If you have ever been stranded in a car that won’t start, it is at that moment that you regret never having invested in jumper cables. Well, forget the jumper cables and get a Wagan Tech IonBoost V8 instead. I was just sent this to review and believe me it is an amazing unit. Not only will it start your car in those stranded situations it has the versatility to keep your cell phone, tablet, and laptop charged up, not to mention a myriad of other devices. Read my review to learn all about it.
It happened to me last winter, coming back from a tropical vacation to a dead car parked at the airport for the last week. There was an unusual cold-snap and the frozen car wouldn’t start because the battery was too weak. To make matters worse, it was about 1 o’clock in the morning, I didn’t have cold weather clothes, and no jumper cables. Even if I did have jumper cables there was no one around at that time to get a jump from. The IonBoost V8 would have been an ideal saviour.
I got to test out the IonBoost and was very favourably impressed. Here’s what I found.
The IonBoost V8 essentially is a Lithium-Ion battery that can be used as a jump-starter. The thing that amazes me about this booster battery is how small it is, especially when you consider how big a normal car battery is. The IonBoost measures about 6.5 inches by 3.1 inches by 1.5 inches – so about the size of a pocketbook, but not as wide as a pocketbook. So small that it fits nicely in the palm of your hand and is easy to take with you.
I particularly like the feel of the unit because it has some kind of coating on it that feels soft to the touch, even though it isn’t. Kind of like comparing suede leather to regular leather – it has that suede feel to it. The design is simple, comfortable, and very effective. It has an LED flashlight that is well-located at the end of the unit so when you hold it naturally in your hand it points forward. It can also stand up on its own so you can point the flashlight without holding it.
It comes with 3 different ports to connect to, as well as an on/off switch and a mode button to change the voltage or turn the LED flashlight on and off. The voltage selections are 12V, 16V, and 19V. It also has an indicator light that tells you how much of a charge it has. The three connection ports are a Jumper Cable port, a USB power port, and a DC power port. They are all conveniently located together on the side of the unit.
Well Equipped – In the Box
The IonBoost V8 comes in a very well-constructed bright red case that zippers shut and has that “emergency-kit” feel to it. In the kit come high-quality jumper cables that plug into the battery, and a number of other cable connectors. I say high-quality because the jumper cables are very sturdy with strong springs to clamp on the battery. For the USB power port comes an octopus type cable that you can plug an IOS, Android, or other devices into. The cable includes micro and mini USB, an Apple 30 pin and lightening connector. It also comes with a full laptop connection kit.This kit has a cable that plugs into the IonBoost at one end and into your laptop at the other end. Because there is no standard power connection on laptops, they provide 8 different adapters so you are bound to find one that will work with your laptop – unless you have a Mac. Mac power books all have a “magsafe” magnetic power connector, which unfortunately isn’t part of the IonBoost V8 package.
Lastly, the IonBoost kit comes with two different charging adapters to charge up the unit. One that plugs into your AC home outlets, and another to charge it using the DC plug in your car. This is a great feature so if you forget to charge it at home just plug it in your car when you are on the road and it charges up quickly.
Power, Convenience, and Versatility
This is a multi-faceted battery that has the power to act as a charger for a dead car, or for USB connected devices like your cell phone. Both a dead car and a dead phone can be detrimental, especially if they happen at the same time. However, this small pocketbook sized battery has enough power to jump up to 10 cars on one charge. The Lithium-ion battery has up to 300 amps of cranking power, and 500 peak amps. The battery technology is fairly foolproof for jumping a car since the LED lights will let you know if you have the cables connected correctly. The battery also has overvoltage protection, short-circuit protection, and other safety features to prevent sparking that can be dangerous.
There are several problems with having just regular jumper cables. First of all, they have no other use so you buy them and hopefully will never actually use them. When you do need them, you need to find someone else with a working battery to jump your car. And often, people (of course not you) are uncertain on how to properly hook up the cables to jump the car. The IonBoost V8 solves all these issues, and does it nicely.
I particularly like the multi-use aspect of the IonBoost. Although it is there as an emergency device the odd time you might need to jump your car, it can be used daily as an extra portable power supply for your tablet, Smartphone, camera, GPS device, laptop, etc. Having travelled a fair bit, airports and planes still aren’t well enough equipped to allow you to keep your devices charged when traveling. I also like to camp with the family and having this extra power source is an awesome capability, not to mention the LED flashlight that is fully rechargeable. The flashlight is very bright and has the added benefit of being able to flash on and off so you can use it as an emergency flasher.
Quick and Easy
When I initially charged the IonBoost, it took just under two hours. The manual says 2-3 hours on average so it may have had a slight charge when it came in the box. It takes about the same amount of time to fully charge the unit using your car cigarette lighter and the manual says not to exceed 4 hours of charging. So getting a full charge on the IonBoost V8 doesn’t take very long.
I used the IonBoost V8 several times to charge up my dying Android phone, as well as my iPad and it seemed to charge them up just as fast as if I had them directly plugged at home. I also used it to charge up my pocket camera as well as a couple of rechargeable bicycle lights that I use for riding at night. I wanted to try it on my laptop but I have a Macbook. This battery pack worked extremely well and I could see traveling for business or leisure with it because it is so small and powerful.
The WAGAN IonBoost V8 is an excellent emergency kit that is very practical. It can be ready for an emergency but can be useful all the time. Why would anyone invest in plain old jumper cables?