If you’ve bought a copy of Wired magazine recently, you’ll have seen the GP Charge Anyway advertised alongside Patek Philippe watches and other high-end products.
I purchased one because I do a lot of travelling, so a power bank is very much a requirement. I’m often stuck for batteries too, so if I could combine those two requirements, all the better.
The CP Charge Anyway looks like a standard battery charger – you can put in up to 4 AA or AAA batteries but, unlike most on the market, you can charge as many or as few as you wish (many insist they’re charged in pairs).
To access the batteries, there is a smoked black cover that slides off. When charging with the supplied micro-USB cable, a green light flashes above the battery. Reverse that cable, however, and you can plug the micro-USB end into a device to charge it directly from the batteries. A button on the top informs the device that you want to use it for charging. What’s also cool is that you can use non-rechargeable batteries when using it as a power-bank.
The packaging consists of the Charge Anyway (with batteries inside), a USB cable and small instruction booklet.
GP Charge Anyway review: performance
If you’re going to use it to power your devices, the amount of oomph (that’s the scientific word) delivered by the charger is vitally important. According to the bottom of the device, it has an output of 1A, so it’s never going to set the world on fire.
With the provided cable and batteries (all 2,600mAh), I measured anything between 90 and 960mA output. You might think, “well, it would, because it depends on the load” – but I was using the Ampere app on an Android tablet to measure this and there was nothing unusual, load wise, that should have caused such wild fluctuations.
To see if I could improve things, I used my own, higher quality, USB cable. That stabilised the output at around 450mA – again, using the same app and tablet.
For comparison, I tested a small Jackery power bank, using the same GP-provided cable. That gave me a steady output of 850mA.
So what caused that fluctuating output? I’m stumped. Although I’m not using professional test equipment here, the fluctuating output only occurred when the GP charger was combined with the provided cable. My advice is to use your own cable.
GP Charge Anyway review: verdict
At £25, this device is overpriced. It looks higher quality than it really is – the plastic is light and thin and even the green LEDs look cheap (they don’t change colour to show charge level, other than red to indicate that they’re dead).
It may be worth the manufacturers considering a cheaper version that doesn’t come with batteries – I have many rechargeable batteries to hand and, indeed, have already replaced the four GP-branded AA batteries with two AA and 2 AAA Duracell equivalents, so I have both sizes to hand at all times.
As it is, you’re getting a good battery charger combined with a decidedly average power bank. Wrap that up in low quality plastics and it’s not going to thrill anyone. But if such a combination is something you desperately want, I’m not aware of anything else currently on the market.
Now read this: Does over-charging your phone damage its battery?
GP Charge Anyway
Design and features
Value for money
An all-in-one power bank and battery charger that doesn’t have the power output or build quality to justify its price
The power output depends on the power input i.e the amperage of the batteries. For example if you want a max output of 2 amps from that device the input current from the rechargeable batteries would have to be (5V*2A/4.8V) = 2088 mA, simplistically put and assuming that the battery voltage stays at 4*1.2=4.8V. That would mean the batteries would just be able to provide enough juice for about just over an hour (since they are 2600 mAH) aand they you get quite warm discharging at 1C. While in theory Using AA batteries its simply not practical to have a 2 amp output. 1 amp is the sweet spot. I have built my own DIY version of this using a 5V boost converter with 2 amps output and it gets really warm.
The cable issue may be valid but then again LiPo batteries used in phones tend to charge at different rates under different loads. My guess is a more stable reading can be obtained by using an external USB power meter.
Great review by the way 🙂
Let me unbias one thing: this is a processor controlled, 4 channel charger, and it makes the price more than decent. It means that the charging time and status is electronically controlled for each of the 4 slots separately. Powerbank function is just a nice bonus. Talking about aesthetics, I think it’s ok, plastic does not loog chip to me, it is an honest appliance, that does not try to stand out, cause there would be no point in that. 😉 These are my 2cents. Cheers!