Over the weekend I had the chance to try out a new micro USB phone charger, called the Nipper, the first product from London based studio Design on Impulse, that was recently launched thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign. Different from other mobile on-the-go chargers, it's designed for emergency situations where you're out and about and your phone is dead or dying. At just the size of a sugar-cube - making it the smallest phone charger available and a more practical alternative to heavy battery packs - it doesn't require any pre-charging. All you need to do is carry two AA batteries with you, and when your phone is running out of juice and you find yourself stuck for a way to charge it, you simply remove the device from your keychain (the most practical way to carry it) by pulling the magnets apart, attach the batteries side by side to the magnets in each end and plug it into your phone for instant charging. It's intuitive, the positive end of the battery attaches to the small semi-circle and the negative end to the larger one.
In trying it out I was really happy to find that it's not fiddly at all and very stable. The magnets are strong and keep the batteries firmly in place, so when the charger is in your phone you don't have to be cautious with it. I tried leaning my phone upright and also used it to text to see if the charger would stay secure, and it did with no disruption to the charge. So if space is really limited, say you're on a crowded train and you need to put your phone in your bag or pocket, or you've got to keep moving while it's charging, it should be fine to continue doing the job. You should get around 3 hours of charge or 20% more battery. This will come in very handy the next time I find myself in the aisle seat on the train or in no seat at all, with a draining battery and hours from home. And for parents, it's a great back up to give your kids who need to check in but may not be great at remembering to leave the house with a charged phone. Attach a Nipper to their key chain and tuck a pair of AAs in their everyday bag after showing them how to use it.
Helpful tip: don't leave the batteries in the charger once you're finished using it, if you've still got battery power, or you'll drain them. (Yes, I did that.)
You can use the Nipper with any phone or device that charges via a micro-usb socket. My phone is a Sony and I also tested it on the lesser known Hamswan Cubot X12 and it worked well on both.
The Nipper can be purchased at nippercharger.com for £14.99 and is available with black, red, blue or white straps. I went with the nice bright blue. It's a perfect stocking stuffer, too.