Reviewed: Promate 240 Indoor Power Station

One of the problems with the technology that holds our world together is that it is so heavily reliant on electricity. Should the power lines stop buzzing for whatever reason, all that keeps you from being completely disconnected is the thin, frail battery in your device, and we all know how well those things hold out these days. Promate has the solution.

Design: 3.5/5

There is no mistaking the Promate 240 for anything other than it is. A bright red box with rubberized, easy-to-grip handles, the plugs, outlets and buttons on the front of the device remove any doubt as to what it’s meant to do. Measuring in at 36.5 x 32 x 37 cm, the 240 tips the scales at a hefty 13 kg, or 28 pounds. It’s not exactly a pocket powerbank, it looks very industrial, and even has the same soft rubber around the sides of the device, so you get both great grip, and additional protection from the inevitable drop.

Hardware: 4/5

The heart of the Promate 240 is an absolutely monstrous 24 Ah sealed lead-acid battery that’s zero-maintenance and practically bulletproof. This routes power to all the commonly used ports and outlets on the front of the device, of which there are a handful. Aside from a duplex 400-Watt, 220V AC outlet for reasonably sized devices, and a 12V DC outlet, the Promate 240 also comes with three USB power ports, and a display to let you know the status of the battery and power output. You also have a car charging port, so you can top-up the device when you’re on the road, and a provision for solar charging, should you find the need to go off-grid for an extended period of time. More likely than not, you’re going to be relying on the included AC wall adapter, as it’s going to be a nice, steady source of power for the unit.

Apart from being able to provide AC power for your devices, the Promate 240 can also double-duty and provide enough power to start your car should your car battery run dry. It comes with a set of alligator clips, which stows away in a compartment at the top of the device, and plugs into two terminals at the back. If you have the misfortune of having to see to a dead battery in the dark, it also gives you area illumination thanks to an LED bank on the side.

User Experience: 4/5

I must confess that the thought of running out of power causes me great anxiety along the levels of being buried alive with hungry spiders. This is likely due to the stresses caused by regular blackouts when I was a child in the 90s, and is only made worse by my increased reliance on tech in my adult life. When I heard that we had what was essentially a huge powerbank to test, I was all over it.

The first thing I thought upon seeing the Promate 240 was its size. While it’s not exactly small, I was expecting larger, based on their description of the device’s capabilities. Roughly a one-foot cube, it’s small enough to toss into your trunk and not worry about. The second thing that hit me was how heavy the thing was. You can carry it, as I did the first day I took it home, but it’s something of a chore to do. While I wouldn’t recommend hiking with it, just so you can power a laptop, the fact that it’s portable at all is a win in my book. Battery technology is what it is at this point, so we work with what we’ve got.

Once it’s topped up, you can start using it to juice up your various devices. USB ports are available for phones and the like, and since it’s 5V DC, the inverter remains off, meaning you get quiet power. This pushed enough power to my mobile phone to fully charge it in about 90 minutes. You can run three USB devices at once, so there won’t be any fighting over who gets to charge. Just plug in, hit the USB button on the front, and you’re ready to go.

The real magic of the device is its ability to power standard AC appliances. The two outlets give you 220V, with a combined draw of 400W, so it might not be the best idea to plug in an air conditioner or fridge. Do try to stick to laptops, small TVs and the like, as long as you don’t exceed the 400-Watt capacity. To get the juice flowing, hit the Power Inverter button, and the Promate will hum to life. You can then plug in the device you want to run, and you’re golden. The amount of time you have will depend on the device plugged, so we can’t really give any hard numbers, but it would be a good idea to keep an eye on the digital readout so you know how much power you have left. Should you be so engrossed in the task at hand, there’s no need to worry, as the Promate 240 audibly alarms, and then shuts itself off once the power drops to a level too low to sustain the appliance.

For the duration of our test. I used the Promate to power and charge my work laptop. After carefully checking that the power brick on my lappie was well within the 240’s specifications, I hit the Inverter button, plugged in, and got to work. The experience was wonderfully unremarkable, and apart from the quiet buzzing of the device, I could hardly tell that I wasn’t plugged into a wall outlet. By the time I had finished charging my laptop, the alarm hadn’t sounded, my work was done, and my laptop was perfectly happy. There was a little heat from the Promate, but nothing that I would even remotely consider as a cause for concern. I can totally see myself at a remote location, laptop plugged in and charging, with a nice USB fan and the LED light to help me get my work done.

Value: 4.5/5

At just PHP 9,999, the Promate 240 is a huge steal. With the many power options, integral inverter, portability, and reliability, there’s really no reason not to have one articularly given the looming reality of rolling blackouts. Good for 500 cycles, and bearing the ability to resurrect your car should your battery run flat, it’s more than worth the price of admission.

What’s Hot:

  • Small
  • Portable
  • Quiet

What’s Not:

  • Heavy

Bottomline:

There’s no reason every home shouldn’t have one.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 36.5 x 32 x 37cm
  • Weight: 13 kg
  • Battery: 400-Watt, Sealed Lead-acid, 24 Ah
  • Output: 12V DC, 3x USB, 2x 220V (400W total)

Also published in GADGETS MAGAZINE May 2016 Issue.

Words by Ren Alcantara

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