Review: A Smart Charger with Accessibility Features for the Visually Impaired

At the 2018 CES show, I spent some time chatting with the fine folks at Energrid. I'm interested in accessibility because I've designed apps for and used by blind and low-vision users. Energrid also develops products that help the visually impaired; and in fact, everybody can benefit from the VS150X Power Bank ($75). 

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There are several features designed for those who aren't sighted. The charger has sound and vibration for battery level indicators and feedback. The USB ports are reversible, which is something that will help everyone; no more fumbling when putting a cable in. This is the appeal of USB-C and Lightning ports. Energrid also sells a $15 reversible USB-A to microUSB cable that has both ends reversible. They also have Braille-style raised dots for accessibility. The charger itself is no slouch, with 15,000 mAh of battery capacity and fast input and smart output. 

Pros

  • Sound and vibration for battery level indicators and feedback
  • Reversible USB ports
  • Braille-style raised dots for accessibility
  • 15,000 mAh of battery
  • Fast input and smart output

Cons

  • Doesn't talk
  • Reversible USB cables sold separately

Final Verdict

For years, when working with the visually impaired, I would recommend a specific charger from MyCharge, that actually spoke the percentage availability out loud, in English. MyCharge stopped including that feature in their chargers, so the Energrid is a welcome addition that will help the vision impaired, and everyone thanks to the reversible USB ports. 

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Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.