Mobile Technology

Review: LinearFlux LithiumCard credit card-sized portable charger

Review: LinearFlux LithiumCard...
The LinearFlux LithiumCard is a credit card-sized portable charger
The LinearFlux LithiumCard is a credit card-sized portable charger
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The LinearFlux LithiumCard is a credit card-sized portable charger
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The LinearFlux LithiumCard is a credit card-sized portable charger
The LithiumCard is presented in smart black packaging
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The LithiumCard is presented in smart black packaging
Instructions for use are printed on the inside of the packaging
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Instructions for use are printed on the inside of the packaging
A patterned cover provides extra protection
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A patterned cover provides extra protection
The device is self contained with no extra cables required
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The device is self contained with no extra cables required
The LithiumCard has a aluminium chassis
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The LithiumCard has a aluminium chassis
The device is 6 mm (0.2 in) thick
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The device is 6 mm (0.2 in) thick
Its height and width are 54 x 86 mm (2.1 x 3.4 in)
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Its height and width are 54 x 86 mm (2.1 x 3.4 in)
The charger is five times thicker than a credit card
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The charger is five times thicker than a credit card
A moulded lever is used to swing the USB connector out
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A moulded lever is used to swing the USB connector out
The USB connector is used to charge the LithiumCard from a computer or power adapter
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The USB connector is used to charge the LithiumCard from a computer or power adapter
The USB connector is sturdy
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The USB connector is sturdy
A micro-USB connector is used to charge devices from the LithiumCard
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A micro-USB connector is used to charge devices from the LithiumCard
Both the USB and micro-USB connectors swing out from the body of the charger
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Both the USB and micro-USB connectors swing out from the body of the charger
The LithiumCard will charge any micro-USB compatible device
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The LithiumCard will charge any micro-USB compatible device
A power button turns the device on to begin charging a connected device
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A power button turns the device on to begin charging a connected device
The device slots into a computer for charging
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The device slots into a computer for charging
The USB connector holds the weight of the device when connected to a computer
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The USB connector holds the weight of the device when connected to a computer
The LithiumCard should fit in most wallets
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The LithiumCard should fit in most wallets
Fitting the LithiumCard into a card slot is a bit of a squeeze
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Fitting the LithiumCard into a card slot is a bit of a squeeze
It is possible to fit the device into a card slot but not comfortably
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It is possible to fit the device into a card slot but not comfortably
A larger wallet compartment is ideal for storing the LithiumCard
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A larger wallet compartment is ideal for storing the LithiumCard
The LithiumCard will fit into a larger wallet compartment without adding much extra bulk
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The LithiumCard will fit into a larger wallet compartment without adding much extra bulk

Running out of phone battery is a pain, but lots of portable chargers simply aren't portable enough. Not only is LinearFlux's upcoming LithiumCard charger about the size of a credit card, it promises to charge phones at a rate of one percent per minute. Gizmag took a look to see if it lives up to the hype.

As someone who's phone regularly runs out battery, the idea of a portable charger that is small enough to slot in to my wallet without adding excessive bulk is an appealing one. The LithiumCard is, therefore, of particular interest. So, without beating around the bush, I'm pleased to say that it's really rather good.

There's very little to it. As described in our previous article, it has a USB connector that swings out of its body and plugs into a computer for charging the device itself, a short micro-USB cable that also swings out of its body to charge a phone and a power button for switching it on. The chassis is a sleek aluminum and a light on the front indicates charging status.

Although it's the same height and width as a credit card 54 x 86 mm (2.1 x 3.4 in), it's about five times thicker at 6 mm (0.2 in). This is to be expected, of course. The innards have to go somewhere. As a result, getting it into a card slot in your wallet may be a bit of a squeeze – or indeed impossible. I managed it, but only just. Fortunately, like most wallets, mine also has a larger back compartment and the LithiumCard slots in and sits there comfortably without too much added bulk.

