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External battery packs are one of the least hot facets of the mobile age. They are the equivalent of the plastic gas can in the back of your trunk: smelly, unsexy, and probably empty when you require it.

Helix by Lenmar
Category: Battery pack
Works With: iPad, iPhone, iPod touch
Price: $100

Lenmar’s Helix battery pack is not particularly sexy, but it does not smell (regardless of the ‘Undead Power’ branding, which indicates putrifying flesh) and it’s unlikely to be empty when you need it: it’s a large 11,000 mAh battery inside, capable in theory of charging a third- or fourth-gen iPad from 0 % to full. All in a battery pack not much bigger than a deck of playing cards.

The Good

The finest thing to suggest the Lenmar Helix battery pack is its capability: this is a monster of a battery to fit into a pack this small. Measuring just 4.7 inches tall, 3.1 inches large and 0.8 inches thick at its thickest point, the Helix has to do with the size of a deck of playing cards, or an extremely small USB hard drive.

At the core of this small device is an 11,000 mAh battery. That’s a remarkable amount of juice, theoretically efficient in charging an iPhone eight times and a Retina iPad from 0 % to full.

As befits a gadget with this much battery stuffed into it, the Helix can charge three gadgets at the same time. There are two USB ports for charging smartphones at 1A, and one for tablets at 2.4 A. This means you could quickly charge 2 iPhones and an iPad at once.

The Helix is not a head-turning battery pack, which is fine: it doesn’t need to be. And it does what it states on the tin, providing a lot of juice to charge your devices on the go, with the battery itself being charged by a micro-USB port on the side. Adornments and bling on the Helix peak at four green power indicator LEDs that inform you how much fee is left, and flash when the Helix is charging.

So the Lenmar Helix is very mobile and packed to the brim with electricity. That’s about all you can ask from a battery pack, is not it?

The Not-So-Good

Well, no. The Lenmar Helix’s drawbacks are subtle, but they exist.

First of all, the Helix takes ages to charge. That’s to be anticipated: an 11,000 mAh battery is going to take a long period of time to charge. The iPad itself needs a minimum of eight hours to charge totally from 0 % to 100 %, and that’s utilizing a 2.4 A charger.

Here’s the trouble, however. The Lenmar Helix charges at 1.5 A, suggesting it takes even longer to charge than an iPad. A way to charge the Helix at 2.4 A would’ve rated, because then, it would’ve charged at the exact same rate it discharges when powering an iPad. As such, even if you’ve an iPad plugged into the Helix while the Helix itself is charging, Lenmar’s battery pack will lack juice.

Then there’s the problem of battery life. Something’s a little comical about the Lenmar Helix: attempt as we might, we couldn’t really charge our iPad to full using the Helix, just managing about 65 %. That’s still impressive, but technically, the Helix ought to have the ability to charge an iPad to full and still have some electricity left over. We’ve no concept where that additional juice is going, but we are not the only ones to have this concern: iLounge also never handled to entirely charge an iPad utilizing the Helix. This is a trait shared by various other 11,000 mAh battery packs, like the Enerpak Vault, but that device manages to give even more of a charge to an iPad … while all at once costing $20 less than the Helix.

Finally, the Lenmar Helix is a quite bare bones gadget. Outside of the battery pack and a micro-USB cable television to charge the device, there’s absolutely nothing right here: no Lightning or 30-Pin cables, not even a wall charger.

The Verdict

The Lenmar Helix is a remarkable battery pack, however it does not quite handle exactly what it states on the box, it’s slow to charge, and it costs about $20 even more than much better doing rivals. There’s a lot of juice in this battery pack for $100, but there’s space for improvement, and some of Lenmar’s rivals are making greater performing battery packs today for a less costly price.