Keeping up with your emails, notifications, text messages, snaps, and yeah, sometimes the occasional phone call means you’re probably looking for a place to plug and get a quick recharge. While that’s all well and good when you’re in an office or at home, once you hit the road you might find yourself wondering just how much battery life is 20%. Enter myCharge, whether on your commute or as part of your camping bag, the RazorMax (every day, commuter battery) and the AdventureUltra promise to keep you connected to your digital life while even when you’re off the grid. We recently got a chance to put both through their paces to help you decide which one is best for your needs.   

MyCharge RazorMax – The Commuter  

If you’re like most New Yorkers, you’re typically commuting through some form of public transit – bus, train, ridesharing– but you don’t necessarily have easy access to a power outlet. The RazorMax offers the ability to charge your smartphone and tablet without breaking a sweat simultaneously. In our testing, we were able to charge an iPhone 7 Plus twice and an iPad on a single charge with some battery to spare.  

Worried about power output? The 6000mAh battery and 2.4A power output can definitely handle your biggest power vampires; we frequently used the myCharge RazorMax to keep our Panasonic GX85, and Fujifilm X-T2 topped off and ready to shoot. If you’ve ever found yourself out in the field for a long shoot, this is a must-have in your field bag.   
 

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly  

We’re fans of the RazorMax’s slim profile and anodized aluminum body and quick recharge times. Our smartphones went from 20% capacity to a respectable 80% in about 30 minutes. Best of all, the battery did not overheat even when charging a device while stowed away in a bag.   

If you’re looking for something that will fit in a smaller bag or want something that you can slip into your jeans pocket then look elsewhere. While the RazorMax is slim in profile, it is a relatively long slab of battery that will stick out in anything smaller than a medium sized messenger bag. We packed the RazorMax into our ThinkTank Retrospective with no issues, but things got tight with our Cycop Cross Sling – if you’re going smaller, we suggest you consider how to pack the battery.   

Power On; Even Off-the-Grid – myCharge AdventureUltra 

When life takes you on an adventure where you’re off the grid, the AdventureUltra packs enough power to keep your digital life moving forward. The AdventureUltra features a 13,400mAh battery with 2 USB-A ports, a USB-C port, and even an AC outlet to power everything from your phone and tablet to a full fledge laptop* (*as long as the adapter is under 45W).   

What We Like  

The myCharge AdventureUltra is a ruggedized power brick with plenty of ports and enough juice to keep you plugged in, even when you’re purposely trying to unplug. Using the battery itself is a pretty straight forward affair – the bright LCD on the top of the unit lets users know which ports are turned on and the buttons allow you to toggle on/off the battery (left button) and the AC outlet (right button). Each of the ports and the charging port for the battery itself has sealed covers that allow for some protection against moisture and dust.   
 

If we had to choose a single standout feature, it’s the relative quick recharge time for the battery. In our use, we found the battery can be fully charged in about 3 hours – not bad considering that myCharge’s spec sheet notes that it can increase your mobile device’s battery life by a factor of 8.   

Could Be Better  

While overall the AdventureUltra is a reliable alternative to bulkier tailgating/camping batteries (which typically are glorified emergency roadside batteries for your car), it should be noted that it can be a bit tough to travel with it. The dimensions of the battery (2.3 x 6.3 x 7) make it cumbersome to throw in a commuter bag. Not a glaring issue, given the tradeoffs: a larger battery that can power up to a 32-inch LCD TV vs. Something lightweight and compact.  

Far more of a concern for us was that the power buttons on the face of the battery would often engage while carrying the battery around. The buttons have a very short travel distance and simply pressing up against any loose items in a bag can in effect turn on your battery. On more than one occasion we’ve pulled the battery out of our bag to find that it had been discharging in transit.   

Final Thoughts  

While most smartphone manufacturers are still not having any luck with the break-through tech for the next generation of phones – that being all-day battery life – there’s some solace in knowing that you have plenty of options for keeping your devices powered on wherever your travels may take you. In our day-to-day testing, we found that both the myCharge RazorMax and AdventureUltra can handle the abuse associated with your daily commute and with respects to the later – we can definitely see it as part of our emergency go-bag (you have a go-bag, don’t you?). You can get the RazorMax for $40 and the AdventureUltra for $130 directly from the myCharge website.  

Update (05/10/19): A previous version of this article incorrectly noted a privacy concern when using NYCLink hubs. For clarity, plugging a USB-powered device to a hub does not create a data connection – mention of a privacy concern has been removed.