In the age of smartphones, MP3 players, tablet PCs and high-quality handheld gaming devices, people need all the electricity they can get their hands on, even if they have to strap it onto their bodies to carry it around.
Now there's an idea...
And where there are nifty gadget ideas, online retailer ThinkGeek is generally not far behind. From the company that brought us My First Bacon and Canned Unicorn Meat comes the Universal Wrist Gadget Charger, a bulky black rubber portable device charger for gadget hounds not afraid to wear their geek at the very edge of their sleeves.
The Universal Wrist Gadget Charger is a thick rubber bracelet that hides a powerful secret: A rechargeable rechargeable 5.5 volt, 1500mAH lithium ion battery. Once charged via USB cable the bracelet can be connected to countless power-hungry electronic devices. A series of four lights on the bracelet indicate how much charge remains. The package includes connectors for the iPhone, Nintendo DS Lite, 3DS and Sony PSP, Nokia (I and II), LG, Samsung i900 and Sony Ericsson phones, plus a mini USB connector to handle just about everything else.
What We Liked
A Little Bit Cyberpunk: When there's a blocky hunk of rubber wrapped around your wrist glowing with the light of four LEDs, and a coiled wire snaking from its interface port to your gaming system, smart phone, or MP3 player, you can't help but feel just the tiniest bit like you come from the future, and a rather cool future at that.
Playing with Power: The Universal Wrist Gadget Charger does what it's supposed to do, providing enough extra juice to keep your phone alive when it should be dead, or keep your game going until you get to the next save point. How much power you gain is highly dependent on how much power your device sucks up, however. After a full bracelet charge my dead Nintendo DS Lite played for nearly two hours. My LG Quantum Windows Phone 7 gained a quarter bar of battery life from a full charge, while the much greedier Nintendo 3DS (with networking turned off) ran for a half hour off of the bracelet and died minutes after the final charge LED blinked off. It's in the way that you use it.
What We Didn't Like
Uncomfortable as Charged: As many a fetish model will tell you, black rubber might look sexy, but it doesn't breathe very well. Beneath the thick bracelet my admittedly gigantic wrist was sweating on even the coolest of days. The underside tends to heat up slightly when actively charging, which only adds to the discomfort. This is not a device I would wear every day.
The Bottom Line
From a purely gaming standpoint, the Universal Wrist Gadget Charger's value depends on how you plan on using it. With the latest gaming technology from Nintendo sucking down power like nobody's business, picking up one of these expecting to significantly prolong your 3DS play time is a losing proposition.
Still, 30 minutes is 30 minutes, and when you take into consideration all of the other devices the bracelet works with it could be a worthy addition to your gadget collection, as long as you can stay cool when the rubber meets your wrist.
The Universal Wrist Gadget Charger was designed and manufactured by ThinkGeek. Released in March 2011. Retails for $US39.99. A unit was given to us by the manufacturer for review purposes.
The Universal Wrist Gadget Charger comes packed with easy-to-lose pieces of plastic. Keep a baggy handy.
My wrist is absolutely huge.
With my Universal Wrist Gadget Charger and my Windows Phone 7, I am cyberpunk.
Turn off the lights, and my wrist glows.