Quick power at the ready, with a few neat features, but it isn't cheap
Motorola has been expanding its accessory portfolio quite steadily since the release of the original Moto X. With cases, headphones, chargers and speakers, Motorola is hoping to capitalize on the lucrative accessory market and its well-known brand that encourages folks pick up an extra couple of things when checking out at its online store.
Alongside the new Moto X and Moto G, Motorola announced two new "Power Pack" chargers, with the smaller of the two going a step beyond just dumb batteries by integrating Bluetooth and a few neat hardware features. The Power Pack Micro, in particular, is made to be hooked on your keychain and offers two-way locating services, as well as a neat interface through the Motorola Connect app.
Read along and see what this clever little battery, the Motorola Power Pack Micro, is all about.
Design and capacity
Motorola is sticking to its new mantra of choice by offering a variety of stylish color options — dark canvas, light canvas, spice, red, violet, lemon lime, turquoise, royal blue — on the Power Pack Micro, letting you choose one of eight colors to match your new custom Moto X, a Moto G Shell or maybe just your personal style. Both black and white options have a textured linen-type cover, while the other bright colors are a textured hard plastic. For all colors but black, the end caps and sides are white, giving a nice contrast.
The Power Pack Micro is quite cleverly designed, with a pop-off top that exposes a Micro USB plug for your phone and then can click onto the bottom of the pack so you don't lose it. A button and LED on one side let you know it's charging, and also enable some further functionality (we'll get to this in a bit). On the other end of the pack you'll find a Micro USB port to charge the thing, which also works to charge your phone at the same time if it's connected.
Being a Power Pack "Micro," Motorola has designed this one to be an on-the-go device that you have with you more often than not for those more emergency-level power-ups of your phone. Its capacity is just 1500mAh, and while that's not enough to power up your whole phone, it was enough for me to get about 30 percent into my Nexus 5 even while in use. Motorola says it's good for adding roughly eight hours of power into most popular devices.
Because of how it's targeted, it's actually well-designed to let you continue using your phone while charging, provided the USB port is on the bottom of your phone (if it's on the top or side, this is going to look goofy). It nicely nestles in your hand and lets you go on using the device without having something dangling off of it by a cable.
At 41 x 17 x 60mm the Power Pack Micro isn't exactly small, but Motorola is positioning it as a device you could keep clipped onto your keys at all times. I found it too big to work that way, as it's notably larger than both my car key fob and my garage door/apartment access key fob. Of course if you regularly keep your keys in a bag or purse, you probably won't have many problems with that.
And if you do choose to have it attached to your keys, you get some added benefits that really set it apart from a "dumb" battery pack. The Power Pack Micro connects to your phone over Bluetooth, and when used in conjunction with the Motorola Connect app offers some neat features.
When connected (after a quick one-time pairing process), you can at any time open up the Motorola Connect app to see how much capacity the Power Pack Micro has left — whether it's stuck into your phone charging or plugged into a wall getting recharged itself.
You can also locate either your phone or the Power Pack Micro if you've misplaced one, so long as it's within Bluetooth range. Just like other Bluetooth trackers, you can use the Motorola Connect app again to audibly ping your Power Pack Micro (and therefore your attached keys, more importantly) and see its last-known location on a map, or double tap the button on the Power Pack Micro to ping your phone instead.
It's a useful little feature if you happen to misplace your phone or keys around the house, but considering that I'm pretty good about leaving my keys on the hook next to the front door and my phone on my desk, I don't think I'd make much use of it. To say nothing of the fact that I still think the Power Pack Micro is too big to fit into my pocket on my keys.
Though the Power Pack Micro works on non-Motorola devices, you may want to keep in mind that this would work as a Trusted Bluetooth device to keep your late-model Motorola phone (or device running Android L in the future) unlocked whenever it's within reach. That may be worth the price of the Power Pack Micro alone.
Another battery pack to have in your arsenal
Let's be honest — the Motorola Power Pack Micro doesn't have the capacity, ports or features to be a first-choice external battery for the power users out there. And at $40 for just a1500mAh of capacity, you're not getting the charge-for-your-buck even compared to expensive big-name batteries out there.
But as a secondary device to have on your keys (or at least niftily tucked away in a bag or pocket), it offers far more than your average power-delivering dumb battery. There are just a few extra features available here, but they really show Motorola has thought things through to add real value to what's otherwise a throwaway product. And for that, it's worth taking a look at the Power Pack Micro as your on-person emergency battery charger to help get your phone through tough times.