Thursday, February 04, 2016

Gear Closet: ASAP Dash - The Fastest USB Battery Charger On the Market?

For me, one of the most life-altering pieces of technology that has appeared in my lifetime is the smartphone. Sure, mobile phones existed before the iPhone and Android appeared on the market, but those devices, coupled with great mobile operating systems and a creative app ecosystem, have fundamentally altered the way we work, play, and communicate on a daily basis.

But if those gadgets still have one fundamental flaw, its the with their battery life. As we use them throughout our day, they can run out of charge very quickly, ending up useless. Fortunately there are a wide array of portable USB battery chargers on the market that give us a quick boost of power when we start to run low. The downside of most of them however, is that they are yet another device that we need to keep charged, and if you've ever used one, they can take awhile to gather power too.

Enter the ASAP Dash, a portable USB charger that promises to be the fastest charging battery pack the market. The device is currently in the crowdfunding stage, but is well on its way of achieving the $30,000 goal that its designers need to get it into production. What sets the Dash apart from the competition is that it can save enough power to recharge an iPhone in under five minutes, or completely fill its 5000 mAh battery in just 15. That means you don't have to wait long for it to be ready, which is different from most other battery packs that I've used, which can often take hours to fully charge.

So how does it do it? Well, unlike most other portable chargers, the Dash doesn't rely on a slow micro-USB port to provide it with energy. Instead, it ships with a high capacity adapter of its own, which is capable of filling the internal battery in a matter of a few minutes. The final product will even ship with a car adapter so you can fill it up while on the road too.


In terms of design, the ASAP Dash is sleek, small, and light. It is also very rugged, and has been build to survive a drop of more than one meter, with its anodized aluminum shell keeping it safe from harm. That makes it great for travel, where weight and durability are always an issue.

I got the chance to test an early prototype model, and came away very impressed. The actual build quality of the Dash is quite nice, and it looks very classy. My model didn't quite charge as quickly as the final version, but it was close enough to get the idea of how it will function once everything is finalized. Is it fast? Most certainly so. My test unit came with a half-charge, and I was able to fill it up completely in well under ten minutes. That's not something I can say about any other charge I've used in the past.

Its clear that a lot of attention was put into the details of the Dash. For instance, in addition to the adapter charging port, there is also a micro-USB port as well, which will allow you to charge it the old fashioned way, albeit at a much slower pace. The standard USB port that is used for charging your devices is also of the smart variety, which means it auto detects the fastest speed your smartphone or tablet is capable of gathering a charge, and tunes its flow of power accordingly. And since it has 3 Amps of power, it can recharge your devices very quickly too.

That's not to say there isn't room for improvement in the ASAP Dash. For instance, I would have preferred to have two USB ports for charging rather than one so that you and a friend can use it at the same time. That's fairly standard on most chargers these days. And while the 5000 mAh battery is capable of charging most smartphones up to three times, it will hardly put a dent in the battery life of a tablet. I'd like to see a higher capacity Dash at some point down the line so I can share the rapid-charging love with my iPad too.

The Indiegogo campaign for the Dash has been underway for a few days now, and it is already more than 80% of the way towards its goal. If you order one while in the crowdfunding phase, you can get the charger for just $69. When the Dash hits retail in June it is expected to sell for $119, so this is a real bargain.

Find out more at ChargeASAP.com and in the video below.


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