Hurrah – a cure for range-anxiety

Cygnett 5,000 mAh Portable Power bank.



We may be grumpy old Harrumpfers, but we’ve become avid users of mobile phone technology. On our earlier visits to the UK and Europe, the map/GPS function had become indispensable. I’m a fully paid up, ocean-going, industrial grade range-fretter; if my phone goes below 80%, I start gently sweating, and anything below 50% is just intolerable. Having a rented car meant that recharge was never far away, but when we decided to visit Vienna, where we’d be relying on public transport to get around, range-anxiety kicked in, and I looked for an portable power bank that wouldn’t cost the earth, was easy to use, and would give me at least one entire recharge of an iphone 8 – or half each for two phones.

Between my stepson and the guy at JB Hifi, I settled on the Cygnett 5,000mAh Portable Power Bank, for $40. It promises 1.4 charges, which seemed enough to get both Lynne and I out of trouble. I found it easy to use, robust and travel-worthy in a very “haveable” way, and a great travel accessory.

The Cygnett got its first outing when we flew to Viena from Heathrow, after dropping the car off. A whole 6 hours away from mains power, with no 12V socket to provide comfort, and the need to get an Uber and find our hotel at the end of it!

The Cygnett is about the size of an original iphone, has 2 USB output ports, and comes with a short charging cable with its own USB connector – you need a USB source to charge the Cygnett. It has a blue numerical LED display telling you its percentage charge. With the display showing 100, I stuffed the Cygnett in the pocket of my cargo pants, together with a USB cord and, as an afterthought, its own little charging cord, and set off for the train station.

The whole bundle was like carrying an extra small-format iphone. I first used it on the 2-hour flight, as my incessant consumption of Brexit news drove the battery in my phone down to 75%. Only slightly worried that I might be mistaken for a suicide bomber, I fished the lead out and plugged it in. This produced a familiar and reassuring beep from the phone, and a rate of charge superior, so far as I could tell, to what we get from our mains setup. By the time we arrived in Vienna, my phone was fully charged, and I was experiencing the warm, cuddly feeling we range-aholics get when we know that we’ve got enough of our favourite tipple to get us through the day.

Thereafter, I basically carried the Cygnett around in my pocket, although apart from a day trip to Bratislava we hardly used it. Because that’s half the point of it – just knowing it’s there.

I haven’t tried any of the Cygnett’s competitors – have you? What did you think?

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