PLX Devices has two successful Kickstarter projects under its belt and it’s back for a third time with the Legion Meter. It’s a small USB device that promises to accelerate charging for your phone (or tablet) compared to just plugging a USB cable in your computer.
For additional functionality it has an OLED screen that can show how much power your gadget is drawing.
Now physics isn’t my strong suit so I’m not 100% clear on how the Meter is supposed to draw more power from a USB port. The USB standard provides several power modes – each device starts in low power mode but can request more power from the USB controller in several steps, up to a maximum of 2.5W for USB 2.0 and 4.5W for USB 3.0.
According to PLX’s table, the Legion Meter can increase the power delivered from a port by up to 92%, going to over 7W. The table fails to specify what kind of port was used for the test, but the reported numbers exceed the specification numbers.
The Legion Meter can also extract more power out of regular wall chargers too, though again the patent-pending tech that makes this possible escapes my understanding. Anyway, the charger supports both Apple and Android mode, depending on what device you have.
The Meter gets its name from its multimeter functionality – it can display the power, current and volts your device is pulling. If you do a full charge, it will estimate the battery capacity in milliwatt hours. That’s useful if you’re getting poor battery life from your device and you suspect it’s because the battery is starting to show its age and lose capacity.
An additional feature is a switch on the device that either allows or blocks a data connection with the computer while the device is charging (if you’re charging from a PC you don’t trust).
You can read more about the project and back it if you like what you see at the Legion Meter’s fund raising page (it’s already at 2,660% of its funding goal).