We live in a funny world and the times are amusing; folks who love something (or even a person) will go to the ends of the world to defend the same, giving reasons why it should be bought, used, or tolerated.
On the other hand, the converse also holds true; people who don’t like something or someone will also go to any length to make sure that such a person or thing is discredited. Often, the discredits are so loud that it makes readers or listeners honestly believe that there’s nothing good in such a thing or person.
Usually, this is just a farce and a bare sham!
In the real world, even the worst thing has some benefits to it. Conversely, even the very best of things could be plagued with some less-than-ideal traits that could ultimately prove to be deal-breakers.
Unfortunately, when I published my article about the Noco GB Vs GBX: Should You Upgrade To The Newer GBX?, I may have rang as someone who was only interested in praise of the older GB, without taking into cognizance the fact that the unit also has its cons!
Accordingly, the thought of this article was born and today, it is published. The aim is to balance up the article initially published and linked to above.
For you, the reader, whether or not the cons of the GB series appear as deal breakers, is completely up to you, as only you can decide that based on your unique needs and situation.
However, what is paramount is that the GB series from Noco would be presented in such a manner as to help you make a well-informed decision, ultimately leading to a choice that you’ll be proud of in the coming months and years.
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What Is The Noco GB Series Of Lithium Jumpers?
Launched in the last quarter of 2019 (though announced well earlier than this time), the Noco GB series of lithium jumpers literally took the automotive world by storm. The product was exceptionally brilliant and worthy of the Ohio based 1914 founded company known for some of the most awesome and exceedingly brilliant contributions to the automotive world.
The product was such as hit and commercial success largely because it was the very best the automotive industry had seen up to that time. As a matter of fact, the features and designs (from other companies and concerns) that started filtering on after the initial launch of the Noco GB series are sorely inspired by it – right up to the safety options almost all new jumpers on the marker today sport.
The jumper series themselves were cute little creations that were meant to be either carried in the glove box of your vehicle/trunk and used to boost a dead or weak battery back to life. The focus was on ease and complete safety of use; a design reality that saw to it that even a complete auto novice could actually jump an ICE with confidence, and successfully too.
Now, what made the product line such badass pieces in the first place?
Pros Of The Noco Boost GB Line
Carefully detailed below are the pros of the GB series of jumpers from the stables of Noco; the main factors responsible for its commercial success in the first place.
1. A Truly Impressive Battery/Shelve Life
Today, it appears that keeping a portable jumper in the trunk or glove box for months on end without recharging it is normal and expected, all thanks to newer models like the Lokithor series promising up to 36 months of battery shelf life.
However, before the introduction of the Noco GB line, battery jumpers that were available were options that were powered by a relatively large lead acid battery that needed a maintenance charge every few weeks to stay in top shape and serve for any reasonable amount of time/duration.
However, the introduction of the lithium-ion battery type with the Noco GB series of jumpers saw a radical improvement to this. Now, for the first time in the history of portable jumpers, one could charge a jumper and literally ‘forget’ it in either the glove box or trunk and even at the 12th month, still ‘find’ it and jump a couple of completely dead starter batteries to life and function/use!
Now, that was just a part of the battery that made sense. The other part is this: while the jumper is capable of an amazing shelf life, the battery itself is capable of intense stamina and the greatest fortitude in use.
A GB 50 for instance, when fully charged, can conveniently jump up to 30 vehicle starter batteries before needing to be recharged itself. Combine these two; battery stamina and longevity…is this not the perfect recipe for badassery?
2. An Array Of Safety Features
It is no news that jumping a starter battery is what scares the wit out of many folks. As a matter of fact, I know many persons that would rather be caught doing any other thing but jumping a starter battery in a vehicle.
This fear is understandable though: done wrongly, the process of jumping a weak or dead battery could turn very sour, causing damage to both batteries, damage to the electricals of the vehicles, and in rare (but very possible instances), bodily injury.
‘This does not need to be so…’ I’m certain Noco thought. So, the company figured a way out, by enhancing the safety of the GB series of jumpers.
What did they do? You ask. It was quite simple but devilishly effective: reverse polarity protection, a spark-proof reality, and cold/hot weather protection.
The reverse polarity protection is simple and straight to the point. This protection sees to it that irrespective of how you route your clamps, right or wrong, negative on positive or vice versa, no negative effect or damage occurs.
