Power Bank Review And Buying Guide
Let’s start with what a power bank is, and why you need one. Have you ever been in this situation: You’re outside your home, looking for a place with your Smartphone and Google Maps, when suddenly the battery dies? Or you’re trying to get in touch with someone because you’re running late, but suddenly your phone switches itself off?
I think this must have happened to everyone at some point. It’s easy to forget to charge your phone, or use up all the battery charge before you can get to your charger.
Incidents like these make us realize how much we depend on our smartphones. The problem is that the battery just doesn’t last long enough. And it can be inconvenient or impossible to charge your phone when you are on the move. But there is a solution – it’s called a power bank, and when you need it, it’s like a lifeline for your phone.
A power bank is a simple gadget, but it can be a life saver (sometimes literally). It’s a very powerful rechargeable battery in a case. You charge it the same way you charge your phone (usually with a USB cord). Then you put it in your bag and forget about it. If you ever need it, it’s there for you. The power bank carries enough juice to recharge your phone when it’s flat. The idea is that the power bank is a safety net. You don’t plan to use it every day, but it’s there for you when you need it.
We do a lot of research to find the best options for you. This involves online research, examining customer reviews, and sometimes even product testing. Whatever your budget and needs, we have a power bank review covering the right option for you. Before we leap into product reviews, I want to make sure that some of the terms I will be using make sense. When we talk about the capacity of a power bank, we use a number followed by mAH. This stands for milliamp-hour. It’s a unit of energy used when describing the power consumed by small devices. Some people get mAH mixed up with the units used on electricity bills. On your electricity bill, you may be used to seeing kWH (kilowatt hour). This is a different unit used for measuring the energy used by large devices or entire households. An mAH is much smaller than a kWh, so you don’t need to worry about spending a fortune on charging your power bank!
How to calculate how many times you can charge your phone?
Let’s say your Power bank capacity is 10000mAh (if its in good condition it can conserve 90%) and your phone’s battery is 1500mAh (80% is an estimate on how much power that are consumed during charging process)
So the calculation is: 10000 x 90 x 80 / 1500 = Up to 5 times
Ok, let’s move on to the reviews. Below we have listed 3 of the best portable chargers from each category. They where selected because they are suitable for specific needs. We start with the best overall performer then the best outdoor power bank and last we decided to list the best cheapest external battery charger.
1. Anker Astro E7 25600mAH Review
The Anker Astro E7(Buy at amazon) is an attractive unit, with a sleek black case. The size is really impressive – the E7 is smaller than an iPad and fits comfortably inside your pocket.
- Great Power
- A Little Heavy
Beneath the shiny surface lies a powerful array of batteries, containing a huge 25600mAh of capacity. This is enough energy to charge an iPhone 7 times over.
While this is undoubtedly impressive, the E7 is not just about raw power. It contains an ingenious new technology called “PowerIQ amp-adjustment“. What PowerIQ does is it detects the type of device attached and modifies the flow of power. This way it can charge the device as fast as possible.
Different devices have different optimal charge rates – some can suck up power faster than others. It’s dangerous to try and overload a device which charges slowly, which is why lots of generic chargers are designed to charge all devices slowly. Of course, if your device can take the power quickly, you don’t want to waste time waiting. That’s why the “PowerIQ amp-adjustment” feature is such a great time saver.
The E7 has several ports to allow it to work with a variety of different devices. It can work with iPhones, Androids, tablets, and laptops. In fact, any device which uses a standard connection (such as USB) will be able to charge from this awesome power bank. Of course, reliability is as important as clever features. Reliability has a lot to do with the materials and components used in a product. The E7 is built with premium LG battery cells and sturdy materials, which means it will stand up well to frequent usage.
To see how well the E7 performed over time, I checked out some customer reviews. The E7 is a very popular product, and this means that there are literally hundreds of customer reviews online. The vast majority of these reviews are very positive.
In fact, most people report that the E7 performed better than the manufacturer’s claims. For instance, one owner said that it was able to fully charge his iPhone 5 9 times with power left over, whereas Anker only claims it can charge the iPhone 7 times.
It looks like Anker is in the habit of delivering more than was promised, which is good news for us!
2. Gorilla Gear TM Outdoor 10400mAh Power bank Review
The outdoors environment is full of challenges to any battery device. Things like water, sharp jolts and bumps can all cause problems to a battery.
- Water Resistant
- Chock Proof
The Gorilla gear(Buy at amazon) is designed to laugh in the face of challenges such as these. It is built with a rugged, shockproof construction that is water resistant and ready for almost anything the great outdoors has to throw at it.
Note that’s water resistant, not waterproof! So if it does fall into the water, get it out quick and it will be OK. Don’t take it diving!
The casing has ridges on the side to make it easier to hold even when wet.
