The KFC Watt a Box is a new promotional product available at KFCs in Delhi and Mumbai. The international fried chicken restaurant has provided fast food for customers on the go for years. Now, the chain is trying to entice customers in India by including a pick-me-up treat for your phone as well.
In a place where you might not be able to reliably find a public outlet when you’re on the go, KFC is hoping to cash in on the second most populous country in the world by providing to-go boxes that are battery-powered chargers for your smartphones and mobile devices.
How the KFC battery box works
The meal box is packed with a 6,100mAH power supply, two USB plug-in ports, and is designed to work with any standard USB smartphone charger, Android or iPhone.
Apparently the power bank is removable from the box, however, it is not sold at an additional cost, according to reporting by CNET. It is a part of KFC’s “five-in-one” meal that costs 150 rupees or £1.50.
The box is advertised as having enough juice to charge a couple smartphones in theory, although some reports have said boxes are often barely able to power a single phone.
Reviews of the charger box
Testing from BRG India shows that the boxes really can pack a quick charge, even if testing shows they’re still slightly off from their broad claim of being able to fully charge two smartphones.
“We put an iPhone 5s to charge, which gained 17 percent battery after charging for half-an-hour. But the downside was that the power bank was drained during this process,” BRG India reported. “We recharged the power bank to 100 percent and tried to charge a Redmi Note 3. But the power bank ran out of juice again with the phone gaining just 7 percent of charge.”
Other reviews support this assessment. Popular Science’s own reporting says that the boxes often only provide a “17 percent battery boost, that takes half an hour, before the device dies.” One can imagine if you’re the target consumer hoping your lunch will keep both you and your phone going longer, such an experience could be quite underwhelming and cast a negative light on the brand.
Other critics have noted the striking environmental cost of such a device that encourages disposable batteries being regularly added on to the impact of a device that already has a heavy environmental footprint.
A failure of a product?
While the product is a compelling and interesting attempt to meld technology, convenience, and your daily sustenance, all-in-all the KFC Watt a Box has proved too unreliable in meeting its claims, and it is also the opposite of a green solution for people on the go.
Still, I have to admit that if I found myself a lost tourist in Mumbai with a dying phone, I would consider buying a Watt a Box meal from KFC before I would start asking locals to borrow their cell phones or electricity. Maybe it’s not so ridiculous after all.