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Review: Powerslayer Kit from Velvetwire

Posted by on Jun 28, 2014 in Lifestyle | 0 comments

Did you know your phone and tablet chargers are power vampires? They suck electricity even after the devices are fully charged.

One way to slay the vampire is with Velvetwire’s Powerslayer, a software driven charger that powers off when your device is fully charged.  This is clearly eco-friendly and fiscally advantageous because you don’t waste energy and, since repeatedly overcharging a device gradually ruins the battery until it won’t hold a charge, your battery will last longer. The latter benefit is very appealing to people like me and George who typically charge our devices overnight.

I first heard about Velvetwire’s Powerslayer charger in December and I couldn’t wait for it to hit the market, which was supposed to be in January 2014. I hung in there and checked the PowerSlayer website regularly until April when I finally saw the product was shipping. I immediately ordered 2 Powerslayer charging kits, one for me and one for George. At $85 each, plus $14 shipping and handling they were pricey, but I hoped they’d be worth the investment.

Update 11/29/2014: Prices have gone down to $79 each and $11 shipping and handling.

Powerslayer Revew: Powerslayer Kit

The Charger Works …

The Powerslayer kit came minimally packaged in nice cardboard box which made me happy, because I could recycle all the packaging.

The charger works as advertised. The LED indicator glows orange when the device is charging, green when it is fully charged. After a few minutes of being green, the LED indicator turns off so you don’t waste power. The simple act of having the device completely power off to prevent it from wasting energy on something as insignificant as an indicator light is smart, but I haven’t seen any other charger work that way. Another advantage of a charger that powers off when it’s not in use is that you can leave the charger plugged into an outlet and it won’t suck power from the grid in your house.

… But The USB Cable Breaks

The next time I used the charger I noticed an issue with the micro USB cable. The icon on the phone connector end was printed on the wrong side of the connector. Normally the icon on a connector faces up, this one faced down. Although it annoyed me I tried not to think about it and went to sleep.

In the morning when I pulled the connector out of the phone, a plastic block snapped off the square with the USB contact. The cable still worked but I was very unhappy a piece would break so soon. After contacting Velvetwire through a form on their website, a week passed without a response so  I called and they put a new cable in the mail that day. Via email they also acknowledged the issue with the icon, saying it would be fixed the next time they were manufactured.

Powerslayer Revew: broken powerslayer cable

After I received the new connector, Velvetwire followed up via email to ensure everything was fine and it was… for another few weeks until the same thing happened again to the new connector. The same week, George’s connector broke on the other end of the cable and pushed the blue braiding down the cord.

Powerslayer Revew: broken powerslayer cable

With 3 broken connectors in under 2 months it became clear that the quality of the connector is not up to par and does not warrant the price. I had bought the slightly more expensive 2 meter micro USB connectors, which are $20 a piece. Although I have a lot of micro USB connectors I wanted Velvetwire’s because it looked like a high quality, durable, and tangle-free connector. I also looked forward to having a long connector for traveling because my phone is my alarm clock and when I’m in a hotel I rarely find an outlet close enough to the bed to put my phone within reach.

George is currently following up with Velvetwire about his connector, but in the meantime, he used super glue to fix the connector and it seems to be working well.

In the Powerslayer kit we also received a travel pouch. The pouch is nice, light and durable. George uses his daily to bring the charger and connector back and forth from home to work.

Update 11/29/2014: On October 6, 2014 Velvetwire contacted me to confirm my mailing address was still the same and they mailed me 2 new cables. After finding out their original cable manufacturer was cutting corners to cut costs they partnered with a new manufacturer. The new cable is perfect and I would highly recommend it!

The Verdict

The Powerslayer charger alone costs $40, which makes it about 50% more expensive than most other chargers. But it’s 100% worth it.  I love how it powers off when then device is fully charged. This eco-friendly feature is sure to save me money on electricity and replacement batteries. The Powerslayer is also one of the few electronics currently being made in the United States and that’s something else I appreciate. If you’re interested in a more technical review including the specs, charging speed and more check out this review on iLounge.

The travel pouch is $30. It’s a good quality and worthwhile for anyone who will use it frequently, but I don’t think I get enough use out of it to warrant the cost.

Since Velvetwire started using a new manufacturer for their cables I would highly recommend them, if you need a longer cable than the one that came with your device, or if your device’s cable does not have a USB connector to plug into the charger.

You My Need to Keep Your Old Charger

The one drawback of the Velvetwire Powerslayer software driven charger is that it won’t work with many devices when they are powered off. I didn’t think this would be a problem for me until my phone lost it’s charge, powered off and I had to find my old charger to recharge it. I’ve keep my old charger around for the past 7 months as a backup, but I’m happy to report that Android users (like me) who install the 4.4 KitKat update Powerslayer will be able to charge their phones even if it has run out of batteries.

Nicole knows making small changes for the greener add up over time and hopes you’re inspired to make some changes of your own after reading her articles. She focuses on easy, green, homemade personal products and green living tips for city dwellers. Nicole lives in Pittsburgh, PA and you can find her on twitter at @_nlg_.

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