If you’ve ever traveled during the holidays, you know that it’s become next to impossible to secure a wall outlet at any major airport. There’s nothing worse than having an iOS device loaded with games, music, and videos, only to see your battery level quickly plummeting. The Powerocks Magicstick is only one option for a portable USB charger, but the fun colors and compact size make it a good choice.
The Magicstick is a plain-looking tube, about the size of a pack of Life Savers, with a bit of extra heft (it weighs 2.6 ounces). Our previous charger, the Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation, has the dimensions of a deck of cards, so the Magicstick is slightly more portable.
The Magicstick gets its name from the fanciful colored lights on one end, which indicate the level of charge in your battery. If the end glows blue, you’ve got a full or nearly full charge. When the battery dips below 70%, the light turns green. When it’s red, you’ve got 30% or less of a charge available.
This colored indicator is the most unique feature of the Magicstick, and it does make a plain old battery into more of a fun accessory. Our Mophie Juice Pack uses four little green lights to indicate the level of charge, which provides more detailed battery information, but it’s a subtle effect.
The Magickstick won’t really double as a toy for kids or portable light show, but the bit of decoration gives it some extra personality. It’s available for $50 on the Powerocks website, but we found it marked down as low as $25 on Amazon. As for the charge itself, we found it perfectly adequate for powering an iPhone 5S from 0% to 100%. If you’re planning to travel, an extra battery for your mobile devices is essential– you don’t want to be stuck reading in-flight magazines or the emergency landing instructions just because you forgot to pack a charge.
Score: 3 out of 4
Pros: Highly portable; fun colored lights to indicate charge level; convenient way to extend your device’s life while traveling; good price
Cons: Only enough juice for one complete device charge; only charges one device at a time; battery drains rapidly if you leave the USB cord plugged in
Bottom line: The Magicstick is an amusing and useful accessory. You need an extra battery, so you might as well pick the one with colorful lights.