The iWap IUC-23 is a multifunction battery charger that is versatile and allows you to charge nearly any type of battery that you throw at it (*almost*). With this device, you will find out how useful this thing really is in multiple situations. This is no ordinary charger. At first glance, one may wonder what this unique thing does. But once you truly realize what this product can do, you will find yourself well equipped and that you have a one-of-a-kind device/tool that can be used every day.
How did I stumble upon this product? Honestly, I was looking for one of those backup batteries for my iPhone. The kind that you can plug into your iPhone to help charge your iPhone when you need backup power. I tend to use my iPhone a lot in playing games, listening to music, making calls, etc., therefore my battery drains pretty quickly. I looked EVERYWHERE to research what options were available including Ebay and those online stores that sell China products directly. Many of them come in a small form factor with a built in lithium battery. I have even seen ones that let you use AA batteries or even NIMH batteries But then I thought that the lithium batteries weren't replaceable at all. After a while, it won't hold much a charge and you will end up throwing it away. And NIMH batteries have a pretty long recharge time and generally wear out faster than lithium ion batteries. Once the battery dies, you pretty much have a useless paper weight. So I kept searching and searching wondering whether there was any kind of charger than could charge different kinds of batteries? Was there anything that could charge rechargeable AA lithium batteries? Searching and searching, I found this product. Yes, this product could do those things.
The iWap IUC-23 is a 20-in-1 universal battery charger that is one of three products in the iWap series. There is also the IUC-11 5-in-1 universal battery charger, and the IUC-17 15-in-1 universal battery charger. Honestly, I cannot find exactly how they arrived at '20 functions' because it doesn't seem to be listed anywhere. The IUC-23 is the top of the line version. Compared with the IUC-17, the IUC-23 can charge up to 4 devices from the USB port, has a rapid charging feature, and can also revive 'dead' batteries. When comparing the IUC-17 and IUC-11, the IUC-17 can charge NIMH batteries.
The IUC-23 came in a sealed plastic container. It comes with many accessories that allow you to charge different kinds of mobile devices. In addition there is a separate set of connectors which allow you to charge other kinds of devices such as a laptop. A separate AC adapter was included outside of the sealed plastic container. To hold all the adapters, a black zippered cloth bag is provided.
Let's take a tour of the device. At the front are 5 LED indicator lights which help indicate certain statuses. It is also conveniently labeled at the bottom if you forget what the status lights mean. The first LED indicates that the unit is powered, the 2nd is that a lithium ion battery is connected, third a NIMH battery is charging, fourth a li-ion battery is charging, and the last is the USB output indicator. There is also a DC input jack which is where the power adapter will be plugged into to charge your battery. There is also a USB output port which allows you to plug in a USB cable to charge a mobile device. The USB output port provides 5 Volts at 500mA of current.
On one side is a LED light and a 'Revive' button. There's nothing special about the LED light other than the fact that it is there. If you press the button once, the white LED light will turn on. Press and hold the button for 3 seconds and it will enable the 'Revive' mode.
On the other site is the Turbo/Revive button. Press the button once and it will enable 'Turbo' charging. Press and hold it for 3 seconds and it will also enable 'Revive' mode. The Turbo charging mode is used when you want to charge the battery as quickly as possible, but I imagine it will put more wear and tear on the battery possibly shortening its life in the long run.
I would have to say the overall size of the device is portable enough to be carried in a laptop bag. Size-wise, you can hold this in your hand and this thing might barely (yes, barely) fit in a pants pocket, but I wouldn't recommend it because I see this device breaking or cracking with just a simple hit to your pocket.
How does this thing generally work? This device has a hatch/spring mechanism. In order to open the device, you just press the two buttons to spring it open. At that point, the top lid will open allowing you to place the battery. In my case, I used a cell phone battery I had that was sitting around. Then you align the pins to the outermost gold contacts on each side. You then slide a plastic bar to squeeze and secure the battery in place against the pins. If done correctly, you will typically see the lithium ion battery connected blue LED light up (assuming your battery has some juice in it). Then you close the hatch on the device, plug in the power adapter and then you are already charging the battery.
The iWap is designed to charge batteries of different shapes and sizes. If you press and hold the other set of buttons next to the buttons that open the hatch, you will be able to position the contact pins at a different angle. You will be able to rotate the gold pins so that they face upward instead of horizontally. This will allow you to charge batteries where the gold contacts are on the bottom instead of the side.
As a note, if you use the iWap to charger larger sized batteries such as camcorder batteries, you will not be able to close the hatch of the device which is expected. But the battery will still be able to charge.
The iWap isn't only used to just charge batteries that you put into it. It can also charge other external devices such as cell phones or mobile devices with the built in output USB port. The USB port outputs 5V and up to 500mA. In order to test this port, I connected an iPhone sync/charge cable to the USB port and plugged my iPhone 3G to the cable. The iPhone was able to be charged without any issues.
But what is amazing about this is that I can charge my iPhone through the USB port using the power from the battery inside the hatch. This lets you turn the iWap into a backup battery source easily. In the case the battery inside the hatch of the iWap dies, just take it out and put a different battery in if needed. Essentially the iWap is both a battery charger and backup battery as well. With a USB port and the adapters provided, you can charge a wide variety of devices.
When you have a battery in the iWap, a blue LED will light up indicating that it has made contact with the battery. But the thing is the LED will continue to be lit as long as the battery is inside the iWap. It is a bit unnerving that the light won't turn off because it is questionable how much drain that has on the battery. But I expect it to be minimal.
Once the battery has been drained from charging a mobile device, you easily pop out the dead battery and put in a different one. The majority of backup battery devices are non replaceable and require you to buy a new one. The iWap is different because you can easily replace a battery. Like many of us, I wouldn't be surprised if you had some kind of battery laying around. You can just pop that in and continue to charge your mobile device.
The only kind of battery that I couldn't charge was a PSP battery. I could swear the gold contact pins made contact with the battery, but I believe there is some kind of chip in the PSP battery that does not allow the iWap to charge the battery.
The iWap is really a handy battery charger. If you are looking for a product that can charge all types of batteries while being able to charge other devices, then this is for you. This product can be purchased at shopxtreme.com. This is the only place I could find that you could buy it from. The iWap comes in three different models which are priced at $26.99, $35.99, and $49.99 respectively (the model reviewed was the highest end model). If you are just interested in the battery charging mechanism only, then I'd go for the basic model. If you need the AA support and the ability to use it as a backup battery, then go for the middle version. And if you really need all the extra connectors, then go for the top of the line red colored model. This product is so unique, I'd recommend getting one anyways because it would make an excellent gift for the hard-to-please individual.