Cellink I Mobile Charger and Card Reader for iPhone and iPod Review

When you travel, you need to take support gear for the gadget you carry – chargers, sync cables, and maybe even a backup battery.  All this stuff takes up a lot of room and adds a lot of weight to your carry-on bag.  The Cellink I will help you reduce the amount you carry for your iPhone or iPod.  This multipurpose device from Cell Drive has four functions.  Let’s check out those functions now.

All the following pictures can be clicked to enlarge.

The insert shows the functions of the Cellink I.  It has a 600mAh backup battery inside; the tiny red and green LEDs on the front show when the battery is charging (red) and when it’s fully charged (green).  There’s also a slot on one side that holds a microSD card so you can use the Cellink I as a USB flash drive.  The blue LED on the front shows when data transfer is occurring.

The Cellink I has a standard USB plug on one end and the Apple 30-pin plug on the other.  It’s made of black plastic, and it measures 2.75″ long X 0.8″ wide X 0.5″ thick.  It weighs 0.85 oz.  It comes with a silvertoned plastic sleeve.

You can see the sleeve actually leaves the top open, so the plugs aren’t fully protected from dirt and dust.  It should prevent your keys or a pen from jamming inside the plugs, though.

In the upper photo, you’ll see a microSD card partially inserted into the slot on the side.  With the card in place, you can use the Cellink I as a USB flash drive or a card reader.  It doesn’t function as a card reader on the iPhone.  My iPhone didn’t see the card at all, but it worked well with my laptop as a flash drive to write or read the contents of the card.  The Cellink I transferred the contents of a 1.63GB folder (2615 items) from my laptop to my 4GB microSD inside the card reader slot in 7 minutes.

The red LED shows that the internal battery is charging.  I can also use the Cellink I instead of the white cable that comes with the iPhone/iPod.  When the Cellink I is connected to a computer, it allows the iPhone or iPod to sync with iTunes.  It performed both of the functions well, but the photo illustrates the biggest problem I had with using the Cellink I in lieu of a charging cable.  My laptop is sitting flat on the tabletop, but you can see there’s a sizeable gap under the Cellink I.  I’d need to find something of the appropriate thickness to support my iPhone or iPod before I could plug it in, otherwise, I’m afraid the weight of the iOS device would put too much stress on the USB plug and the USB port on my laptop.  You’d have an even bigger problem if your USB ports were vertically oriented.

I would not use this as a substitute charging/sync cable unless I used it with a USB extension cable.

It took a couple of hours to charge the Cellink I, as indicated by the green charge-complete light.  I’ve attached it to my iPhone 4 in this picture.  Click on the picture, and you’ll be able to see the lightning bolt on the battery icon that indicates the phone is charging.  It took my iPhone from 80% charge to 100% in about 50 minutes.

Unfortunately, there are no lights on the front of the Cellink I that indicate that charging is occurring.  There’s also no way to know the charged level of the internal battery.  I couldn’t tell if the Cellink I had any power left after it finished charging the iPhone 4, but it seemed to be drained.  I plugged it into my iPod nano, and it didn’t charge the nano at all.

I tried it again with the nano after first recharging the Cellink I.  The nano started out with almost no charge at all, as you can see in the upper photo.  In the lower photo, you can see that the charge level is increased, but there is no lightning bolt on the battery to indicate charging.  I left it plugged in, and it did give a partial charge to the nano.

I’m not sure how long the internal battery retains a charge.  I left it laying on a table for a couple of days, and it would still start charging my iPhone.  However, I had no way of knowing how much power it had because it doesn’t have charge level indicators.  I wouldn’t want to take it with me on a trip unless I had first recharged the Cellink I.

The Cellink I can work as an emergency power source to give you just a little extra charge until you make it to your destination, but it’s not going to give you an extra day of use before you’ll need a power outlet.  I’d also be sure to charge it up just before leaving since there’s no way to tell how much power the battery has.  It can be used as a replacement for the Apple charge/sync cable, but you’ll need to support the iPhone or iPod to be sure you don’t accidentally damage the USB plug or port because of the weight of the device pulling down on the connection point.  And don’t forget, you can use the device as a USB flash drive or microSD card reader.  It performs its functions well enough, but I just wouldn’t use it to connect my Apple device to my computer without using a USB extension cable.  Its biggest value to me would be as an external battery, but it only gives a partial charge and it has no level indicators.  At $50, it seems a bit expensive.

 

Product Information

Price:$49.95
Manufacturer:Cell Drive
Pros:
  • Can replace the USB charge/sync cable
  • Has a small backup battery inside that can give your iPhone or iPod a partial charge
  • Can be used as a microSD card reader or as a USB flash drive
Cons:
  • You'll probably need a USB extension cable to use the Cellink I as a charge/sync cable, espeically if your computer has vertical USB ports.
  • No way to know how much charge is left in the internal battery
Posted in: Cables, Batteries and Chargers, iPhone, iPad, iPod, Reviews

2 comments… add one

  • Sam Duyka September 1, 2012, 7:43 pm

    Hello Janet, I am the owner of the Cellink I that you reviewed and I do appreicate your candid remarks and I agree with them all. I will be revising the next model with your remarks in mind. Just to let you know that I have reduced the price of the Cellink I to $39.95 and have also decided to include a 4 GB micro SD card with the product, so this should really add value to the product. Anyway, feel free to contact me with any other questions at 817-307-2004.

    1
  • Janet Cloninger September 1, 2012, 9:25 pm

    @Sam Duyka Thanks for letting our readers know about the price break and the SD card. I think adding some little LEDs to indicate the charge level would add a lot of value, too.

    2

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