Cell Drive makes a range of multifunction products that combine storage and charging technologies.
This is a good thing because I eat batteries for lunch and I am a BIG fan of things that do more than one thing. Purpose driven gadgets may be efficient but they are BORING!!!
The idea is pretty simple. The device functions as a USB charger for your phone via either MicroUSB or Apple’s Sync connector, as well as a sync cable and a micro SD card reader. On top of that there is a 600 milliamp hour battery in the Cellink which charges via the USB port. While this is not piles of power it can be a lifesaver if you have abused your batteries and need to make a couple more calls!
There is a silver plastic cover that slides over the Cellink to protect the connectors. This plastic is a bit flimsy and cheap feeling but the construction of the actual unit is good and feels solid.
Synchronization works well and was not discernibly slower than a decent cable. It will pass a charge through to the phone. The internal battery charges fairly quickly via a USB jack, going from empty to full in less than an hour. There are three LED indicators to show charging (red), charging complete (green) and also data transfer (blue).
The only oddness on the Cellink U version is that not all micro USB phones orient the jack the same. The EVO4G actually ends up face down when charging from the Cellink plugged into my Mac USB port, which is a bit disconcerting. You may want to add a small USB extender to your bag of tricks if that is the case. This would also be useful because the width of the Cellink will make it impossible to have something plugged into a USB plug next to this one…
The SD card reader works well and the card sits flush in the side so I have left mine in there for weeks at a time and just treat the unit like it is a thumb drive. It was happy on both Macs and PCs and has good transfer speeds. The card is not visible to the phone or iPad via the Sync connector and when I flipped it around with the USB Camera Connection kit it let me know that it did not have enough juice to power the device. Oh, well you can’t have everything!
The battery portion of the device has already saved my life more than once. When your phone is getting low, you can just plug it in and keep functioning. On an iPhone4S I plugged it in with my battery meter reading 56% and it charged the phone back up to 77%. I was not doing anything else during this process so you may find this to be a bit different if you are browsing or talking while it is connected. This looks a lot like an extra hour of talk time to me.
You can see from the comparison pics that the Celllink is bigger than a USB thumb drive but it does a lot more and could well replace several devices in your bag of tricks. If you have ever owned a modern Android phone you probably have a micro SD card that you can recycle into a USB card reader.
Their previous CellDrive product was a fixed 4 or 8 gig drive and only 430 milliamp hours of power for more money, so I really like the step forward in price and capability.
This is the kind of product that is worth the price if it saves your life even once. I have one tucked in my pocket and in my wife’s purse.
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