Review: Kanex's GoPower Watch Battery Provides Six Full Apple Watch Charges in a Small Package

Although Apple remains conservative regarding the battery life of the Apple Watch, many users have noted that the wearable device makes it through one day with plenty of charge left over in its 18-hour estimated life. Still, third-party power banks and portable chargers have been popular mainstays in the Apple Watch accessory line, and recently Kanex launched its own charging device for the Apple Watch, called the GoPower Watch.

Kanex's charger is packed with a 4,000 mAh battery and a claim that, on a full charge, it can recharge the Apple Watch up to six times with an integrated inductive charger. As a bonus, the GoPower Watch also includes a USB port, letting you charge your iPhone (or any USB-powered device) simultaneously with the Apple Watch. There's also priority charging, so your devices charge first and the battery pack second.

Design


Kanex's GoPower Watch meets the form and function that any successful portable battery pack needs to be used on a daily basis. Its small 3-inch square will fit comfortably in a backpack, and the quartered LED lights -- surrounding the only button on the housing -- provide quick and easy reminders of how much juice is left in the pack.

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The slightly raised inductive charger is surrounded by a smooth Space Gray material (admittedly, a few shades darker than Apple's definition of Space Gray), that feels sturdy despite the small frame of the GoPower Watch. Interestingly, the actual inductive charger on Kanex's device is a bit larger than Apple's own inductive charger, but its added 1/4 of an inch appears negligible and doesn't affect the charging of the device.

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GoPower Watch compared with Apple's Magnetic Charger

Otherwise, the design is no-frills. The front and rear of the pack are made up of a black, plastic-type material that's a bit more fingerprint-attractive than the Space Gray of the rest of the device. On the back users will find the micro-USB port to charge up the battery pack, and the USB Type-A port for smartphone charging. Anyone opposed to large branding on their products probably won't like the prevalent Kanex logo on the front of the unit, however.

Charging the Apple Watch


After using Kanex's GoPower Watch battery for a week, I found that the company's claims of six full recharges on an Apple Watch to be right on the money. The battery pack uses a simple circle of lights, cut into four quarters, to display the remaining charge in its 4,000 mAh battery. The GoPower Watch lost its first quarter of battery in the middle of the third charge of my Apple Watch, and then finally lost the second quarter in the sixth Apple Watch charge.

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From there the battery status declined quickly, and after the pack filled my Apple Watch up to 100% life for the sixth time, the final portion of the ring began flashing and the battery quickly died. During these tests I didn't charge my iPhone, focusing first on the company's own Apple Watch-heavy marketing for the accessory. And in that sense, the GoPower Watch delivered on its promises. The average charging time of all the tests was about 90 minutes.

If used solely as a power bank for an Apple Watch, Kanex's device will easily provide its intended six full recharges on Apple's wearable, although the larger battery on the Apple Watch Series 2 means those models might get slightly fewer charge cycles. Although that might be a bit of overkill for most casual Apple Watch wearers, the combination of the integrated inductive charger and deep well of battery life could justify the $99 price tag for those who find themselves away from a traditional power source on a consistent basis.

Charging the iPhone


After depleting the GoPower Watch during my Apple Watch tests, I topped off the battery pack again -- a lengthy process that takes the large part of an afternoon, which is the case for most battery packs -- and focused on the iPhone. With the GoPower Watch fully charged, I managed to recharge my iPhone 6s Plus from 10 percent to 99 percent charge over the course of about two hours, after which Kanex's battery was down to 50 percent.

In a subsequent test, to see how much percentage I could add onto my iPhone with the rest of the GoPower Watch's battery, the battery pack swiftly whittled down to 25 percent and then died, adding on about 15 percent charge to my iPhone. Considering the 2,750 mAh within the iPhone 6s Plus, one full charge with a little left over makes sense coming off of the GoPower Watch's 4,000 mAh battery.

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Although smaller smartphones could get more out of it, like the iPhone SE (1,624 mAh), iPhone 6s (1,715 mAh) and iPhone 7 (1,960 mAh), the GoPower Watch is simply not an iPhone accessory; it's an Apple Watch accessory that could potentially recharge your iPhone in a pinch, with very little left over for your watch. Simultaneous charging of each device also negates the portability such battery packs allow for smartphones, since the Apple Watch needs to remain on a flat surface to stay attached to the inductive charger.

