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If there’s one complaint we have with our iPhones, it’s battery life. Ten hours might seem like more than enough to get through the day, but when you factor in a constant stream of phone calls, downloads, and playlists, more often than not we find ourselves staring at a red battery indicator before the sun goes down.
Until Apple figures out a way to charge our iPhones by motion or sunlight, the options are limited. For our money, the best choice has always been to carry around an external USB charger for a quick power boost whenever we need it. We’ve used dozens of them. Most are inexpensive, no-frills affairs that take forever to charge and barely last a few months. But even the high-priced premium models still rely on a system of vague LED indicators that have us continuously plugging them in to be certain we’ll have enough juice.
Legion is a battery pack that’s finally worthy of the device it’s charging. Designed around a sleek, compact package somewhat reminiscent of the iPhone 4, PLX Devices has built a charger that’s as light and attractive as the iPhone itself, with sleek lines and a rugged exterior that stands up to abuse. But what really makes Legion stand out from the crowd is its tiny microprocessor.
You might even call it a smart charger. Available in standard 5,500mAh and 11,000mAh capacities, Legion is anything but ordinary, displaying a wealth of information about itself on its tiny OLED screen, including its remaining capacity, battery charge percentage, time until discharge, and temperature. You can use Legion’s sole navigation button to quickly cycle through each screen and get live updates as your iPhone regains its strength.
Even without the brilliant display, Legion is a top-notch external battery. We tested the lower-capacity model and it provided enough juice for two full charges of an iPhone 5 (with a few sips left over for an iPad mini). To get from zero to 99 percent took about three hours (since the screen draws a small amount of power, Legion never quite reached maximum capacity), but we were safely in the green after just 45 minutes. It charged equally fast via the always-annoying micro USB standard, though we didn’t need to plug it in very often; in real-world use we were able to go most of the week without needing a refill. The only troubling hiccups we experienced were with our iPad Air running the iOS 7.1 beta, which consistently returned a “Not charging” message, even after swapping out cables.
The bottom line. Legion’s smart, innovative design makes it the iPhone of battery packs.
Any USB device
Rugged industrial design. Brilliant OLED screen provides array of information. Fast charging.
Micro USB is a drag.