If you’re anything like me, you are always interested when new pieces of technology come along, especially when that new tech is useful. Some of the most useful new ideas are coming from individuals or small companies that don’t have the necessary funding to come up with a great idea and then see it through all of the expensive steps between conception and the final product. Many of these folks have turned to crowd funding websites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, and while I love learning about new products, I don’t really have a lot of time to sift through all of the stuff out there to find the good stuff. So in an effort to bring these potentially great products to your attention, I give you Indie Tech. I will do my best to bring you some of the latest and greatest ideas from independent creators who are seeking funding.
Most geeks don’t really travel light when it comes to our gadgets. Let’s face it, most of us are carrying a lot of battery powered stuff when we leave home. For example, many times when I’m packing to go on any sort of road trip will have in my bag the following: my laptop, iPad, PS Vita and/or 3DS, Kindle Paperwhite, and my iPhone in my pocket. With the exception of the Kindle, most of those devices have the possibility of running out of battery at some point, and I can tell you that there’s really nothing worse than wanting to rock out some Tearaway on your Vita, only to realize that you’ve exhausted the battery already. Ok, so there are worse things in the world, but it still bums me out that I can’t read Saga on my iPad because I forgot to charge it the night before and now I’m stuck in a car for 16 hours driving to Ontario. That’s where The FIG comes in.
There are a lot of external battery pack chargers on the market, and some are pretty good. Others are really very bad. I have had experience with both, and there are two main things that drive me nuts with these units: some aren’t powerful enough to charge larger devices like tablets, and you (usually) don’t have any accurate way of knowing how much juice the external battery has left. The FIG from Slik-Tec aims to fix both of those complaints in a single, sleek unit with an OLED display and battery percentage indicator, as well as a live current read out. It comes in two configurations: a 6,000 mAh battery, which should be sufficient to give a full charge for most smart phones, and will just about completely charge small tablets like the Nexus 7 or iPad mini. The second model sports a 10,400 mAh battery, which should be enough to fully charge an iPhone 5s and an iPad Air.
Other great features of The FIG include two USB ports for dual charging. The promo video shows both an iPhone and an iPad being charged at the same time from a single FIG unit, and the OLED is showing how much juice is left in the battery. I also really like the size and shape of The FIG. It’s smaller than some similar products, and it’s looks – while not jaw dropping – include sleek lines and no sharp corners. This is a real plus if it’s going to be in and out of your bag all the time.
I have no hands-on experience with The FIG, though I hope to back them and get my hands on the 10,400 mAh battery for use on long road trips. The backing tiers on IndieGoGo are $59 for the 6,000 mAh, the 10,400 mAh is $79, and for $99 you can get the “camper” package that includes the 10,400 mAh battery as well as a small solar panel and an LED flashlight (the solar panel is supposed to recharge The FIG). As of this writing, there’s only 15 days left to back them, and they haven’t come close to their goal. I cannot guarantee the quality of a product that has not yet made it to market, but these guys really seem to have their stuff together. They’ve already funded the R&D to get the thing ready for sale, established their supply chain, and lined up production, but don’t have the necessary funds to start producing and shipping them in quantity. If you or someone you know might be in the market for a solution like this, I’d encourage you to take a look at The FIG and see if it’s the right product for you, because having dead batteries sucks.