For iPhone battery packs, similarly priced accessories, like Mophie's powerstation XXL, give users upwards of 20,000 mAh for around $100. Other brands, including Anker, offer similar battery capacities at even cheaper prices. As such, it's hard to harp on GoPower Watch's clear intent to focus on Apple Watch over iPhone, but it's an aspect of the accessory that should still be noted.

Bottom Line


Overall, GoPower Watch's solid design and integrated induction charger make it one of the most enticing charging solutions on the market for Apple's wearable device, if you're an Apple Watch power user and in need of one, that is. Lack of Nightstand Mode and closed-loop band support could, however, be deal-breakers for some.

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The display shows the GoPower Watch's dwindling battery

Compared to other Apple Watch battery packs, Kanex's solution is a slightly steeper monetary investment, but its higher-capacity battery justifies the price. Nomad's Pod, for comparison, costs $29.95 but provides an 1,800 mAh battery, or the ability to keep your Apple Watch "powered all weekend," according to the company.

If you repeatedly find yourself scrambling for a power source for your Apple Watch when not at home, and want to invest in something you won't have to constantly remind yourself to charge all too often, the GoPower Watch makes a reliable case for itself. Just remember that it won't provide much in the way of repeat charges to a smartphone, especially any larger-screened models with higher-capacity batteries.

Pros
- Clean design with soft, attractive Space Gray material
- Integrated inductive charger
- Charging Apple Watch as quickly and reliably as first-party accessories
- Meets Kanex's claim of six full Apple Watch charges

Cons
- Dies quickly when charging bigger devices through USB-A port
- Doesn't support Nightstand Mode or closed-loop bands

How to Buy


Anyone interested can purchase the Kanex GoPower Watch from the company's website for $99.95. Kanex also sells a line of other accessories, including a USB-C battery pack for the 12-inch MacBook, a Thunderbolt 3 adapter, and a Bluetooth Mac keyboard that can sync with up to four devices and includes Apple's long-gone numeric keypad.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4, watchOS 5
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)


Top Rated Comments

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Avatar
25 months ago
pretty cool. but then I realize I can just use my 10,400 mAh USB battery pack ('https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00UBDI7EC/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1') and my extra Apple Watch cable ;)
Rating: 3 Votes
Avatar
25 months ago

For the cost, the Apple charger should have a battery. Can't understand why apple hasn't done that. Seems like a great use for their new conforming battery tech.


Another article, another opinion about how Apple should give away something for free that they currently don't and instead realize the difference as profit.
Rating: 3 Votes
Avatar
25 months ago

Remember when you had to pay for [S]iOS[/S] iPhone OS updates?


And OSX, and iWork, etc. Apple doesn't charge for any of that anymore, but god forbid they don't give away everything or sell at the cost of the BOM. It's almost as if they are a business or something! Outrageous.
Rating: 3 Votes
Avatar
25 months ago

Another article, another opinion about how Apple should give away something for free that they currently don't and instead realize the difference as profit.


Sure. Apple should have charged for the AirPods charging case too.
Rating: 2 Votes
Avatar
25 months ago
A guy walks with two really heavy, 80lb suitcases. A passer by asks him what time it is. The guy puts down both suitcases, rolls up his sleeve, looks at his watch and heavily breathing tells the time. The other guy is astonished seeing he has a digital watch and asks what else his watch can do. After learning about all the features, he expresses his surprise that the battery must be very powerful and long lasting. The owner of the watch replies: "Well, now with these two bad boys added - pointing to his suitcases - I get a full 1 hour of usage."
Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
25 months ago

Another article, another opinion about how Apple should give away something for free that they currently don't and instead realize the difference as profit.


Who said anything about giving it away for free? There's money to be had in volume by making the thing actually appealing to purchase. I had forgotten it even existed until this comment. It's basically their $29 2m cable with a plastic weighted disc around it that somehow makes it worth an extra $50, even though it doesn't look very appealing. I can't imagine they sell that many of them. It's better design if the weight was instead a battery, and brings a better value proposition to the table through better design. I mean, for crying out loud, their iPhone docks are solid aluminum anodized to match the device color, and feature audio pass-through to stereo audio jack, and they cost $30 less. The pricing of this item is not consistent with their other accessories, which are already priced towards the top end of the consumer electronics market. I get charging more for superior design, but there is little to be found in this particular accessory.
Rating: 1 Votes
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