Noco GB30 Genius Boost - TopSpeed Tested
Whether it is the freezing temperatures of winter, or simple forgetfulness regarding your parking lights, dead batteries can happen to all of us. The classic way to handle the issue with a helpful friend and pair of jumper cables, but recent years have seen a rise in “jumper boxes" or large battery packs that can jump start a car. The problem with these packs is that they are large, quite heavy and thanks to their battery technology, had a bad habit of going dead if they sat in the back of a car. Well, using new lithium technology like that found in the batteries of a Tesla Model S, the company Noco has created a new and more user-friendly way to jump start a dead car. While Noco sells many jumper boxes and battery chargers, their new GB30 Genius Boost is one of the newest and best products they make.
Recently Noco reached out to see if I would be interested in giving this multi-use device a test to see what I thought about it. The company claims you can jump just about anything from a Ford Fiesta to a Chevrolet Silverado, and I was eager to try it out. After a few months of playing with it, it has become one of the most useful items I own. It does much more than just jump start car. Find out what all the Genius Boost can do after the break, and learn why I love it. As a bonus, we have a whole collection of videos showing this cool product in use.
Continue reading to find out more about the Noco GB30 Genius Boost.
Size and Design
The Genius Boost makes use of a unique and rugged housing that is constructed of very durable plastic. Over the course of my testing I dropped it more times than I care to mention and it has barely a blemish. The housing itself is two-tone black and grey, and it has lots of ridges and edges that run around the outside edge. This makes it easy to hold onto even if my hands were wet or greasy. The front of the GB30 holds a few LED lights to display various settings and functions, and it has a trio of buttons. There is the power button, the light button and the override trigger.
Around the outside edges the Genius Boost has a trio of covered ports. One side holds a standard USB output plug and a micro USB input plug. The opposite side has the port to attach the terminal cables. From a size standpoint the GB30 is about the size of a normal box of checks, but it’s a little thinner, and it only weighs a few pounds. It will easily fit in most any glove box.
The cables that attach to the GB30 are a little short which has given me some issue when it comes to finding a place to rest the box while keeping the cables attached, but otherwise it’s a solid, functional design.
The main selling point of the Genius Boost is its ability to jump start a car, but Noco made sure to add in a bunch of extra that make it useful for any type of scenario. For starters the device charged via micro USB. That is the same plug used my all android phones sold today, and it can be charged using a car’s USB plug. That means you can always find a way to charge it. Right next to that charging plug is a USB output. You can actually use the GB30 as a giant external battery to charge your various devices. If it charges via USB, you can top it off with the Genius Boost. I have used it to charge my GoPro cameras, my cell phone and even some LED lanterns while I was camping.
Speaking of lanterns, the GB30 also comes with a multifunction flashlight built in. With the press of a button there are a pair of bright lights on the side of the Genius Boost that will illuminate. They have three intensity settings from soft light to utterly blinding. There are also three strobe functions built in to attract attention if you find yourself stranded on the road at night. There is a fast strobe, a slow strobe, and a fast strobe that pulsates from left side to right side.
Ease of Use
If there was ever a product that deserved the term “idiot proof” it was the Genius Boost. Noco has fitted this little box with a whole host of safety circuitry that will stop you from killing yourself or your car. First there are the cables. They plug into the box via a keyed port so it is impossible to force them incorrectly. Once you have the cables attached, you attach them to the battery and let the box do the work. If the box doesn’t detect enough current, sense the cables aren’t attached, or notices you attached them to the wrong poles on the battery it won’t function. Instead it will simply give you an error light.
If everything is working correctly there is a simple string of lights that let you know power is flowing into the battery and the car is okay to be jumped. Seriously, just attach the cables, hit power and you are good to go. No voodoo dance, no need to worry if you got everything done right, it just works.
Thankfully, if you know what you’re doing and you want to use the Noco box in a slightly different situation, there is an override button. Just press and hold the little red “!” for seven seconds and the box opens up, allowing you to use it any way you deem necessary. For me this mode was most useful when working on my motorcycle. My bike’s battery was completely fried and wouldn’t hold enough voltage for the GB30 to operate. I can just hit override, attach the bike’s cables directly to the Noco and it fired right up. Now I have to say that this is not an intended use for the Noco GB30, and it can risk damage to the unit, blah, blah, blah. That said, it worked, and it was great.
Does It Actually Work
One reason it took me so long to get this review done is that finding dead cars to jump can be more difficult than you think. Considering the size of this little box and the size of the battery inside of it, I didn’t think it could actually produce enough power to jump a car and I wasn’t about to give it the benefit of the doubt. I couldn’t have been more wrong though. The box itself is capable of pumping out 400 amps, and I have been able to successfully jump start 5 different cars with it. Best of all, I jumped all five cars without ever charging it. Noco claims you can potential jump a car about two dozen times on a single charge.
This is probably the weakest point of the Genius Boost’s armor. With an MSRP of $160.00 this is not exactly an impulse purchase. That said when you consider that it works as a car jumper, a spare battery for your electronics and a flashlight for emergency situations it starts to make more sense. Add in the fact that it can sit in your car for months and months without losing charge and it gets even more appealing.
When Noco contacted me I expected the Genius Boost to be a great idea wrapped up in terrible execution. I figured it would maybe jump a half-dead car once, take 100 years to recharge and generally just be a waste of space and money. Happily, I was proved wrong in basically every sense. This is a great product that serves both casual drivers and car enthusiasts equally while providing a solid set of extra usable features to make it worth carrying at all times. I see no reason why there shouldn’t be at least one of these great little devices in every household, if not every car.
TopSpeed Tested Score: 9/10