Review: NOCO Genius Boost GB70 Portable Jump Starter – First Impressions

We’ve been travelling full-time for a while now. And some places we get to are really remote. We might not see anyone for days.

So you’d think a portable jump starter would be an essential item, right? 

Wrong. For reasons unknown, I delayed the purchase. Luckily, we haven’t needed a jump start. Although, we’ve encountered others who have. Unfortunately we couldn’t help them.

We can now. We’ve just bought a portable jump starter (2 actually)… a NOCO Genius Boost HD GB70 to be precise.

NOCO Genius Boost GB70 portable jump starter showing jaw clamps.
Our brand new beast.

So what did we get?

What’s In The Package?

It all comes in a neat box. You’ll get:

  • The GB70 charger unit. The battery clamps are permanently wired to the unit.
  • A USB to micro-USB charging cable for charging the unit from a standard 2.1A USB outlet.
  • A cable and adaptor plug, which can be used to charge the unit from a lighter socket or to charge devices from the unit.
  • A built-in LED flashlight that has a flashing emergency mode.
NOCO Genius Boost GB70 portable jump starter, packaging.
The package. Don’t throw the box out, it has useful stuff written on all 4 sides.
NOCO Genius Boost GB70 portable jump starter.
Wow, it actually looks like the photo on the package! Frozen dinner packaging experts, take note…

The GB70 is a big beast. It’s designed to start up to 8 litre petrol and 6 litre diesel engines. With a peak current draw of 2,000A this monster should start anything we encounter pretty easily. At over 200mm long, 150mm wide and 65mm high and about 2.5kg, it’s a big unit.

And the battery clamps have jaws a saltwater crocodile would be proud to call their own.

It’s for 12V lead-acid batteries only and despite its size, can be used to start vehicles with much smaller batteries. After all, the vehicle will only draw what current it needs.

Why A 12V Portable Jump Starter For A 24V Truck?

This might seem illogical at first. However, we wanted something we could use on any vehicle.

After talking with a couple of blokes from Isuzu, they assured me they regularly use these 12V units to start 24V trucks. You see, two things are most likely to happen.

The most likely is a cell will break down in one of our 2 starter batteries… especially since they spend most of their lives being pounded to death over corrugations and rough roads.

Our 2 x 12V truck batteries will fail sooner or later. This is when we'll need a portable jump starter.
Sooner or later one of these will say enough’s enough and expire.

In this case, we’ll connect the NOCO Genius to the dead battery.

The other scenario? When someone approaches us with that slightly embarrassed hangdog look, asking if we have a portable jump starter. Now we can help them.

This has happened plenty of times, including being flagged down by a serial killer on an outback Western Australian road… you need to watch the video!

Stopping for a serial killer!

And of course, there’s always a chance we’ll accidentally drain both batteries. In this case, we actually have a second Noco Genius GB70 for our 24V system.

You can buy a 24V-rated Noco Genius, but it’s massively over-rated for what we need… and it costs a fortune. Plus two 12V jump starters are more versatile as well.

Charging The NOCO

The NOCO Genius has a lithium battery. This can be charged in two ways. The first is to use the supplied USB to micro USB cable and plug it into any 2.1A USB outlet.

The USB to micro USB charging cable supplied with the The NOCO Genius Boost GB70 portable jump starter.
The USB to micro USB charging cable.

Our unit was about 50% charged out of the box. We charged it using a 2.1A USB socket in our cab. It took a couple of hours to fully charge via the USB cable.

At first, the micro-USB charging input looks ridiculously tiny when compared to the size of the portable battery charger. We were sceptical whether it would charge, but it does the job perfectly fine.

The second is to use the supplied cable to plug into a lighter socket. We haven’t tried this, but have no reason to suspect it wouldn’t work.

The NOCO Genius Boost GB70 portable jump starter has a combination charge/charger cable. Shown here ready to charge the NOCo's battery.
The lighter socket/plug/cable combination. Shown here in “charge the NOCO” mode.

Strangely, there’s no option to charge the unit from 240VAC. I assume NOCO have decided nearly every vehicle has a 12V lighter socket (our truck only has a 24V socket) and/or a 2.1A USB outlet in their vehicle.

If you keep it in your garage or workshop, simply use a USB to 240VAC adapter plug.

Charger For Devices

The NOCO can also be used as a charger for your devices. You can plug in a USB cable to charge any of the zillion electronic devices we all carry now.

The NOCO Genius Boost GB70 portable jump starter has clearly marked input and output connections.
The various charging/charger cables all plug in one end, clearly marked Out and IN. They each have a separate splash proof cover.

Or use the supplied cable with its clever reversible plugs. Connect the supplied lighter socket to the cable and plug in any device with a male lighter plug. Clever!

The NOCO Genius Boost GB70 portable jump starter has a combination charge/charger cable. Shown here ready to charge an external device.
Shown here in “NOCO, charge something with a lighter plug” mode.
The NOCO Genius Boost GB70 portable jump starter has a combination charge/charger cable. This shows you how to use each mode.
The packaging explains the mysteries of the lighter plug/socket/cable combo.

LED Flashlight

On one end is a 400 lumen LED flashlight, which could double as a lightbar. Only joking, though it’s super-bright on the highest setting. There’s 3 modes of varying brilliance, 2 emergency flashing modes and one strobe mode.

The NOCO Genius Boost GB70 portable jump starter has a multi-mode LED flashlight.
Not exactly a pocket flashlight, but useful nonetheless.

The flashlight could be useful if you’re trying to jumpstart a vehicle in the dark. However, the unit isn’t exactly small and lightweight. So you wouldn’t use this as your go-to flashlight around the campsite.

Portable Jump Starter

Clearly the NOCO Genius is a battery jump starter, this is its primary role. And it works, every time. We used it to start a petrol car over a dozen times in one week, yet the charge stayed well above 75%.

It’s so simple to use… connect the clamps to the battery terminals, press the On button and start the vehicle.

There’s also a manual override button you can use to charge a completely dead battery. The User Manual explains how to use this mode. This is a “get out of jail” mode and should be used with caution. Nonetheless, the function is available if you’re really stuck.

In Summary

If nothing else, we now have peace of mind when travelling remotely. There’s nothing worse than turning the key and nothing happens, especially when you’re a long way from help.

With the NOCO Genius Boost we can get ourselves out of trouble, and help the occasional stranded driver (or serial killer!) as well. A worthwhile investment.

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Any errors or omissions are mine alone.

Note: We purchased our NOCO Genius Boost GB70 portable jump starters at retail price. We have no affiliation with NOCO.

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