FatCat PowerBar – Technology Review

I have been road-testing this cool device for the last several weeks, and I expect folks in the path of Sandy wish they had one on hand.

FatCat 4200 comes in a variety of colors, and is about the size of a BlackBerry

Designed especially for travel, this slim unit is about the size of a mobile phone, with a bit more heft. It can recharge most mobile devices, including cell phones, smartphones, MP3 players and gaming devices. Invariably when you need it the most, your device starts dropping power.  This is especially aggravating when you are traveling, as you are outside your usual routine and environment. Hunting for an outlet and delaying your next move while recharging can be an exasperating hassle.

Fortunately, the FatCat PowerBar is sufficiently unobtrusive in your backpack, brief case or purse.  It uses the fairly standard jacks, so you won’t be fraught with juggling more cords and jacks.  It comes with a host of adapter tips, which should ensure compatibility with just about all devices.  It has been pre-charged (to about 70%), which provides a nice out of the box experience.

In my use, I drained my Android to the point it nearly shut down.  It did not take long for the FatCat to bring my device back to life, about as long as if I had a wall plug.  Recharging the FatCatis simple, and seemed to take about 4 hours.  The manufacturer says the unit will retain about 75% of the charge for a full year; the unit is good for about 500 recharge cycles. The technical specs talk about 4200 mAh of power with output voltage of DC 5.0-5.5. If unused, the lithium polymer battery should retain about 80% of its charge for a year.  The manufacturer has deployed advanced electronics which should detect the exact power needs of your device.  This provides optimum energy efficiency and a long life for the FatCat, while also protecting your device from over-charging, over-discharging, over-current and short circuiting.

I have used with only marginal success similar devices powered by traditional AA batteries; those devices are only good for about one more call.  The FatCat sells for about $70.  When you are running out of juice, on the road and away from a wall socket, that cost seems priceless.  The slim design of the FatCat and utility makes this a keeper.


Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.