Monday, November 06, 2017

Gear Closet: Lifeproof LifeActiv Power Pack and USB Cables

There once was a time when keeping your gadgets powered while on the go was a real challenge. Battery life on mobile devices was suspect, and there weren't a lot of convenient ways to get a charge while on the go. But times have changed, and now there are a wide array of mobile chargers and battery packs to choose from. If you've ever tried out any of those power packs however, chances are you've discovered that they are not all created equal and finding the right one to fit your needs is still key. Thankfully, some of our favorite outdoor brands are now offering rugged options for use on our adventures, including Lifeproof which just launched a new waterproof USB battery pack and rugged cables to go along with it.

Best known for creating durable cases to protect smartphones in the outdoors, Lifeproof has taken its extensive knowledge of how to build tough products and extended it in new directions. Recently, the company launched a line of durable Bluetooth speakers, and now its expanding the catalog once again, this time with other products that are important not only in our daily lives but when we hit the road too.

Lifeproof Lifeatíve Power Pack ($79.95)
Lifeproof's first entry into the mobile charging station is the new Lifeactíve Power Pack. The device offers all of the features you would expect from this type of USB battery pack, including smart sensors that automatically detect the best speed to charge a mobile device as well as knowing when its battery is full and to stop charging altogether. This helps protect the delicate components of smartphones and tablets from overcharging, which can be harmful to their internal batteries.

With its 10,000 mAh battery, the Power Pack finds the sweet spot between size and power. That's a battery with enough juice to recharge an iPhone 3 or 4 times, but it is also small enough that it isn't overly bulky or heavy. Lifeproof's mobile charger tips the scales at a mere 8.8 ounces (250 g), which is actually pretty impressive considering it is also waterproof down to 2 meters and protected from drops up to 1.2 meters.

The Power Pack also features built-in LED lights that allow it to be used as a flashlight, with two brightness settings, as well as red lighting and flashing red lights to signal an emergency. That's another handy feature to have whether you're looking for something in your tent, hotel room, or even just around the house during a power outage.

I absolutely love the size and form factor of the Lifeactíve Power Pack. It is small and lightweight, making it easy to pack for any adventure. The fact that it also dirt and snow proof make it extra appealing, as you can easily stash it in a pocket in your jacket for use on the trail, slopes, or even the water. And as you would expect from Lifeproof, this is a durable product that can withstand a lot of punishment.


My only knock on the Power Pack is that it has just one USB out port for charging other devices. I would have liked to have seen a second port so I could charge two devices at once or allow a buddy to hook up to it too. Most of the other battery packs that I carry on my travels come with two charging ports, so only being able to charge a single device at a time feels rather limiting at times. But, when you are charging, your mobile devices juice up quickly and efficiently, which is always greatly appreciated.

Priced at just $79.95, it is easy to recommend this charger for anyone looking for a battery pack they carry with them on their outdoor adventures. Yes, there are less expensive batteries out there, but most won't offer the same level of durability and build quality that you'll find here. Personally, I think it it worth a few extra bucks to get a much better device.

Find out more about the Lifeactíve Power Pack at lifeproof.com.

Lifeactíve Waterproof Charging Cables ($39.95/each)
In addition to launching its new battery pack, Lifeproof has also introduced a line of durable, waterproof USB charging cables. Available in micro-USB, USB-C, and Apple's Lightning models, these cables are fantastic for the outdoor adventurer and frequent traveler. They are also a good option for anyone who finds themselves breaking the less durable standard charging cables that come with most mobile devices.

Wrapped in a thick, braided coating, the cables feel much sturdier than 99% of the other charging cables you've ever owned. It is difficult to tell how well they'll hold up over time, but in the week plus that I've been using them, it feels like they would last a lifetime. The cable's high build quality has made them my go-to choice when powering up my smartphone, both at home and when traveling. And the fact that they come with a specially designed tip that turns them into a lanyard is a nice touch when trying to find them in my backpack. That same tip is built to connect to the Power Pack, ensuring that the cable you need is never far away.

Despite how impressive these cables are, I still have a couple of issues with them. For starters, at 15 inches (38 cm) in length, they aren't particularly long. On the one hand, this helps to keep them organized and prevents them from getting tangled, but sometimes when you're charging you need something with a bit more length to it.

The cables are also on the expensive side. At $39.95, they're pricier than I'd like to see as well. That's twice what Apple charges for a standard Lightning cable, which also happens to be more than twice as long too. But, Lifeproof's offerings are far more durable and convenient to use, which should be a consideration if you've invested in Apple's first-party models only to find they stop working in a few months time.

Spending $40 on a charging cable is no small investment, but it does bring with it a great piece of mind. These cables feel incredibly durable, which gives me the confidence that they'll continue to function properly for a long time to come. Hopefully I'm right about that, but only time will tell.

Find out more at lifeproof.com.

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