Published on March 1st, 2012 | by Greg0
Mobile Accessories: Two Each From Tylt and PureGear
Just when you thought iPhone and mobile phone accessories had grown stale and predictable, someone shows up and shakes up the tree a bit. At CES 2012 earlier this year, we got a chance to see what fell out, and have two companies on-hand today, each offering twists on old classics. We tested everything with the Apple iPhone 4 and the Samsung Galaxy, but both firms have lines that encompass other smartphones as well, from Blackberry to HTC, Motorola, and more.
We’ll start with a brand that came out of nowhere to leave a pretty big impression at CES- Tylt. We’ve been testing out the Zumo Portable Battery Pack and the PowerPlant Portable Battery Pack. They’re similar in some ways- both offer lithium ion batteries to help juice your device in times of need, and both feature a cute patent-pending flexible charging arm. But in most other ways, they are pretty distinct devices. The Zumo, for instance, holds about 1500 mAh, enough for a full charge to most smartphones. It charges in a couple of hours via USB, and has a nice set of LEDs that serve as a power level indicator. Everything folds up nicely, making it extremely portable and perfect for travel, and it can fit in a pocket without worry. They appear to be making two models, one with a 30-pin adapter, though ours was micro-USB only.
The PowerPlant is the bigger sibling. It offers more than three times the reservoir, 5200 mAh, meaning that you can recharge your smartphone fully twice over or your iPad or other tablet once. We also liked that you can connect two devices simultaneously for a boost (one with micro-USB and the other over regular USB). Again, the flexible cables flip-out and are pretty nifty, and an LED indicator is built-in as well, but this one includes a wall charger as well. You’ll need six or so hours to recharge this guy, and Tylt claims that both devices can hold a charge for up to a year. At only 5 ounces, the PowerPlant is dense but not that heavy, and we generally liked the form factor on both. The Zumo feels a littler sturdier and more durable, but the PowerPlant is a bit glossier and sexier. Both are available only in black, and should be more widely available soon- we found the PowerPlant at the Sprint store only at press time for $60, but pricing on the Zumo is likely to be a bit less expensive.
PureGear’s PureTek Roll-On Screen Shield Kit is a mixed blessing. It does revolutionize the screen shield, offering something sorely lacking- simplicity in application. If you’re anything like us, you’ve struggled more than once with affixing a screen shield to a device, messing about for quite a while trying to get rid of bubbles or align everything perfectly. However, that convenience comes at a stiff price. $25 for what is, in the end, a screen shield felt really expensive to us. The shield itself is fine- it held up well over some abuse- but the advance here is in the error-free “application tray” and roller. It worked, but was a bit complicated.
The PureGear Dualtek Extreme Shock Case couldn’t be much simpler though. Featuring some heavy duty edge and corner shock protection, it isn’t quite as radical (or attractive) as the G-Form, but does feel pretty solid. As with many cases, you’re giving up a bit of portability- this one isn’t too heavy, but does add enough thickness that your sleek phone might not fit in those skinny jean pockets. We appreciated the bit of extra lip over the screen though, to protect it from face-down falls and drops, and it’s available in white or black (both with decently textured but slightly off-looking grey grips). As with many iPhone cases, some headphones won’t work nicely with this one, but everything is accessible. Available now, $40.