In this way, you are saved from the process of literally frying your fuse box or the internal circuitry of the jumper itself. Instead, a simple beep lets you know you’re in the wrong, and upon correction, everything returns to normal.
The spark-proof protection is also fairly straight to the point and pretty self-explanatory. When you connect the positive and negative clamps of a jumper that is without this protection to a battery, there is likely going to be a spark, just as you clamp the second cable to the battery.
This reality, ordinarily, is harmless and is often a simple indication that current flow has been registered and is in fact, in progress.
However, for the uninitiated, it could be a cause for worry and the issuing fright, and often, lack of hand coordination can prove detrimental to the user, what he/she has around, and ultimately, even the vehicle. This is what the Noco unit avoids by making certain that you don’t experience any sort of sparks to even start with.
Finally, temperature protection is the last part of the trio that actually sees to it that the safety of the Noco GB series portable jumpers is taken to the next level with as little fuss as possible.
At high temperatures, the internal components of electronics (including this jumper) expand and get hot, leaving room for an operational reality that is different from what the manufacturers intended.
Similarly, with extremely cold weather, the converse (but similar thing) happens: electrolytic capacitors, more often than not, freeze (and with some internal materials, shrink more than intended). The net result of these two extreme realities is that, when they happen, such electronic devices may not function as intended and often, are even a risk, to begin with.
Without such extreme weather protection, such electronics keep on kicking and doing their thing, leading to damage, failures, risk of injury, or plain old frustration.
Noco’s wisdom has this type of scenario sorted out with the GB series of portable jumpers: once the weather gets below -4ºF (-20ºC) or above 122ºF (50ºC), the units shut down themselves and refuse to work so as to both protect the device (saving you additional costs in buying new replacements) and ensuring your own safety too, by so doing.
Safety, in the world of electronics, does not usually get better than this.
3. An Egnormic Design
There is no particular place a vehicle chooses to break down; so is it with the battery powering it. Both fail when they will. Your only saving grace is preventive maintenance and being prepared, respectively.
In terms of battery failure, when such happens, you’ll want a unit that is easy to take out, plug into your battery terminals, and power on your vehicle without further ado. The last thing on your mind when such a failure occurs, after all, is how to get out of there, not to create another problem or worse, be delayed by one.
Unfortunately, sweaty palms are a real issue; one that if not handled properly, will only add to your predicament. Imagine for once that you grab a portable jumper and before you connect same to your vehicle, it slips out of your hand and shatters on the hard NY asphalt!
The design of the Noco GB series of portable jumpers sees to it that this never happens; all thanks to a carefully thought out and executed design that ensures easy grip of the unit even with super wet hands (without any slippage).
This is made possible by the creation of groves by the side of the jumper that effectively act as ‘stoppers’. It is these stoppers that ensure that super grippy reality; even with sweaty or completely wet hands.
4. A Machined And Well Finished Exterior
A portable jumper isn’t a toy nor is it a unit that will be pampered in any way just because it is useful or because it has utilitarian value. This is why, it is found mostly in the trunk (together with many other things) or in the glove box (through offroad expeditions or whatever the roads throw at you and the vehicle).
You’ll agree with me that it leads a hard and super stressful life, day in, day out. Unfortunately, until the Noco GB series came on board, no one was really paying attention to this bit about the jumper and instead, manufacturing and buying whatever it was that they came across or believed was best or available.
The Noco GB series changed the game however: jumpers are now machined in a neat manner that ensures that they are beautiful to behold, they are also durable and are likely to last the test of time, despite abuse or regular use, through the years.
What this means is simple: the Noco GB series won’t scratch (or take on dings) like some cheaply built random units, irrespective of how it is stored or what it comes in contact with.
Now, I understand that this may not mean the world to persons who are either very careful or those who do not really care. However, for those who appreciate having their things in pristine condition despite years of use, this is one bit that will certainly impress them to no end.
5. Focus On What Matters
Finally, the Noco GB series are made in such a manner that only what matters comes to production: if something is of little or no consequence, it is smartly excluded and won’t be a part of the unit when it hits production.
The concept here is simple: keep things neat and tidy – after all, with fewer functions/parts, come fewer things that are likely to break down. So, why make a unit that will likely fail in no time in the name of packing in functions that are likely never to be needed in the first place?
This is aptly demonstrated by having on a flashlight (with strobe function) and a battery bank on most of the models. On the top of the line, there is also an added voltmeter to make things pick up brilliantly.
