ZAGGsparq Review: the Best Portable Battery Available

By , Feb 22, 2011

As a frequent traveler and an iPhone addict, I always worry to run out of batteries in an airport or worse, in the middle of a flight. I’ve tried various options for making sure I would never run out of juice but I never found the right accessory that would fulfill my needs: convenience, ease of use, light weight.

That was until the peeps at Zagg sent me a review copy of their ZAGGsparq, a 2-in-1, or maybe I should say a 3-in-1 accessory for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and virtually any smartphone out there, but we’ll obviously focus on the iPhone part…

Plug it into a wall and the ZAGGsparq will allow you to charge 2 devices at the same time. Very convenient if like me you own several iPhones and iPads. While you still need 2 USB cables, you don’t have to plug your devices in multiple outlets.

Unplug the ZAGGsparq and it becomes a portable battery charger that can hold several charges for your iPhone. Absolutely brilliant! I have to admit that when I first received the ZAGGsparq, I was a little skeptical as they claim it can hold up to 4 charges for your phone, so I decided to give it a real-life test drive.

The Testing

On the first day, I plugged the Sparq into a wall and charged my iPhone and iPad simultaneously. Nothing amazing here. The Sparq charged my iPhone in a couple hours and it took several more for the iPad, just like you would expect. When the iPad was charged, I unplugged the Sparq and checked the yellow lights that indicate power level. All 4 lights were on, so I knew the Sparq was fully charged, ready to provide extra power for my devices if needed.

On day 2 and 3, I totally forgot about the Sparq and charged my iPhone using my iMac. The Sparq sat there, unused.

On day 4, I remembered about the Sparq and since I was at 1% of battery left on my iPhone 4, I thought it was the right time to put this portable battery charger to the test. I plugged my iPhone via the USB cable to the Sparq and after 10-15 minutes I decided to have a look at the yellow lights on the Sparq. To my surprise, 2 of them were already gone, meaning that half the power held in the Sparq was gone.

A couple hours later, my iPhone was fully charged. I checked the indicator lights again. 2 of them were still on, which meant I still had 50% of power left in the Sparq. That’s when I realized I shouldn’t rely on these lights to figure out how much power is left because they obviously didn’t work properly. No big deal.

On day 5, my iPhone was back under the 10% of battery so I once again plugged it in the Sparq. Two hours later, the phone was fully charged and there was now only 1 light on, meaning the Sparq had another 25% of its capacity left, but again, I didn’t rely too much on that.

On day 6, my iPhone was at about 40% of battery left. I decided to charge it using what was left in the Sparq. I plugged it in, and 15 minutes later, the last indicator light disappeared, technically meaning the Sparq was out of juice. But it didn’t stop it from charging my iPhone. The Sparq finally ran out of power a few minutes later, but my iPhone was already 96% charged.

The Verdict

Five days went by from the day I first charged the Sparq to the day it completely ran out of power. During that time, I was able to charge my iPhone 2.5 times. While this is under the 4 charges that Zagg claims the Sparq can hold, I was still very impressed. The Sparq sat for 2 days before I started using it as a portable charger so I believe its battery depleted a bit during that time, and I’m pretty confident I could have had 3 full charges if I had used it right away.

The ZAGGsparq is the winner of 2 CES Innovations Awards and now I know why. This is by far the best portable battery charger I have seen and I absolutely recommend it.

The only downside I could find to the Sparq is its price. At $99.99, it is definitely not a cheap accessory, but you get what you pay for: a great portable charger that will give you a least 2 extra charges while on the road. This is priceless to power users like me.

You can buy the ZAAGsparq from here. Enter the coupon code “zagg20″ to get 20% off, compliments of iDB.

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  • Jason Masters

    So it does about half of what it promises?

  • Weebsurfer

    This was based on the first charge though. I’d be curious how it performed after a few charges. Batteries are just too finicky to go by one test, and indicators tend to need time to calibrate. Keep us updated, please.

  • Saxon

    Or skip the referral link and buy it straight from Amazon for $75 and free shipping. Although if you go to Amazon you’ll see it has a very underwhelming 2.5/5 review score.

    How many other batteries have you tried that you can say it’s the best available? I don’t have one, but the New Trent ones look pretty impressive.

    • http://www.iphonedownloadblog.com Sebastien

      The one on Amazon is the ZaggSparq version 1. The model reviewed above is v2, which apparently fixes a bunch of the problems encountered in v1.

      I’m not saying it’s the best available. I’m saying it’s the best I’ve used so far, which is slightly different. I was given 3 different chargers while at CES. I didn’t even bother reviewing them because they were so bad. I’ve also used case chargers sch as the Mophie Juice Pack. While they’re pretty good, it doesn’t match the convenience but also the fact that it works with more than one device (iPhone, pad, pod, not matter what the shape).

