The PowerFreakz Evolution 2500 is the sort of gadget no self-respecting gadget fan can afford to be without. It costs just under £50 but can be found online for not much more than half that amount. As well as prolonging the existing battery life of any device it's attached to, it functions as an international power adapter for all your gadgetry, potentially saving you from several red-faced "my phone, camera, netbook and PSP have no power" scenarios.
PowerFreakz Evolution kit unpacked
The device comes in a zip-up bag in which to stash the PowerFreakz Evolution 2500 charger itself plus all its accoutrements – just as well considering the number of tips supplied with it. Said carry case is packed with adapters and tips to fit almost any small gadget you care to name. (Of course, you don't need to take them all with you.) Interchangeable worldwide AC/DC mains adapter fittings also come in the zip-up sack. A rather stiff notched button unclips the current two-pin or three-pin mains adapter and lets you switch it for another.
It may have a vast number of components but the PowerFreakz itself isn't big and bulky. The solar panel on its front is 3.5in across the diagonal and the overall dimensions of the device almost exactly match those of an iPhone. Its weight is a rather more modest 105g. A clear plastic cover sits protectively over the front.
PowerFreakz Evolution charger in use
The theoretical benefits of precharged devices that can juice up other gadgetry on demand are pretty clear. Using them in the field is a slightly different prospect. The PowerFreakz proved its worth, however.
You need to start by charging the charger. When this is in progress a large green ring lights up segment by segment. It's eye-catching, so forgetful types will be easily reminded of its presence when packing up to leave.
Faced with lengthy days traipsing round technology trade shows checking emails and rescheduling meetings on the fly, the battery of our trusty iPhone took a real battering. Before setting out we'd charged up the PowerFreakz Evolution from empty from the mains. Sure enough, around four hours in to the working day, the iPhone was feeling the strain. This was all sorted during a coffee break – a scant 20 minutes was enough for us to juice up the iPhone again, connecting it to the PowerFreakz and pressing the charger's On button. You're reassured that its happened as when transferring its charge the PowerFreakz circular green light remains steady.
The charger doesn't necessarily need to be charged from the mains either. As with many other gadgets, it can make use of the trickle of energy from a USB port and charge from that. This means you can be charging your charger while tapping away on your laptop out on the road. And, as the Solar part of the device’s name suggests, you can also charge the device by placing it somewhere sunny and making use of the photovoltaic panel's ability to harvest energy.
As well as the iPhone we've used it to charge up digital cameras and several brands of mobile phone.