With smartphones draining battery life as fast as a bunch of guys downing beer at a pub, having a powerbank is a must or live with a mobile phone with running flat within half a day. What are the factors to decide when buying a mobile powerbank? Some say, the capacity, some say the 2A ports, some say a respectable brand. In this article, I will expose all the myths and old wives tales that are spreading around that are inaccurate. I have bought a few battery packs and ran some tests. Here are my conclusions.
What are the factors to decide when buying a mobile powerbank
1) The capacity
While this may seem obvious, but this is only half of the equation. A powerbank may have a capacity of insane figures, but if it does not provide a “charge” that is high enough to charge the device. It is basically as worthless as a paper weight. A laymans term to put it will be, if I put a large tank of water in a village and the tap only outputs the volume of water in a pathetic rate. The villagers would have died of thirst before anything else.
2) The charging current
This is one of the most important aspect of them all when we talk about a powerbank. If you get a powerbank that does not provide more current then it should, instead of charging, the worst outcome will be that it ends up draining the phone. Otherwise, even if it charges, the phone will drain fast. Do not be fooled by the description on the powerbank even if it says 2A port. It may not be delivering even a fraction of the power.
3) The length of the cable
Amazingly as it may sound, the cable does play a major part in impacting the charge. It is not negligible, but a huge difference. The shorter the cable, the better the charge will be. I guess, this is because power is wasted travelling through a longer cable. And I am not referring to a cable that is 2 to 3 meters long. In fact, the default original cable supplied by the manufacturer makes the charge weaker as compared to a shorter cable. The XiaoMi powerbank provides a cable that is slightly 2 times longer then a middle finger. So when a power bank provides a short cable, do not curse and swear that the manufacturer is a stingy scrooge, the short cable is for a reason.
Here are some of the battery banks that I have bought and I did a comparison against the charging current of an original wall charger
A lousy crap powerbank that claims to have 12000 capacity, notice that the current is only 360mAh
Charging off a wall socket with a short cable
Charging off the Xiao Mi PowerBank
The voltage charging off a normal cable that is longer via an original charger with original cable
Charging status AC or USB
If you notice from the comparison, the top portion of it shows AC or USB. For the Xiao Mi Powerbank, it shows AC which is similar to charging off an original wall charger. However, the crap powerbank shows usb which sucks balls.
So in conclusion, before you even buy the powerbank, download a battery charging app and test the powerbank on the spot. If it does not charge to satisfactory conditions, do not buy it, it does not matter if it is from a respectable brand or not. What matters is the truth if it does charge with a full 2A current. The reason why it is 1900mAh is because, there must be a safety range so that the device will not be fried if the current exceeds the rating. I hope this article on factors to decide when buying a mobile powerbank is useful to you guys out there.