If you’re a fan of Good Eats on the Cooking Channel you know that food professor Alton Brown hates single-task cooking tools. If something can’t do more than one job it doesn’t have a place in his kitchen.
While I don’t quite share his disdain for single-taskers, I do appreciate tools that serve more than one purpose because it cuts down on what you need to carry and store. So, I was intrigued when I saw the Thermolite Smart Warmer.
It’s a combination handwarmer/cell phone charger/penlight flashlight that recharges through the USB port in your laptop or PC. The drawback with some multi-task tools is that they often don’t perform any single job particularly well, but the Smart Warmer somewhat surprised me.
On several timed tests, the hand warmer operated a full five hours from a full charge. The penlight burned for eight straight hours before the bulb dimmed to a point where I thought it was too weak to be of any use. Phone charging is its weakest link, I think. It routinely raised my Galaxy S4 cell phone’s charge by 50 percentage points before needing a recharge itself. And that would take 2½ hours, whether the phone read 2% or 48% when I made the connection. In comparison, the USB charger I bought when I purchased my phone provides nearly two full charges per cycle.
Overall, the Smart Warmer is a worthwhile multi-tasker. The warmer generates enough heat to keep your hands very comfortable. The penlight throws a surprisingly bright beam. It won’t illuminate a large area, but it’s more than enough to light up a dark pathway, help you rummage through a tackle box after dark or find the key to your front door when the entry light is out. And I can live with the phone charger’s performance as a half-charged phone is usually enough to last until I can get to my mobile charger in the pickup.
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