It comes in handy too. I played around and tested it at home first, but then needed to charge a phone whilst out and about one night. On the promise of adding one percent per minute to a phone's battery the LithiumCard fell short, although I should say that the device being tested was a prototype so that may be why. We charged a Galaxy S3 at a rate of about one percent every two minutes. That's still quite reasonable in terms of speed, but if you need to charge your phone then frankly any power source is usually welcome, regardless of charging speed. Of course, you're not shackled to a plug socket with the LithiumCard and, in fact, you could feasibly charge your phone in your pocket.

I could detail the swish packaging that the LithiumCard turned up in or the ease with which it slots into a computer USB port for charging, but really all that matters is this: it's dead simple to use and pleasingly convenient. Charge it up, pop into into your wallet or bag and feel satisfied when it comes in handy.

The LithiumCard is due to be shipped to its Indiegogo campaign contributors in May and will be be commercially available after that. It's expected to cost $39.99-$49.99. Keep an eye out for it.

Product page: LinearFlux LithiumCard

5 comments
Ajazen
How many times would this charge an iPhone 5? I'm using a RAVPower luster 3,000mAh, in the look of a lipstick. It can charge an iPhone 5 for two times.
Dave Yost
This is nuts. I can’t believe the extent of ludicrous the constant posting of new products designed to extend the life of a cell phone battery. Well, especially now that the Mt. Everest expeditions have been put on hold. Hello guys, you don’t need dozens of hours of emergency cellphone power. Go to sleep. At night. Plug your cellphone into a charger that is plugged into a wall socket. Anyone every heard of that? It’s a connection to the “city mains.” Essentially an unlimited supply of electrical power. Not a windmill, not an array of solar cells, not a miniature nuclear power plant, not a Pelton wheel hydroelectric power plant. Just a plug. How boring. Whoa! In the morning, your cellphone will be completely charged. iPhone, Samsung, Motorola, whatever, you will have a capacity that FAR exceeds the need that any rational person could possibly use during the day. Anyone who uses their phone in such a a manner so as to exceed its full charge capacity needs to spend some time on the therapist’s couch. Get a life. Oh, and by-the-way, if ABSOLUTELY NEEDED, you can plug your phone into a wall socket during the day, and, OHMYGOD, you can even top it off by plugging it into the cigarette lighter receptacle in a car! All these gadgets/gimmicks for charging cell phones, taken down to reality, are Rube Goldberg concoctions that are just not needed. –unless one is climbing on the upper flanks of Mt. Everest. However, I suspect down at the base camp there are facilities for charging your phone. But, then again, it IS essential that you can call all your friends and Facebook, Twitter, Flitter, and Flatter while you are making the final ascent. Specious technology.
nigeatsolarbusiness
What is the capacity of this thing? To compare it to its competitors, understanding how much energy it has available is crucial and ideally, i'd like to know more about what Lithium technology they are using too. I'm willing to take on the risk of "George Castanza Wallet Sydndrome"
Daishi
@Dave some phones only survive 4-5 hours of actual constant use and battery life fades as phones get older. I really don't use my phone all that much but I usually still have to charge it every day. When I have to spend a day traveling it's murder on my battery and I often using the USB on my laptop to keep my phone alive because there never seems to be available AC outlets in airports, planes, cabs, or busses. Just things like streaming music to my phone at the gym and logging workouts on it do an impressive job of eating a lot of available battery life. Phones are supposed to be wireless and mobile, they aren't supposed to have to spend a lot of time tethered to wall outlets. Battery life and (limited light) camera quality are probably the 2 single largest features on phones that are not yet "good enough".
bf_308
@ David Yost. For those of us who do have a life particularly, First Responders, Fire Marshals, Fire Wardens, Airport Duty Officers, Construction Coordinators...........the list is endless, who regularly do a 16-18hr shift......and some, who are the people who keep your "life" in one piece, I suggest you have some respect before bleating out about the "normal" way things are usually done in your cosy 9-5 "life". The iPhone, as good as it is to keep our jobs going and keeping your "life" normal will not last past midday when we are still busy working and the battery is already past yellow and on its way to red. It is not always possible or feasible to just plug into a wall socket or a vehicle charger so we rely on these gadgets and gimmicks to keep the ball rolling and your "life" in one piece. I trust this is sufficient to explain how the real world is for some? Hoping you have a nice day!