Spoiler Alert and Full Disclosure: I love this little gadget. I backed the JUMP Cable Kickstarter way back in January of 2014, received the product in August of that year, and it lasted me a good year and a half before I broke it in a tragic “rolled-over-it-with-my-car” accident. The second they have a Type-C version for my Nexus 6P, I’m buying a new one.
Battery life is one of the great discomforts of owning a smartphone. Unless you’ve gone out of your way to purchase a phone that has an obnoxiously large battery, you probably have problems keeping your phone out of the red. Native Union aims to minimize this problem with the JUMP Cable, a combination external battery and charging/data cable that fits in your pocket.
Developer: Native Union
Price: $50.00 on Amazon
Native Union’s JUMP Cable is unique among a sea of external batteries and charging cables. JUMP crams a Micro-USB (Type A) or Lightning charge cable with an 800mAh battery into a frame easily small enough to fit into the tightest of pockets. The cover that encases the battery is firm, solid-feeling hard plastic – matte, not gloss – and the cable itself is braided cloth – very fancy. It has grooves along each edge to wrap the cable and an indentation on either flat side to store the two plugs.
The entire unit is only about 2″ by 2″ square, and about 0.5″ thick – small enough to fit into the change pocket of your jeans. Completely unwound, the cable measures 19″. There are LEDs on one side that denote 25% of a charge – so three lights, for example, means there’s 75% of the battery power left in the JUMP – and a button on the other side so you can check the charge remaining at will. 800mAh may not seem like a big boost in power, but when you consider that even the Nexus 6P only has a 3400mAh battery, you can get an extra 25% out of it – about 5 more hours.
The JUMP Cable mitigates three problems that every smartphone user is well-familiar with; battery power, charger availability, and cable tangling management. It also serves three functions; data cable, charging cable, and external battery. The fact that it all fits into such a low-profile case is really impressive.
Actually using the JUMP is as easy as plugging in any other data/charging cable – plug the USB end into a port, plug the other end into your phone, and watch as it charges first your phone, then the external battery. I mean, it’s that simple. Literally the hardest thing about this gadget is training your muscle memory to wind and unwind the cables, and prying the ends out of the case without breaking a nail. It’s that easy.
From Native Union itself:
“JUMP Cable is very different to traditional power banks. It’s more of a replacement for your charging cable than a replacement for power banks. External batteries required you to charge them as an extra device, and also require an extra charging cable for the battery itself. It becomes a burden to use because you must remember to charge it, and must lug two tangled cables around (one for your device, one for your power bank). JUMP does all the charging for you, automatically.”
What’s not to like?
Okay, there is one thing. It’s minor, and I already mentioned it – prying the USB side from the case can be a pain, occasionally. I’d rather it be a tight fit than a loose one, so it’s very forgivable. It really feels like Native Union thought of everything in their design process; JUMP charges your phone before it charges the battery, the battery discharges quickly and efficiently, and everything fits well and where it should. At $50, the price can also be a bit steep, but in my opinion, well worth it.
- Small, compact frame.
- Insanely convenient.
- Solid, aesthetically pleasing design.
- Indents for the USB and Micro USB/Lightning Cable can be a little snug.
- “Only” 800mAh battery.
- $50 is pricey for a glorified (if glorious) charging cable.
Native Union’s JUMP Cable is an excellent, if a touch pricey, addition to its already excellent line of cables and smartphone accessories. If you’re looking for a pocket-bound charging solution, this is the one for you.