Powertraveller minigorilla review

Price when reviewed

The minigorilla is a small lithium-ion power pack, designed as a universal battery to let you extend the roaming time of handheld gadgets and netbooks while you’re away from the mains. At 84 x 150 x 16mm (WDH) and weighing 265g it’s nicely portable.

There’s a USB output socket for providing 5V, plus a separate output to give a selectable choice of 8.4, 9.5, 10.5, 12 or 19V. An array of socket adaptors – 20 in all – means you can power or charge almost any netbook, mobile phone or portable gizmo.

There’s no way for the minigorilla to sense what it’s plugged into, so you need to make sure you manually set its output voltage correctly to avoid possible damage to your devices. It’s a big drawback, but the vast majority of gadgets have their input voltage requirement printed on them somewhere. Just make sure you don’t exceed it.

The slight trepidation of setting the voltage correctly, plus that plethora of plug adaptors just dying to get lost (and of course the charger for the minigorilla itself, which you need to lug around) makes it all feel like a bit of a messy cludge.

Nonetheless, when it comes to phones or gadgets with small batteries the minigorilla will keep them going for a good long while. It certainly gives a handy boost to netbooks too: under our light-use test, the 9000mAh battery in the minigorilla gave an Asus Eee PC 901 3hrs 55mins of extra life.

All well and good, but the problem comes when you consider that a dedicated, extended battery for your netbook is likely to be more cost-effective than the minigorilla, and far neater. If you want to top up several devices on the go it’s a viable option, but not worth the money or hassle if you just want to keep your netbook going for longer.

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