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Published on March 1st, 2012 | by Greg


Mobile Accessories: Two Each From Tylt and PureGear

Just when you thought iPhone and mo­bile phone ac­ces­sories had grown stale and pre­dictable, some­one shows up and shakes up the tree a bit. At CES 2012 ear­li­er this year, we got a chance to see what fell out, and have two com­pa­nies on-hand to­day, each of­fer­ing twists on old clas­sics. We test­ed ev­ery­thing with the Ap­ple iPhone 4 and the Sam­sung Galaxy, but both firms have lines that en­com­pass oth­er smart­phones as well, from Black­ber­ry to HTC, Mo­toro­la, and more.

We’ll start with a brand that came out of nowhere to leave a pret­ty big im­pres­sion at CES- Tylt. We’ve been test­ing out the Zu­mo Portable Bat­tery Pack and the Pow­er­Plant Portable Bat­tery Pack. They’re sim­i­lar in some ways- both of­fer lithi­um ion bat­ter­ies to help juice your de­vice in times of need, and both fea­ture a cute patent-pend­ing flex­i­ble charg­ing arm. But in most oth­er ways, they are pret­ty dis­tinct de­vices. The Zu­mo, for in­stance, holds about 1500 mAh, enough for a full charge to most smart­phones. It charges in a cou­ple of hours via USB, and has a nice set of LEDs that serve as a pow­er lev­el in­di­ca­tor. Ev­ery­thing folds up nice­ly, mak­ing it ex­treme­ly portable and per­fect for trav­el, and it can fit in a pock­et with­out wor­ry. They ap­pear to be mak­ing two mod­els, one with a 30-pin adapter, though ours was mi­cro-USB on­ly.

The Pow­er­Plant is the big­ger sib­ling. It of­fers more than three times the reser­voir, 5200 mAh, mean­ing that you can recharge your smart­phone ful­ly twice over or your iPad or oth­er tablet once. We al­so liked that you can con­nect two de­vices si­mul­ta­ne­ous­ly for a boost (one with mi­cro-USB and the oth­er over reg­u­lar USB). Again, the flex­i­ble ca­bles flip-out and are pret­ty nifty, and an LED in­di­ca­tor is built-in as well, but this one in­cludes a wall charg­er as well. You’ll need six or so hours to recharge this guy, and Tylt claims that both de­vices can hold a charge for up to a year. At on­ly 5 ounces, the Pow­er­Plant is dense but not that heavy, and we gen­er­al­ly liked the form fac­tor on both. The Zu­mo feels a lit­tler stur­dier and more durable, but the Pow­er­Plant is a bit glossier and sex­i­er. Both are avail­able on­ly in black, and should be more wide­ly avail­able soon- we found the Pow­er­Plant at the Sprint store on­ly at press time for $60, but pric­ing on the Zu­mo is like­ly to be a bit less ex­pen­sive.

PureGear’s PureTek Roll-On Screen Shield Kit is a mixed bless­ing. It does rev­o­lu­tion­ize the screen shield, of­fer­ing some­thing sore­ly lack­ing- sim­plic­i­ty in ap­pli­ca­tion. If you’re any­thing like us, you’ve strug­gled more than once with af­fix­ing a screen shield to a de­vice, mess­ing about for quite a while try­ing to get rid of bub­bles or align ev­ery­thing per­fect­ly. How­ev­er, that con­ve­nience comes at a stiff price. $25 for what is, in the end, a screen shield felt re­al­ly ex­pen­sive to us. The shield it­self is fine- it held up well over some abuse- but the ad­vance here is in the er­ror-free “ap­pli­ca­tion tray” and roller. It worked, but was a bit com­pli­cat­ed.

The PureGear Du­al­tek Ex­treme Shock Case couldn’t be much sim­pler though. Fea­tur­ing some heavy du­ty edge and cor­ner shock pro­tec­tion, it isn’t quite as rad­i­cal (or at­trac­tive) as the G-Form, but does feel pret­ty sol­id. As with many cas­es, you’re giv­ing up a bit of porta­bil­i­ty- this one isn’t too heavy, but does add enough thick­ness that your sleek phone might not fit in those skin­ny jean pock­ets. We ap­pre­ci­at­ed the bit of ex­tra lip over the screen though, to pro­tect it from face-down falls and drops, and it’s avail­able in white or black (both with de­cent­ly tex­tured but slight­ly off-look­ing grey grips). As with many iPhone cas­es, some head­phones won’t work nice­ly with this one, but ev­ery­thing is ac­ces­si­ble. Avail­able now, $40.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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