One thing that most smartphone users dread is having their device die on them during the work day or when they need it the most. As devices tend to be slimmer and sleeker with each generation, they also include non-removable batteries that prevent us from simply taking the battery out and popping in a new one.
Some phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 have a quick charge feature that allows the phone to charge upto 60% of usable battery power in as little as 10 minutes.
Therein lies the issue. Charging the device. There are times or scenarios where it is next to impossible to locate a power socket to plug in your phone. Sure you can charge it by USB, if you’re planning on staying in office for the next century or so. So what is the solution? Well, you can just invest in a portable power bank.
Powerbanks or powerpacks or batterypacks have been around for a few years. They save us the trouble of finding power sockets to charge our mobile devices and offer us a portable method instead. The only issue with powerbanks is to find one that will do the job.
All that glitters are not gold
A major issue that exists with power banks is their reliability. For now, Xiaomi and OnePlus are a few brands that are well known in the market and even then, fakes of these products exist. You’re probably wondering how or what a fake power bank would entail. Well, put simply, these products are neither manufactured, nor endorsed by their parent company. They are produced by an OEM using cheap components in order to reduce cost and thereby sell for cheap. So if a deal seems too good to be true, chances are, it actually is. Most of the time, these power banks cannot deliver the output promised and will also not contain the stated amount of power (eg: 20,000mAh). One or two charges using a regular 3000mAh device and your so-called 10,000mAh battery pack is dead.
Finding the proverbial needle in a haystack
We managed to get our hands on a OnePlus Power Bank and decided to give it a go. Developed by the same people who gave us gorgeous devices such as 2014’s flagship killer, the OnePlus One, OnePlus Two and OnePlus X, the OnePlus Power Bank retails for around Rs. 4000/= and is available in most retail mobile phone outlets. We ourselves gout it from Dialcom, Bambalapitiya.
Straight off the bat, the OnePlus Power Bank is very reminiscent of the company’s flagship killer the OnePlus One. Available in Silk White and Sandstone Black which were the same colors and materials used for the OnePlus One, the OnePlus Power Bank weighs in just 220g and measures 142.8 × 72.6 × 16.2mm. Build quality is quite rugged and sturdy and the device looks really cool on a flat surface.
Capable of holding a charge of 10,000mAh, this power bank actually keeps its promise. I was able to fully charge my OnePlus One 3 times before the power banks ran out of juice meaning that it does indeed have a10,00mAh battery in it. Speaking of which, the OnePlus Power Bank makes use of a lithium-polymer technology and has a multitude of safety features included such as overcharge protection and overheat protection.
The side of the power banks houses the battery indicator LEDs, whilst the top of the device houses dual USB ports. This enables you to simultaneously charge two devices. Each USB port is capable of delivering an output of 5V/2A which is pretty good if you want your device to charge fast. A full charge of a 3300mAh battery took me around one hour and 15 minutes which was quite good. Simply give the battery pack a small shake and the LEDs will show you the available amount of battery left in the pack.
Charging the battery pack fully takes around 5-6 hours so a wise choice would be to let it charge overnight so it will be ready for action by morning. Also, for those worried about leaving a battery pack to charge overnight, the OnePlus Battery pack shuts off charging once its battery is fully charged so you don’t have to worry about damaging it.
To carry out further testing, I installed Ampere on my phone and connected the battery pack to my phone. Ampere measures the amount of power used by the battery whilst charging and discharging enabling the user to get a better understanding of how much power is being used. Once the app is launched the discharge rate is displayed in mill amperes (mAh)
A regular 5V/2A charge such as the charger bundled with the OnePlus One gives a rating of 1010-1070mAh roughly translating to 1A of power. This increases when the screen is off so the actual current increases to around 1500-1700mAh. A full charge takes around 1½ hours. The OnePlus Powerbank came in at around 900-1010mAh with the screen on. This rate increases the moment the screen switches off so It gave almost the exact identical rating and charged in about the same time. To confirm our finding we pitted it against a Xiaomi 5200mAh battery pack and ran Ampere. The result: it charged at an average of 800mAh proving that the OnePlus power bank was clearly doing its job well.
Battery power alone, does not a battery pack make
Interestingly, we also found out that the power cable itself makes a difference. Whilst using the OnePlus One’s microUSB cable and a regular cable that again can be found at most mobile phone outlets in and around MC or the likes, we found that the charge given from the power bank drastically drops when using 3rd party cables.
Using Ampere, you can actually make it a point to check the power delivery of any cable before purchasing to ensure that it works properly. A weak power cable can lead to longer charge times, which in turn can negatively impact your smartphone’s battery and even damage the circuitry inside it.
Overall, if you’re on the lookout for a portable powerhouse, take a look at the OnePlus Powerbank. For starters, it has a 10,000mAh battery. That alone will give you a few days of charge for your devices when you need it. Going camping? No biggie, just take along one of these and you’re good to go. Need to charge two devices? This has you covered.