It Came in the Mail

Sunday, December 23, 2007

An occasional look at products the travel industry insists we need.

WHAT: TC2 Turbo Charge, a reusable, battery-operated portable charger for cellphones.

AIMED AT: Travelers with dead cellphones and no access to a traditional charger and/or an outlet.

HOW MUCH: $24.95 with one phone adapter; $29.95 with seven adapters.

BUT DOES IT WORK? As someone who regularly tends to forget such mundane tasks as charging my cellphone, the promise of an outlet-free charger made me giddy. And the TC2 didn't disappoint. The fine print says, "If your cellphone is dead, it could take a number of minutes to recharge the cellphone in order for it to be operational." "Minutes" was an exaggeration: I plugged my DOA phone into the palm-size gadget and was dialing out seconds later. The phone was completely recharged within an hour; two days later, it was still alive.

The gizmo comes with one set of AA batteries, which can last through three charges, as well as a nifty built-in flashlight. The bouquet of short wire adapters will fit most popular phones sold within the past three years. The company also offers similar products for iPods, iPhones and gaming devices.

A tip: The charger's switch has three positions -- flashlight, charger and off. When you're finished charging, make sure you set the switch in the somewhat tricky off position, which is between the other two settings, or the batteries in your turbo charger will be as dead as your phone once was.

-- Carol Sottili

The TC2 is available through the company at

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