Occasionally, the makers of the junk gadgets you can find at gas stations, convenience stores, and mall kiosks manage to come up with a genuinely useful piece of tech. Such is the case with this 8,000 mAh backup battery featuring its own built-in video game system so you can continue to ignore the world around you while waiting for your smartphone to come back to life.
The device appears to go by many names across the internet, as presumably there’s one Chinese factory making them that’s happy to slap any moniker on it you request as long as you’re willing to buy several thousand units from them. As a result, if you do a little digging you can probably find a great deal on this thing, but if you’re lazy you can also just grab one here, in one of four different colorways, for $40.
At that price, it’s not the best value when it comes to backup batteries. You can get 10,000 mAh from Anker for about $25. And we’re going to go out on a limb here and assume that of the 416 built-in classic video games this comes with, probably just five or six of them will deliver an experience that’s worth spending more than 30 seconds playing. The rest will undoubtedly be a healthy mix of clones of classic titles, ports of really bad cellphone games, and a handful of games that will most likely just crash out at launch—assuming this mirrors the experience of other cheap all-in-one portable gaming systems we’ve tried. You can also expect to find an anemic processor inside, as little memory as possible, a screen that feels dated for even handhelds from five years ago, and controls that require a little (or a lot of) extra force to register your presses.
But it’s a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts because this device will charge your smartphone at least a couple of times and it will provide a glowing screen to stare at, and buttons to fiddle with, while you wait for access to Facebook and Candy Crush again. Think of its $40 price tag as insurance against having to interact with another real-life person ever again.