With this smart minimalism, what is likely to go wrong when the units themselves are simply as minimalistic as they can be as jumpers?
Cons Of The Noco Boost GB Line
As indicated before now, there are cons to almost everything in this life: cars, choice of school for the kids, and even the type of jumper you ultimately choose for your vehicle. For the GB line from Noco, here are the most noticeable:
1. Slow(er) Charging
Usually, plugged into a standard wall outlet with a wall charger rated at 2 Amps and above, these units charge on average between 3-7 hours, depending on model and state of charge when they were plugged in.
Ordinarily, this reality shouldn’t call for or qualify as a ‘con’ pre the fast charging era.
Things have changed in the world however and one of the improvements our world has brought for us is the reality of fast charging with options such as the Noco GBX promising slightly just over an hour for a full charge, taken from a complete flat state (with such options such as the Noco GBX 55).
With such realities on the ground and available beyond the standard options such as laptops and smartphones, waiting for your jumper to take the number of hours simply because you want a boost up can be frustrating, especially if you have some tasks that need attending to or worse, pick up the jumper and discover to your dismay that the unit isn’t charged.
Unlike their cousins, the GBX series (and the plethora of devices that support fast charging today), with the GB series, you won’t sadly be able to simply proceed with whatever you are interested in, without losing some time to first charge things up.
If fast charging is very important to you, you should certainly consider this a con and it is something to know prior to taking the decision to own one (or more GBs).
2. Lack Of A USB Type-C Port
Granted, most persons (me inclusive) never get to use their jumpers for anything much: the jumpers are simply secured in either the glove box or trunk and only taken out when the need for them emerges (which is either for charging them up every six months or for actually jumping a weak or dead battery).
However, that is me – and a section of some users.
For some motorists, the portable jumper is more than just a mere jumper: it is an emergency power bank that charges cameras, phones, tablets, and everything mobile that actually requires a charge/boost from time to time.
Unfortunately, the standard port on the Noco GB series is the USB Type-A port and nothing more. In contrast, however, other models like the GBX 55 from Noco offer (in addition to a USB Type-A port), a USB Type-C port that both feeds in and out, rated at an impressive 60W!
This reality is what facilitates the fast charging of the device in the first place. Beyond this, it also powers other units connected to the same port with the same energy it does the jumper itself!
It is thus not surprising to actually charge smartphones in less than half the time their original charges ensure, assuming the chargers are rated at about half of that capacity.
If you use your jumpers for phone charging, this is something to consider especially if the said devices deploy USB-C connectivity, and fast charging is important to you.
3. Presence Of Basic Options Only
This is actually a double-edged sword and how you take it will largely depend on how you view extra options in the first place or what you intend to do with the jump starter (beyond the obvious jumping of weak or dead starter batteries).
If you’re a stickler for more options and love your accessories or gadgets designed in that fashion, then, you’ll miss the lack of a compressor on the GB models and maybe, the inability of the unit to charge with a solar panel (for those extreme cases where you may have a dead or near dead starter battery and only nature will surround you).
For all such, this is a ‘con’ and should be treated and understood that way, at least within the context.
Note however that, because you ‘route’ the basic options on the unit and class the same as a con does not automatically make it one for the next user or even neutral observers for that matter.
For others, despite the fact that you (may) argue to the ends of the world about the lack of options that this unit comes with, the truth, (at least for such persons), will remain that with lesser options (especially moving parts), comes the fact that there are fewer and fewer things that could technically go wrong hence, better reliability, overall.
it is all just a matter of perspective, at least for this one!
Wrap Up And Alternatives
As earlier indicated, there’s nothing under the sun that does not come with disadvantages or cons. What makes such cons severe or not is what you intend to do with the devices or things in question. If such ‘cons’ are issues that you don’t need, then, they do not qualify as ‘cons’ in the first place, strictly speaking.
The summary? The concept of ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ is largely very relative and must be taken and understood as such.
However, if the above-mentioned cons bother you, here are two smart options:
- If you’re bothered about the lack of fast charging and the non-availability of USB-C connectivity on the Noco GB series, then you should try the newer Noco GBX series. From experience, the Noco GBX 55 is a great place to start.
- If, on the other hand, you want a unit that does a bit of everything with an element of grace, cloaked in portability, then nothing compares to the options from Lothithor. If you want a jumper, a compressor/tire inflator, a power bank, and a flashlight all in one, the Lokithor JA301 will be a perfect fit for your needs.