Graphene: it’s a wonder material, right? It can be used in all kinds of capacities thanks to its ultra-thin nature and superconductivity. Use cases vary from drug delivery, mapping brains, birth control, and even alcohol distillation, to name but a few of the weirder options. But the use we’ll likely see the most of in the short term is in battery technology. And that’s what I have right now: the Elecjet Apollo Ultra, a lightning-fast charging graphene-based battery pack that’s keeping my Razer Blade Stealth 13 laptop charging as I write this.
That’s a pretty impressive feat from a wee power pack smaller than an external hard drive.
Normally I’d be picking up a battery pack for my phone or Switch as I head out the door, just to get a little more charge into my device while I’m away from home and roaming. Not that I do that a whole lot these days, but still… I’d not really considered a battery pack for a laptop before, but the Elecjet does an admirable job considering its necessarily limited capacity.
As a 10,000mAh battery you’re definitely not going to get a full charge for a notebook like this wee Blade, nor keep a bulky RTX 3080 laptop running for more than a picosecond, but going by my experience the 87W output will mean you can squeeze another 25-30% of on-the-go juice into your machine, and that can make all the difference in a thin-and-light that’s dedicated to running for many hours.
Though I will admit the digital readout on the Elecjet is mildly panic-inducing as the percentage of charge left in the pack rapidly dwindles when you jam its USB Type-C connector into the side of a laptop. It’s a charger for phones and tablets not really meant for this demanding a use. When the readout runs down as you’re watching it you’ll maybe wonder what the point is.
Apollo Ultra specs
Capacity: 10,000mAh or 37Wh
Full charge time: 27 minutes
Ports: USB Type-C, USB Type-A
Life cycles: +2,500
Dimensions: 130mm x 68mm x 17mm
But the Apollo Ultra has got enough grunt to not only keep your notebook running, it will actually top up its battery as you carry on working, gaming, or goggling YouTube.
There are other battery packs that will do the same thing, ones that are powerful enough to give you a little more juice to stave off laptop death just that bit longer. But the neat trick the $100 Elecjet pack has up its graphene sleeve is just how quickly it will top up that battery.
You may be able to watch the LED display chart the device’s drain in real-time, but plumb it into the wall via its 100W charger and you can watch it fill back up at practically the same speed.
Just 27 minutes will see the battery pack full and ready to roll again. Realistically, that means it will be full before the 25% of charge you’ve squeezed into your laptop drains out again. Okay, you could also just plug in the laptop where you’re charging the Apollo Ultra, but where’s the fun in that?
Personally I’m imagining a wondrous day, sometime in the future, where I can once more be grumpy at waiting in another bland airport knowing my laptop will run out of power at some point on the flight. Sitting on the floor, fighting for the one available socket in the building, I’ll have my Elecjet charged in no time, just before a mad dash to the gate. Ah, travelling. One day it’ll be a thing again.
So, where does the graphene come in? Graphene is a single atom-thick sheet of graphite that is many, many times stronger than steel. But it’s not the strength of the material that makes it useful in a battery pack; it’s the conductivity it offers.
As a fantastic conductor of both heat and electricity, the use of graphene is what allows the Elecjet to be charged so quickly without it turning into so much melted slag burning through your pocket and flabby soft tissue. You can throw a huge amount of power at it and the battery will suck it up and ask for more.
In an ideal world the Elecjet would be so powerful that you’d never have to lug your laptop’s power brick around with you ever again, and maybe one day we’ll see wee batteries that can do such wonders. But right now, though it will charge your mobile phone a couple times over, it’s only ever going to get you another hour or two of notebook time.
From something this small, and actually this affordable, I’ll absolutely take that.