We have reviewed all kinds of devices here at 7 Tutorials, but never a portable USB charger. I recently had to go on a trip from Europe to the United States and I knew I would need one with me. Microsoft was kind enough to share their Nokia Universal Portable USB Charger for this trip so that I could use it and test it together with my Nokia Lumia 930. Learn how well it worked from this review:
Hardware Specifications & Packaging
As you would expect from a device this simple, the packaging for the Nokia Universal Portable USB Charger (DC-18) is very straightforward: it comes in a recyclable transparent box which allows you to easily see the device.
Inside the box you will find the charger, a micro-USB cable, the warranty and a small printed guide.
The charger is very small and portable: it is only 57 mm (2.24 inches) in height and width, it is 14.9 mm (0.58 inches) thick and it weighs only 65 grams (2.29 ounces). It has a Li-Ion battery with a an average capacity - 1720 mAh and its charging time is of 4 hours (240 minutes).
You can read its complete specifications here: Nokia Universal Portable USB Charger - Detailed specification.
Design, Build Quality & The User Experience
The Nokia Universal Portable USB Charger is a small and good looking device that's available in four colors: white, blue, yellow and red. We received the white version for testing.
Due to its small size and square shape, you can easily carry it with you. It fits into your pockets, together with your smartphone. In my testing I have used it together with a Nokia Lumia 930 and I had no issues carrying them both in the front pockets of my jeans, even while the smartphone was connected to it and charging.
The design of the Nokia Universal Portable USB Charger is quite smart, if you analyze it carefully. First, it has an embedded cord that functions as an On and Off button. The device tries to charge your smartphone only if you plug the cord found inside. This prevents accidental discharges that happen with chargers that have touch-based buttons. Also, when you plug the cord, the battery level indicator displays the charge that is available. The level indicator is very visible also when using the charger outdoors, which is great.
Your smartphone will get charged relatively quickly but, in order to get the best charge possible, it is recommended that you do not use your smartphone while connected to the charger. I also tested the scenario when I was using my Lumia 930 for things like taking pictures, Facebook, GPS navigation while connected to the charge. In these scenarios, the Nokia Universal Portable USB Charger only helped maintain the same battery levels on my smartphone, until the charger got discharged completely.
The only drawbacks of this charger are its reduced capacity and its slow charging time. The Nokia Universal Portable USB Charger has a capacity of only 1720 mAh and most smartphones have batteries of more than 2000mAh. For example, the new Nokia Lumia 735 has a 2220 mAh battery while my Lumia 930 has a 2420 mAh battery. As a result, you will never get a full charge of your smartphone while on the go. This charger is useful only for one day trips that your smartphone's battery can't handle with a full load. If you go on a lengthier trip and you can't charge your smartphone for more than a day, then you should look for beefier chargers with a more generous battery capacity.
The second problem is the fact that it takes four hours to charge. This is rather slow, especially if you take into consideration the average capacity of its battery. It would have been great if it could have charged itself in about two hours.
Where To Buy
We were pleased with the way the Nokia Universal Portable USB Charger worked. It is a very mobile charger that you can take anywhere, in any of your pockets. It is compatible with many smartphones and it quickly charges them. Its capacity is rather average and it won't be able to deliver a full battery charge for most smartphones. It is best used for quick trips where you need a boost to your smartphone's battery so that it lasts you until you get home. If you go on many lengthy trips where you need more battery capacity, you should look elsewhere.