Back in June, I noticed a Kickstarter project for the FluxFluxmob Boltmob Bolt, and decided that it would be worth a pledge. The Bolt is a combination wall charger and battery backup for USB devices. 

The first thing you would notice about the Bolt is that it is very small and attractive-looking. It comes in multiple colors, of which I chose blue. The finish of the device has a nice quality tacky/rubbery feeling, not the slick plastic of similar devices.

The size is pretty remarkable for what the device offers. The small box includes a fold-out wall plug, the transformer required to convert outlet power (90-240V) down to USB's 5V, a 3000mAh battery, and the standard USB port. There are other similar batteries on the market, but they do not include all of these components, often leaving out the transformer and plug features.

Fluxmob BoltOn the facing side of the device are five LED lights and a button. My favorite feature of the Bolt is using the button to turn the USB power on and off. If you hold the button in for five seconds, it toggles the USB power. Simply tapping the button lights up the other four LEDs to indicate the charge status of the battery.

Although the power toggle is my favorite feature, I wish that the duration of the button push was shorter. This seems like a trivial thing, but I wonder how many support requests Fluxmob has had to field about their USB port being non-functional because the button requires a longer press than what one might expect.

Fluxmob BoltCharging is simple and fast, but leads to my second issue with the Bolt. While charging, the LEDs flicker to indicate... well... something, I guess. I suppose if I stared at the flickering lights for long enough I could suss it out, but let's just say that the lights blink. A lot. And they're bright.  In a dark room like a hotel, where you would most likely want the features of the Bolt, exposure to the blinkenlights could keep you awake. Another small quibble, but it's there.

Hooking devices to the Bolt is as easy as plugging them into the USB port on the bottom. Charging a device from the wall or via battery works the same as long as the USB power is toggled on. The USB power toggles itself off as when you unplug the Bolt, which is an important note.  You could easily think you're charging a device, then unplug in the Bolt, expecting the battery power to take over, but in reality the USB power was automatically toggled off.

The power pack seems to have enough juice to charge my iPhone 5s fully. The LED status indicators seem like a complete waste, though. They will frequently report 2/4 lights, and then the Bolt battery will go completely dead. I have also seen the Bolt report only one light's worth of power, to then have it increase to two lights without having plugged it in. It's pretty inconsistent as a gauge, but if you use the lights merely to determine whether it has been fully charged, it should be ok.

On the whole, I like the Fluxmob Bolt. In the market for devices like this one, the build quality is a level above the others, in spite of its small flaws, which are rampant and more severe in the competition. I would love to see revisions to the design in the future that made the LEDs more useful and the power toggle more consistent. As it stands though, the Bolt will likely permanently replace my Zagg Sparq for portable USB power, simply due to its capability and size in my laptop bag.