It has dual USB ports, so it can charge 2 devices at the same time. It has “universal compatibility”, which means it is able to provide power at the right voltage to a very broad range of different devices. The manufacturers are serious when they say this device will stand up to punishment – they back this up with a full lifetime guarantee.
Their blurb recommends this product for extreme sports and outdoors activities and owners have taken this to heart. Reading the customer reviews, I see many reports about this gadget standing up to real punishment, such as Kayaking, climbing, and so on.
Of course, if you are planning such activities, you need to make sure your phone and tablet can take the same type of punishment!
There are a couple of little glitches to report. They aren’t deal breakers, but they are worth keeping in mind.
Firstly, some users have reported that the Gorilla Gear sometimes switches itself off in the first few minutes of charging. If you press the power button, it will start again and keep charging to the end.
The other glitch concerned the cable having to be held at exactly the right angle in order to charge the device. I could only find one report of this fault, and it could have been caused by a kink in the wire. However, I’m letting you know just in case it happens to you. Of course, the manufacturer warranty covers defects, so you should be able to get it replaced without trouble if you experience any issues.
3. KMASHI 10000mAh MP816 Review
While it’s not as pretty as the Anker Astro E7, the KMASHI (Buy at amazon) is no ugly duckling. Its black case has a gloss finish, and a neon pink side (this looks cool, but it may not suit everyone’s taste).
- Fast Charging
- High Capacity
- Problem Charging Some Devices
The device is compact and pocket-sized. It’s a little smaller than a Galaxy Note.
This power bank has a capacity of 10000mAh, making it the least powerful option in this lineup. However, this is more than enough energy to fully charge most phones a couple of times, and can help to keep a larger device ticking over even if it can’t fully charge it.
As an emergency backup, this should be enough for most people.
The MP816 is designed to charge quickly with a 5-volt charger.
It has 2 USB outputs, so you can charge 2 devices at the same time.
There are thousands of customer reviews, and the majority of them are positive.
Some customers complaining that the capacity is not as high as competing brands. However, the MP816 is a lot cheaper than many competitors, so this must be factored in.
A tiny minority of users (like 1%) reported that their power bank stopped working after a few weeks. The device is covered by warranty, so in these cases a customer should return the product to get a replacement.
It only seemed to have happened to a few customers, so I think this was probably a faulty batch.
The main strength of the MP816 is that it’s so much cheaper than its competitors. It provides respectable performance at an amazing price, but it’s not the best product for heavy usage or extreme conditions.
- How to Make a decision
So far, I’ve shown you our top 3 picks, but we’ve really just scratched the surface.
How do you look beyond the power bank review and decide which one to choose?
There are several things you need to weigh up to make a decision.
Firstly, how often will you be using the power bank? Some users need it purely as an emergency backup. They don’t know when they’ll use it, they just want to be covered if they should forget to charge their phone or another device.
On the other end of the spectrum is the owner who plans to use the power bank heavily over several days. For instance, if you are planning a camping trip, you will need to take a high-capacity power bank, or maybe even more than one.
Another thing to consider is the requirements of your devices. Most phones, tablets and other items have a power rating in mAH. Now you know what these figures are for!
It’s worth pointing out that not all of the energy in your power bank will be available to your mobile devices. All electronics equipment suffers from some degree of inefficiency, which means that some of the energy will be lost as heat. On average, this lost energy accounts for about 30%.
- The lesson is to get more capacity than you will need.
There are other practical considerations to look at. Size and weight can be important. If you are going to carry the power bank in your pocket, you don’t want it to be too heavy!
Some people buy the highest capacity power bank their money will buy. But more capacity means more weight, so think about what your requirements really are.
Appearance is an important factor, too. Why carry around an ugly power bank when there are so many sleek and attractive options at the same price Point?
The speed of charging is important. Some power banks charge with a very low current, which means they charging your device slowly. The Anker Astro E7 has the advantage of intelligently selecting the best current to charge your device fast and safely.
Not all features are vital. For example, some people want a portable battery charger that can provide charge while it’s being charged. That seems a bit wasteful to me, as you could charge your devices directly – remember, wasted energy contributes to global warming!
So consider whether additional features are really useful before you spend more money for them. What kind of connectors does the power bank support? Almost every power bank provides standard USB connectors, but some devices have special requirements. Do you need extra sockets?
How many devices do you need to charge at the same time?
Does the manufacturer offer a warranty which covers defects and guarantees a minimum battery lifespan? Making the right choice means understanding your requirements and weighing up your options. We’re going to make it easier for you by narrowing the field, and selecting the best options from the thousands of power banks out there. But you still need to know what your own requirements are when you read a Power Bank Review, so you can choose the right option for you.
Katie Smith is the enthusiastic woman. She loves writing about technology and lifestyle on Reviewmoon.
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