues getting the product to work on my iPad Air 2 and iPad Air Mini 4. After downloading the phone App onto the iPad, I was able to charge my tablet at 2.13A. The raboo charger did only allow one device at a time to connect via Bluetooth. Here is where I found an issue/flaw with the system. I did not disconnect my Bluetooth paired tablet. I unplugged the cable from the tablet and plugged it into my 100% charged iPhone X. The charger continued to provide current even though my phone was on 100%. This device does not seem to be able to determine if the Bluetooth linked device is the one plugged into the outlet. I also did not use the location feature to find my device as location services for a device like this seemed odd. I am not certain if the lack of location services played a roll. I doubt this was the case as my iPad Mini 4 and iPhone X were side by side.

I found it disappointing that I had to unplug the raboo from the wall, make sure that I remembered to disconnect the previously charged device and had to turn off the app when I wanted to change between devices. For a device to use an entire outlet and provide a single USB charging port, it must do something amazing. Otherwise, the potential charging real estate that is lost makes the device markedly less useful. Again, if you did not disconnect the Bluetooth, the charger assumed it was charging whatever paired device it sensed, regardless if it was plugged up to the correct device or not. Also, it does not automatically disconnect when the device is removed from the charger. With so many USB powered devices, the raboo cannot keep up with the modern tech home. I need a charger that I can quickly plug into >1 devices to keep my tech running. In its current form, this tech is not useful to me. There is no power management, there is no flow data, there is no App on/off manual switch in the App. The idea is noble but I do not think it is useful. I would rate the product at 3/5 stars.

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Originally published at macsources.com on February 2, 2018.

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