HyperJuice: How to Charge Your MacBook On the Go

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Image: Alice Truong for Discovery Channel

These days, many companies have addressed the perpetually dying cell phone problem with battery packs. With USB output, these portable batteries — powered via wall outlets, the sun’s rays or a hand crank — can charge up most mobile devices.

Yet such a solution has been lacking for the laptop, another portable device that always manages to die at critical times. Whether you’re commuting on the train or watching movies on the plane, it’s always a frustrating process to be stranded without power, which is why the HyperJuice batteries for Apple devices — MacBooks included — is so useful.

The HyperJuice comes in four capacities varying from 60Wh to 222Wh, the last of which can power a MacBook for up to 45 hours or the iPhone 52 times over. Clad in aluminum to complement the MacBook, the HyperJuice includes four ports for charging (DC in) and discharging (DC out and two USB ports) along with a backlit screen that shows remaining battery life and the temperature the battery is running at. The company says the lithium-ion cells can be recharged up to 1,000 times and includes a built-in short circuit to prevent overcharging and overheating.

Still, despite its utility, there are two major drawbacks. The first is the setup. What you get out of the box is a battery and a strange connector. Though I initially thought the included adapter was for use with a car cigarette lighter, turns out it’s supposed to help you connect the HyerJuice to a MagSafe Airline Adapter, one that’s sold separately by Apple.

Image: HyperShop

There is another method to connect the battery to your computer, and that requires you to modify your existing MagSafe charger. Step one requires you to cut the cable of your charger, something I don’t expect most people will feel inclined to do, despite the following reassurance from the company: “Don’t worry. You will still be able to use your MacBook/MagSafe Power Adapter.” The full directions, which should take about five minutes to complete, are below:

1) Cut your MacBook/MagSafe Adapter’s cable. Don’t worry. You will still be able to use your MacBook/MagSafe Power Adapter. 2) Attach Magic Boxes (Ed note: sold separately as part of the MagSafe Modification Kit) to your cut MagSafe Adapter’s cables. 3) Recharge your HyperJuice battery with modified MagSafe Adapter 4) Recharge your MacBook using your HyperJuice battery. 5) Recharge your MacBook with modified MagSafe Adapter 6) Recharge your MacBook with 12V auto power.

The second drawback is the cost. The entry-level HyperJuice begins at $169.96. The top-of-the-line model that can provide 45 hours of power to your MacBook? That’ll run you $449.95. That’s of course not including the additional airline adapter ($49) or the Magic Box mod kit ($49.95) — at least one of which is required to make this work with your MacBook.

Despite the steep price, there are plenty of professionals who are often on the road who will find this useful. By all means, if you have an expense account, go for it. But this might be out of the reach for the occasional flight or everyday commute on the train.

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