There are tons of portable chargers out there. But one’s with a built-in cable(s), not so much. Having to carry around a cable with your portable charger on-the-go doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to us. It’s untidy, more things to carry, and could potentially be misplaced. Thus, we were interested in finding the most comprehensive package between size/portability, battery capacity, cable selection, quality, charging rate, and price and surprisingly many of the options we saw didn’t come close to checking all the boxes, except for one from a company called iWALK.
After using the iWALK Secretary+ exclusively on a trip, we put together this synopsis of key particularities and criticism that should be known to interested shoppers. Let’s get right to it…
> When it comes to build in the $30 price-point, it’s reasonable to expect a plastic affair. Nothing’s wrong with plastic, but there’s cheap ways to do it and then there’s quality ways. Fortunately, the Secretary+ is more-so the latter. Despite there being that average-feeling, hollow-tap to the completely matte, hard plastic surround, it feels thick, sturdy, and tightly put together. We haven’t had any reservations about being rough with this thing.
> There’s also substantial heft (due to the internal components) that fools the mind to thinking it’s a more premium device.
> The raised (bumpy) texture on the front panel is just for looks. It’s of little consequence to handle-ability, because it’s still hard plastic and doesn’t have the friction of a rubbery material.
> One of the nicest things about the Secretary+ is its device flexibility. The unit is equipped with everything you need to charge a microUSB, USB-C, or Apple device (Lightning), all built in. How iWALK implements this with only two cables is by throwing a Lightning adapter on the microUSB connector and then carving out the resting slot to accommodate the cable with or without the adapter. Clever.
> A quality problem we noticed develop is that with the Lightning adapter donned, the resistance that keeps the cable in its slot can’t overcome the extra connector weight and flops out of place with gravity’s pull. Without the adapter, it’s fine. No bueno.
> One other thing that attracted us to the Secretary+ is its stellar balance between features, mindful of travel-ability. It’s not a huge brick (footprint is significantly smaller than a regularly-sized smartphone) while having a sizable 10,000 mAh battery capacity. The compromise comes with thickness. The unit is not thin by any portable regard.
> iWALK also has a clue when it comes to the I/O of the unit. Firstly, you have the option to charge the battery via USB-C or older microUSB. The Secretary+ doesn’t just support Quick Charge (up to QC 3.0) out (out of either the PD-supported USB-C or full USB-A ports) but itself can charge with the faster charging rate too.
> Furthermore, you can charge the unit and have the device charge your electronics at the same time. And for gadget-heavy users, you’re able to charge via three ports at the same time if need be. You’ll deplete the battery pack pretty quickly this way, so these users should consider the 20,000 mAh version of this device instead (same design, just longer).
> Considerately, there’s also a battery indicator (four stage) above the full USB port. Strangely, the button to toggle it is a distance on the side of the unit instead of right next to the indicator.
> And then throw a smartphone stand on there too, for good measure. The extendable, scoped plastic is just that, nothing fancy. We wish it locked in placed when fully extended, but works to hold a device in place (even a large one like our OnePlus 7 Pro) nonetheless. We found this is a fantastic feature to have when you’re on a plane and don’t want to hold your phone through an entire movie. Just lay down the seat tray and set this on it.
> One of the biggest downsides of this charger is that while you’ll see it supports Quick Charging (up to QC 3.0), it’s not through the built-in cables, only through the ports via a separate cable.
- Flexibility for all mobile charging types
- Put together well
- Has everything you need built-in
- Plentiful battery capacity
- Great price for everything it offers
- Doesn’t feel the most premium in-hand
- Notably thick
- No Quick Charge from built-in cables
- MicroUSB cable placement compromised with Lightning adapter installed
If you’re looking for a comprehensive, no-frills portable charging package for travel, the Secretary+ is a definite recommendation by us. It nails so many things, while hitting the ~$30 sweet-spot for affordability (or $42 for the 20,000 mAh version). You don’t have to worry about it falling apart on you, have plentiful battery capacity, fits just about anywhere, and can charge any type of device without having to carry around anything extra. It’s simply a win in our books. Our biggest wish is that the built-in cables supported Quick Charge, which can be pretty critical on the fly. Hopefully on the next one.