“Sorry, can’t chat, battery’s about to run o…” I can’t count the amount of times I’ve uttered those words and still not bought a portable battery pack. Despite the continuous stream of new gadgets and technical innovations we’ve been wowed with over the past few years, battery-life still manages to let us down.
This January, when planning a once in a lifetime trip to Antarctica, I was determined not to let my batteries beat me and to get the Veho Pebble reviewed properly. I’d be spending three weeks cruising around the Antarctic Peninsula, but getting to the port was the initial challenge: from front door to icebreaker, I faced three separate flights and more than two days of solid travel. And, travelling solo, it would be a real-world test of this vital piece of technical back-up.
Kitted out with a kindle, iPod and old-school Nokia phone, the only thing that could possibly get in the way of entertainment and communication was power. What’s more, with my suitcase crammed full of chargers, cables and connectors, it was starting to look more like I was on my way to a Saturday market stall than an Antarctic icebreaker.
Enter the Veho Pebble.
I’ve steered away from portable charging devices in the past, seeing them as just another bit of travel gear that could potentially let me down. But, with rave reviews and impressive credentials, the Pebble Veho seemed worth a try – it boasts a stack of adapters for different devices and a 5000mA battery – enough to charge an iphone four times over; nor did it take up much room as, smaller than an iphone, the palm-sized pebble fits easily into a pocket – cables, adapters and all.
But mine didn’t stay in my pocket for long – its tangible smooth skin makes it almost, well, pebble-like and the tasteful neoprene pouch allows it to bridge the gap between science and style: it’s a piece of kit you feel proud to take out.
The first test came 10 hours into my journey at Buenos Aires airport, when I decided it was time to update the folks at home with the view from gate 51. With my Nokia phone giving me the red alert, I plugged in the Pebble…
I wasn’t sure if it was working at first, as the Pebble doesn’t initiate the ‘in-charge’ notification on most devices but, ten minutes later, I had enough juice to wake up my loved ones back in Blighty and let them know that I had quite arrived yet.
From then on, the Pebble and I became good friends. It saw me right through my outward journey and through a full three weeks in Antarctica, topping up everything from my Kindle to a friend’s iphone. Charging takes a little longer than using a wall socket, but not much – just over an hour to fully charge an iPhone.
With a simple Low/Med/Full LED indicator, you can be confident how much juice the Pebble has left inside and, with an automatic sleep function, there’s no need to worry that you’re sapping power unnecessarily.
To get the Veho Pebble reviewed properly, I took it out on the ice to see how it coped with Antarctica’s sub-zero temperatures – conditions comparable to being stuck on a ski-lift in a white out. And yes, the Pebble performed perfectly and would have allowed me to call home from the great white continent – if only I’d had some signal.
The only downside is recharging the Pebble itself. By the time I reached Amsterdam on my homeward leg, I didn’t have quite enough power left to charge my Nokia and remind my boyfriend to have dinner at the ready.
The Pebble can be charged directly from a laptop but, without said laptop, charger and an available socket handy, I found myself without power for the first time in three weeks; if you’re planning to rely solely on the Pebble for more than a few weeks, I’d recommend investing in a USB wall plug.
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