24 March 2014, Comments: 8

 March 2014         Anthony Garland

The largest problem facing portable computing has been – and probably always will be – power. While there are lots of ways to charge mobile devices batteries, the idea of one device to power them all was as realistic as flying unicorns. Or at least it was until the USB-IF finally released their USB Power Delivery standard and Trontium’s Reactor power pack was envisioned.

While it will certainly not be the last, the Trontium Reactor is a 3lb., 9-inch by 2.8-inch aluminum tube that has been packed with high density batteries (capable of 290W hours of energy); sophisticated electronics for charge/discharging; and three 100W USB 3.0 ports. Each port is able to supply upwards of 100W power so you can actually use a USB-PD splitter cable to recharge a tablet and 3 smartphones at full power – over 9 to 50 times depending on how you use it. Ultimately, you will be able to recharge a laptop thru each port when on the go. That’s the power of, eh, USB Power Delivery. Mix in a glowing LED indicator ring to show you when the device is charging or in use and you have the idea behind this made-in-California device.

Keep in mind that while it can be charged via any 5 to 20V power source, its bundled 100W USB charger (3.5-hour recharge time) or a car adapter (5-hour recharge time) are the only ways to recharge a timely manner. Additionally, devices which you want to power via the Reactor will obviously have to either support USB Power Delivery standard for heavy-duty charging or at the least support USB charging.

For the time being, this means the Reactor will be limited to recharging phones, tablets and other such mobile devices, and will not be able to power say a laptop or a monitor like Trontium infer it can. As time goes by, this will change but at $299, this waterproof power pack canister is going to be hard to justify for many. Early adopters however can pre-order one for an estimated September delivery.

  • Trontium

    Need to clear up a few serious inaccuracies in the article.

    1. The Reactor will work with devices that are not USB Power Delivery enabled. USB Power Delivery is merely a communication protocol that the Reactor supports. It will charge or power existing devices that are not USB Power Delivery enabled with the use of adapter cables.

    2. The Reactor does not come bundled with a 100W USB charger or any power adapter. The Reactor does come with one USB cable capable of transferring 100 watts of power.

    The Reactor will work with virtually any device you have. That’s why we call it a universal battery.

    • loopyduck

      How long does it take to recharge a fully depleted Reactor?

      • Trontium

        About 3.5 hours.

        • loopyduck

          Since that charging time figure depends on a 100 watt USB charger and the Reactors don’t come with a charger, what 100 watt USB charger do you recommend owners use with the Reactor? Amazon doesn’t seem to list any.

          Does the Reactor have a separate charging port, or must it use one of the three USB ports to charge? Does the Reactor have charge-through capability?

          Who is providing the cells?

          Why the decision to go with a tall, cylindrical shape (has a high center of gravity and can roll off a table, potentially taking your phone or tablet with it) instead of a parallelepiped?

          What does the bottom of the Reactor look like? There aren’t any pictures of it :)

          • Trontium

            We will be selling a 100 watt USB power adapter. That is what we would recommend.

            The Reactor has a separate converter circuit for each port that is connected to the main battery circuit. You can certainly charge-through it. We expect most people to do that.

            The bottom of the reactor is just flat anodized aluminum.

  • Ajzen

    This is really huge. Now, my ravpower lipstick charger looks so small.

  • Ian James D. Wong

    i wanna buy. im not good about voltages but im more familiar in amps, like in powerbanks. if so, how much in amps would this reactor be equal to? im using 14,000mah power bank. and i think i need this one for more.

    • EndlessWaves

      Amperes = Watts / Volts.

      The story doesn’t say which profiles this supports but USB power delivery has 5V, 12V and 20V as standard voltages. More power hungry devices are expected to use the higher voltages as it’s safer than pushing up the current.

      So you’d get 58Ah@5V, 24.17Ah@12v and 14.5Ah@20V. Get used to Watt hours being used, Ampere hours are meaningless unless you know the voltage, A Watt hour is a fixed amount of power.

      Existing USB is a standard 5v so in milliampere hours for a current device it’s a 58,000mAh pack.