      • G

        Can’t u turn it off ?
        For £100 I’d rather bring USB n the plug needed depending what country I’m in

    • http://www.iphonedownloadblog.com Jeff

      I will vouch for New Trent as well, those are dope. I used them in Japan. But a friend of mine has both the Sparq and the Trent, and he swears by the Sparq and I definitely trust his opinion. I can’t really comment since I’ve only used the Trent.

  • tomuky

    Nice review. I’ve been eyeing the Sparq and this read was really helpful. And 20% off? Awesome.

  • Maria

    Love my ZaggSparq! Dh picked one up for me when he had a 50% coupon for Zagg.

    Used it on a recent road trip and it worked out great!

  • manuel

    Every tried the Mophie Juice pack plus?

    http://www.mophie.com/mophie-juice-pack-plus-iPhone-4-battery-case-p/1160_jpplp4.htm

    It’s a case / charger. Only downfall is the bulky it adds to your phone.

  • LG

    Your title makes it sound like you tried a bunch of them. I just ordered (last night so I haven’t received it yet) one from Satechi on Amazon. It had gotten much better reviews on Amazon though that may be compared to the old Sparq. Have you tried that one?

  • fixed

    6000 mAh, not bad.

  • Greensprout

    What about New Trents version?

    I have the 5000mAh which works well..

    But there is this..

    IMP880 ( 8900mAh)
    – iPhone 4, 3Gs 3G iPhone
    – 3G iPad (80% iPad battery)
    – 500% iphone 4 battery life
    sale $59.95 (free ship USA)

    or

    IMP1000 ( 11000mAh)
    – iPhone 4, 3Gs 3G iPhone
    – iPad (105% iPad battery)
    – 600% iphone 4 battery life
    sale $79.95 (free ship USA)

  • axel Macintosh

    TeckNet iEP380 is much better

  • axel Macintosh
  • Maglor

    The gum plus by Just mobile is very small And can charge The iPhone as they say 4x. I’ve testes it And it charges 3x. Price 70€. Much better i think. And it can also charge other stuff as well.

  • peerk

    Just Mobile Gum Plus Universal Charger. Hand’s down the winner.

  • Bobby Mo

    I need this bad

  • Mark H

    I ordered a zagg sparq 2.0 for my trip overseas despite some of the negative reviews about the quality issues regarding the power plug and holding a charge. I received the Sparq 2.0 today. Plugged it in and heard something snap in the area of the plug. I thought to myself I hope that wasnt something serious. so I left it the charge as the pamphlet said no light will be display for at least 30 minutes. I came back an hour later no lights on the device. I unplugged it and the plug flips around freely. Now I know what many of you are saying right now “learn how to plug in a product noob” as I had the same thoughts also when reading comments about broken plugs. But here I am with a $99 unit with a broken plug and unable to get a replacement in time before I leave for my trip. truly disappointing, The plug for this device is so flimsy its only a matter of time before it breaks in my opinion. Do to it having to support the weight of the unit. Until they fix this issue (Which was present in the Sparq 1.0) this is a no buy for me. Purchase at your own risk, if you have to return the unit you are stuck with the shipping charges. I’m going to try a New Trent unit.

  • http://aldowynsmusings.tk abujaffer

    I just got mine in the mail yesterday and I was surprised at how small it was! I haven’t depleted the battery yet but it’s pretty impressive so far; I’m planning on buying a USB charger for some of my other devices (phone, 3DS) so I can charge them via ZAGGsparq on those lengthy (12 hour+) flights. They’re only like $5 a piece, so no problems there.

  • DTR

    I got one of these and it has worked great.

    Almost twice the size of the ZAGG but holds a charge for weeks and can juice up several phones or ipods at the same time. It has out preformed my ZAGG in all aspects. Well worth the $81. Gave the ZAGG to one of my friends kids.

    ZAGG never held a charge for more than 4 or 5 days, the isound powered up my iphone 4 about 12 to 13 times with about 10% in the iphone.

    http://www.amazon.com/i-Sound-Portable-iPhone-Blackberry-Silver/dp/B00439G3WS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1301786906&sr=8-1

  • Ruth

    I used to love Zagg. Then I got two defective Sparqs with two different problems – the 2nd one drained my iPad – and learned that they only believe their products will work for 45 days, because after that they will only give you an online credit for something else.

    Why should I scurry around to make sure that my $100 product is actually going to work? I would prefer to deal with a company that can back their product.

    I had ordered the Zaggsparq with great anticipation for travel, but didn’t need it until a trip, when it broke down before I even left the house, but by then my 45 days were up. I ordered a replacement. That didn’t work, either. This time I raced into action and called them immediately. Operators explained that they are mass produced … as if that should matter to me. I don’t care. I just want a product that works. Why should I be concerned on how they are made before I do business with Zagg?

    Huge disappointment. Cannot recommend them – product or company.