Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Australia’s Noa looks to make charging bricks stylish

Power charging bricks and power banks aren’t always the sexiest things, but an Australian startup wants to change that.

If you rely on your phone’s battery to get you through the day, depending on how often you use your phone, there’s a chance you might be left disappointed.

While some phones can last through to the next day, if you use the screen very often, make a ton of calls, rely on the GPS, or play a lot of games, you might find the battery performance wanes rapidly. Phone batteries aren’t always the best performers, and it’s why so many of us turn to the power brick.

The humble power brick has one basic purpose — recharge your tech — but they don’t always look very good doing so. A simple black or white piece of plastic with a couple of ports has become the default and de facto standard for making these things, and while they can come in different colours, they’re often fairly generic and something you’ll hide or leave on your desk.

But an Australian company is looking to change that, with the style you might bring to your laptop bag, jacket, or boots being thrown into the power brick, making it the sort of tech you don’t mind carrying with you, showing off while you, ahem, charge your phone.

It’s an Aussie startup over on Kickstarter, as Noa’s three founders aimed to change the design of the humble power brick to be something more elegant, and hit its Kickstarter goal quite quickly. Already at over twice what it needed to complete (at the time of publishing), Noa might just be onto something, even when everyone else has stuck with the generic power brick style.

Instead of that basic plastic look, it has built its product, the Daytripper, from an aluminium block covered by a leather top, complete with a 5000mAh battery underneath. That’s not a massive battery pack, for sure, but should be enough to charge your phone throughout the course of a day, which may well be the point of its name.

However, it can charge phones either over wireless with Qi charging or through its Type C port, making it a power brick compatible with any phone, whether you charge wirelessly or with a cord, and do it with a bit of style.

“When we started designing Daytripper, it was this instant realisation of ‘wow’ there is nothing that is exciting in the range of wireless charging devices that truly make it more convenient over plugging into a cable whilst being able to suit everyday living,” said Christel Hadiwibawa, one of the three founders of Noa.

“We also wanted to create something that reflected what we defined as “quality” — you could say we were building this with ourselves in mind — but we also believe the quality of a charger should also match the quality of all the other devices we carry.”

In terms of style, Hadiwibawa told Pickr it opted for leather up top not just because of how it looks and ages, but also sustainability, noting some of the chemicals used in the making of leather alternatives.

“We chose real cow leather due to the issues with quality and sustainability that are present in vegan leather,” she said, adding “unfortunately, the most common leather alternative is petroleum-based plastic, called polyvinyl chloride or polyurethane.”

Leather bypasses that, but Hadiwibawa said that Noa was looking into sustainable materials outside of leather, as the use of leather isn’t something all may approve in their tech, a problem HP has dealt with at least once in the past.

For now, it’s a leather-topped premium phone charger, though one that also bypasses MagSafe, making it compatible with all, not just compatible mostly with iPhones, which is an issue some power devices might have.

MagSafe chargers are great with a compatible iPhone, but older iPhones without MagSafe — which is any iPhone before the iPhone 12 range — and every Android mightn’t get the full wireless charge, as MagSafe is an Apple-only technology. Mophie makes an adaptor, but it’s not the same, and mostly keeps the grip, not the constant wireless connection.

A lack of MagSafe essentially makes Noa’s Daytripper a little more generic in what it appeals to, which is everyone, not just the iPhone crowd, though its style means it’s also anything but generic.

As for where you can find it, the Daytripper is still in a Kickstarter phase with expected delivery in November 2022, priced with a discount for those who back it early, though the company anticipates a $179 RRP when it’s finished. That is definitely a premium cost for a small power bank, even if it is a power bank like no other.

Like many gadgets, it’ll be available online, though the company does hope the power bank makes its way into brick and mortar so people can see it and feel it for themselves.

“While we will continue our online sales, we want to have Daytripper be available in physical stores as it is truly a product that can be more appreciated once it is seen in person,” said Hadiwibawa, one of Noa’s co-founders.

“As to when this happens, we are in the process of streamlining our supply chain and the next step later this year/early next is to sell through boutique retail stores, both locally and overseas.”

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