What's nearly as bad as running out of battery life on your phone? Having to lug around a battery charger. I have bought half a dozen of these portable chargers over the past few years, of all shapes and sizes. There's always one floating around my bag, but my bag is not always with me. What usually is, however, is my belt.
The people at Nifty, who launched a popular Kickstarter two years ago to solve the problem of unexpandable flash storage on Apple notebook computers with the MiniDrive, are now tackling cell phone battery life. They've combined a belt with a battery charger so that you can venture out with just your phone and the clothes on your back (or in this case — waist), and recharge on the move. This isn't some large, absurd belt buckle battery though; the battery is actually built into a belt that looks no different from any other you might buy at a clothing store.
The battery isn't big enough to recharge big phones
The Xoo belt houses a 1,300mAh lithium ceramic polymer flexible battery that's sandwiched into the leather. The buckle acts as an additional 800mAh battery (giving you 2,100mAh total), a ratchet to tighten the belt around your waist, and as a plug that you can connect your MicroUSB or Apple Lightning adapter to. There's a set of five LED lights along the base that let you check how much charge is left. When it's time to recharge it, you plug it in through a MicroUSB port on the other side.
The belt takes around three hours to recharge and about the same amount of time to fully charge a device that's plugged in. On something like the iPhone 6, the Xoo's battery is enough to give it a full charge (and then some), but not the iPhone 6 Plus and other "phablet"-sized devices like the Nexus 6 and Galaxy Note 4. That is perhaps a disappointment for something that takes up a good chunk of space in your bag if you're not wearing it on your body.
This isn't the first attempt to put batteries just inches from your privates. Last year, an inventor named Avi Gailor tried to get a version of this out that put everything in a removable, Zippo lighter-like belt buckle, however that project failed to meet its funding goals on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. There's also the Volt Buckle, which eschews a battery in favor of a removable belt buckle that doubles as a wall charger.
The XOO belt will run at $155 when it ships, though slightly less for the company's early backers. Nifty has put the idea for the product up on Indiegogo to get funding, meaning you won't be able to find it in stores or elsewhere online, and it might not ever end up getting mass-produced if not enough people are interested. The company tells me that it's currently got a fully functioning prototype ready, but still has more work to do.