Pros: Charges PlayBook very quickly, uses magnetic charging port, puts no stress on microUSB port
Cons: Not quite as compact as I had expected, expensive if purchased from Blackberry
After I had used my Blackberry PlayBook Rapid Charging Pod for a while I found myself very pleased with my purchase. Of course some of that had to do with my ability to use my PlayBook as a late night video player and as a replacement for a conventional clock radio at the same time the PlayBook was charging. But, what I really found myself appreciating was the use of the magnetic charging port rather than the microUSB port of the PlayBook.
The microUSB port on mobile devices is a relatively fragile connector. Besides being a means for charging your device, it’s essentially the door that lets you enter all of the inner workings of your tablet or smartphone. This point was driven home to me while I was examining my wife’s old LG Versa feature phone. She had broken the microUSB port so the only way to charge her phone was with an external battery charger. But without an operational microUSB port updating/synching her music and photo collection was all but impossible.
Since the magnetic charging port is used solely for rapid charging and is quite tolerant of an unintentional tug of the wire I could see the safety in depending on it as my principal means of charging my PlayBook.
The Blackberry site quotes a price of $69.99 for this travel charger and I find that just the other side of ridiculously expensive. Other sites feature the charger for about 50% off. Better I thought, but I still hesitated to order it. And then one morning I noticed a listing for the charger in retail packaging for just $17.99 plus a small shipping charge. Sold to the Conveniently Frugal gentleman from South Florida!
So shipping wasn’t exactly a “rapid charge” affair and it took the far side of several days for the charger to reach me. When it arrived I was pleased to see that it was the genuine sealed article. But, when it arrived it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. If you look at the product image it appears to be a slightly larger wall charger with a 6’ cord leading to the male magnetic charging pod. Or, at least it did to me. Wrong.
Blackberry PlayBook Rapid Travel Charger
In reality, the Blackberry PlayBook Rapid Travel Charger looks considerably more like the AC Adapter for your laptop, ever so slightly downsized. It features a 3-pronged power cord that attaches to the familiar brick that is attached to the cord leading to the magnetic tip. Thinking about it for a few moments it started to make sense. What was concealed to me in the previously purchased Rapid Charging Pod was the electronic circuitry inside the stationary stand/charger. On the Travel Charger this circuitry resides in the brick. I had been expecting just a slightly chunkier version of the stock microUSB charger that came with the PlayBook. Clearly this was my own misunderstanding even given the somewhat misleading product image. Had the ¾ lb weight and the 4” x 1.8” x .8” size registered on me there wouldn’t have been any surprises.
Surprise aside, the Blackberry PlayBook Rapid Travel Charger does its job well. Like the Rapid Charging Pod the Travel Charger charges the Playbook at a rate of 2000 mA @ 12V or about 2.5 times the rate of the supplied microUSB charger. It’s unusual for me to let the Playbook run much lower than a 20% charge, so I find the Rapid Travel Charger will bring it back to full charge in about 1 – 1 ½ hours. That’s a pretty quick charge. The corded magnetic male pod easily attaches to the tablet with a satisfying click. Unlike the Charging Pod/Stand that sits on my night table, there’s no challenge to align the male and female connectors. Once the corded magnetic tip is in the immediate area of the magnetic port on the tablet it is drawn into perfect alignment and the 3 magnetic pins of each engage.
Perhaps best of all, for users possessing two left feet, should they trip over the cord, the magnetic connectors separate gently without endangering either the microUSB or magnetic charging ports. I suppose a really clumsy individual could damage the cord itself, but that’s a much less costly and debilitating affair than a broken port on your tablet.
If you use a cover similar to the Blurex Slim Leather Case Folio/Stand you won’t have to remove your PlayBook before charging.
So I won’t be tossing this charger into my dop kit when I travel. It is a bit big for that. But, it won’t take up all that much room in my backpack or luggage. I like its quick charging ability but am especially fond of its protective characteristics. If you can find it at half price or better, I recommend its purchase.
Blackberry PlayBook - 16GB
Blackberry PlayBook Rapid Charging Pod
Blurex Slim Leather Case Folio/Stand