Tech News on G4

Champ Bodyguard & ZipStick 3-in-1 Power Banks

Sept 3, 2014

By Greg Gazin - Apple Gazin' - G4 Canada

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Champ Bodyguard & ZipStick 3-in-1 Power BanksEvery once in a while you come across two cool products that are functionally identical but marketed under different brands. Such is the case with the Champ Bodyguard Battery Rechargeable Power Bank and the AR for Her PowerBank with LED flashlight and Panic Alarm, a.k.a the ZipStick. And while these product names seem to be quite a mouthful, they both accomplish the same job and appeal to two unique demographics.

They are slim-line battery packs designed to power and charge up 5V USB devices. They have a built-in LED flashlight and a panic alarm that emits a very loud and annoying sound designed to either attract attention or to scare off something or someone.

Lightweight and very portable, they feature a high-performance 2200mAh lithium-ion battery. If you consider that the average iPhone has roughly a 1400mAh battery, then you should expect these battery packs to have enough juice to charge your device about 1 1/2 times. It features a 5V/1A charging output, similar to that of the typical smartphone charger – more or less what it’s designed for. It’s less ideal for energy hungry devices like the iPad that have significantly larger batteries and typically need at least 2A. So you can give it a small rejoicing, it won’t be what you would expect.

It has a microUSB charging port and a standard USB output port and comes with a short 1’ microUSB-to-USB charging cable. You’ll still need a cable to charge whichever device you want to juice up.

All slide controls are all located on one upper section of the charger. You can engage the 110 dB with panic alarm by simply sliding the marked switch horizontally. Above it set vertically is a three setting switch which can be set to recharge its battery, charge your phone and illuminate the LED flashlight.

I took the Champ model out for a test drive. It's long and slim measuring 5”x 7/8”x 3/4” with a flat bottom so it can also stand tall on a flat surface. Its slightly rounded corners make it easy to handle and fits nicely in your pocket or purse without any risk of tearing the fabric. In fact I charged up an iPhone 4S while both were in my coat pocket.

The unit seems to recharge my phone quite quickly although I didn’t quite get full one and one-half charges. A tiny blue LED lets you know that your phone is charging. When recharging the battery pack the upper portion of the unit is slightly illuminated and goes off when it’s fully charged.

Champ Bodyguard & ZipStick 3-in-1 Power BanksSwitch Settings

As mentioned earlier, you have to set the slide control at the 1st position for charging and at the 2nd for recharging. I would like to have seen the unit be able to sense that automatically depending on what’s plugged in. If you forget to set it appropriately, you might discover hours later, you still have a dead phone battery.

One thing I found both convenient yet awkward is that the panic alarm switch is very close to the charging/flashlight switch and both the same colour. Although the switches have good resistance – i.e. won’t engage without moving them, if you’re in a hurry and not paying attention, you could inadvertently set off the panic alarm when you meant to turn on your flashlight.

The flashlight is a nice little extra and although one would not expect a lot from a small single LED it does do the job. And finally, the panic alarm, something which you wouldn't want to engage too often does emit allowed annoying pitch but not loud enough that you would hear it a block away.


Champ Bodyguard & ZipStick 3-in-1 Power BanksDifferentiating Models

The Champ Bodyguard Battery Rechargeable Power Bank comes with a two-tone red and white shell. Champ has a series of products for the emergency preparedness market and red and white is fairly consistent across their product line.

The Champ Bodyguard is available on Amazon and through select retailers like London Drugs for $39.99 CDN.

Now who says safety can’t be stylish and fashionable? AR for Her ZipStick - PowerBank with LED flashlight and Panic Alarm comes in a number of textured and pattern shell options, designed primarily for the ladies to keep in their pocket or purse.

In fact this product is part of a collection we sneak previewed in our Techcessories for Her segment back in January just after CES 2014.

The AR for Her ZipStick retails for $34.99 U.S. It comes in a white diamond pattern and be ordered though the ShopForHer website. If you want to forgo the panic alarm you can pick them up for $29.99 and have additional options of black or white diamond pattern, black rubberized finish or pink polka dot.

Overall, these 3-in-1 devices make sense and in fact they’re also a great addition to your child backpack for Back-to-School. And although I'm sure they’ll be used primarily as a battery charger, you never know when you might need a flashlight or a panic alarm. Both brands are part of the Voxx International Company.

Rating: 4 / 5

Greg Gazin can be reached at  gadgetguy "at" telus "dot" net , , or on Twitter @GadgetGreg

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