Think your smartphone is charging at full power? Think again. Your phone may tell you it's charging - it may even think it's charging - but like a freshman at a liberal arts university, it doesn't know what it's doing or what it wants. This is where Practical Meter steps in. Think of it as an academic adviser for charging phones. It tells you how fast your phone is charging, and if used correctly, can help you get things moving in the right direction. Practical Meter's appeal is so strong that Power Practical just closed its Kickstarter funding period with sixteen times more money than they asked for.

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Here's the gist of how the Practical Meter works. Your smartphone may say it's charging, but depending on which cable it's using and where it's plugged in, the phone may be charging half as fast as it should be, if not slower. This is why Power Practical put forward the Practical Meter, a flash drive-sized device that users plug into a charging source before attaching a power cable. Its LED lights display how much power the cable is pulling.

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If used in conjunction with Power Practical's optimized charging tips, it can speed up how fast the handset changes. A four hour charge time man suddenly become two. The cable comes with the obligatory Apple dock, but it supplies both mini and micro USB tips as well. The product is already developed and ready, and you can see it in action in the video below.

Power Practical wanted $9,999 for the project, but they received $167,820 from over 8,000 backers. This put them over both their 100K stretch goal (10 watt metering for tablets) and their 150K goal as well (charging cable color options). Those who pledged support shouldn't have to wait long to get a product in their hands. The Practical Meters are scheduled to ship sometime in September.

The Practical Meter: Know your power!