No longer satisfied with the battery life of your smartphone? Are you afraid that you will be left without connection at the most inappropriate moment?? In this case you should get a power bank. But it is necessary to have a competent approach to its selection, otherwise the purchase will only disappoint.
The purpose of an external battery
As with many things, before you buy a power bank, you need to decide what you will use it for. You’ll say, “To charge your smartphone.”. Yes. But in what conditions? And how many times you need to charge? And how often you don’t have access to power? Once you answer these questions, it will be at least roughly understand what kind of external battery you need.
Powerbank “just in case”. Such an accessory usually lies at home fully charged for many months. It is useful in case of a sudden power outage – in many cities it happens with frequency at least once a year. Also, some people carry such a battery with them in a backpack or even a jacket pocket. Again, in case suddenly the smartphone is discharged at an inopportune moment, and access to the mains at the same time will not be. With this kind of intended use, it is not worth spending money on any kind of high-capacity, expensive battery. You can do with a tiny accessory, the capacity of which is comparable with the capacity of the battery built into your smartphone.
Power Banks for Hiking. It’s not just your smartphone that can be charged with an external battery. In this regard, such an accessory can be actively used in hiking or long bike rides. It’s a lifesaver for your camera and connects you if your phone suddenly runs out of juice. And it is unlikely that you will be alone on a camping trip. But it is stupid to take several powerbanks at once, because it is a lot of weight. So the lovers of such holidays is better to get a model with a high enough capacity. However, do not go overboard! Again, a particularly heavy external battery will seem to be completely inconvenient to transport. It also does not hurt to have a waterproof case.
When you demand the most from your devices. In this case, you can think about buying an accessory with a capacity of 20000 mAh. This parameter will be enough to charge your smartphone several times.
Powerbank able to charge your laptop. Such an accessory will be atypical, and not only because of the huge capacity. It should come with a variety of adapters that fit laptops from all the most popular manufacturers. Also such a powerbank is able to give out electricity with increased current.
Now you have to figure out what capacity you need. But this parameter is not the only one you need to pay attention to.
The number of USB-ports
The most basic power banks have a very modest capacity. They only have enough power to charge one device, and that is not enough. That’s why such accessories are equipped with a single USB-connector, which is connected to the gadget. But if the capacity of the external battery is large enough, you can think about charging multiple devices at the same time. That is why we recommend to buy a powerbank that has at least two USB-ports. And if it will be used in a multi-day hike, then twice as many will come in handy.
Above we have already mentioned that power banks for laptops give increased current. But this parameter is also different in conventional external batteries. You can easily miss the choice, buying an accessory that, if it charges your gadget, it will do so in a very long time.
The first power banks sent out power with no more than 1A. At that time, it was quite enough, because smartphones do not support a larger parameter. If you remember they came with a similar slow charger. But now the situation has changed. The vast majority of smartphones support fast charging, for many of them even 2A is not the limit. So we advise to choose an external battery, which at least one connector supports a high current. In this case, the gadget will fill up with energy quite quickly.
Different USB ports can deliver different amperage. Keep this in mind. This fact should always be mentioned in the characteristics of the accessory. How much amperage is supported by a particular connector is written somewhere near it. A smaller amount of power might be needed to charge a cordless phone or other older electronic devices.
It should be noted that recently on the shelves of stores began to appear powerbanks with support for fast charging technology from Qualcomm or MediaTek. If the corresponding technology is also claimed in your smartphone, then the charging speed will be comparable to that observed with the ROM!
Remember that fast charging technology comes in many forms. For example, Meizu has it called mCharge, and Qualcomm – Quick Charge 3.0 or 4.0. They are not compatible with each other. In order not to miscalculate with the choice, you can take the powerbank from the manufacturer of your smartphone – now such accessories are produced by almost everyone.
Also keep in mind that usually the output current is divided among all connected devices. This means that it is unlikely you can quickly charge two or three devices at once. It can not do anything about it, such are the limitations of the power source used in such an accessory – it is the battery, not an electrical outlet.
Next, you should think about how quickly the powerbank will charge itself. It can’t just magically fill up with energy. It is not uncommon to find accessories on store shelves that are capable of accepting electricity of no more than 1 amp, even if the AC adapter offers more. This is not particularly terrible with a capacity of 2000 mAh. But if it’s much higher, it will take forever to charge your external battery.
We advise to buy a power bank, which charges at 2A. And the good models have a floating. This means that a fully discharged accessory will take power with even higher amperage. To the more familiar two amps it will come at a time when the battery is about half charged – this is done to eliminate the risk of overheating and a longer life. Accessories like this charge quickly, even with very high capacity. For example, many of today’s 20,000 mAh models fill up with energy in just three to four hours. Compare this to the twenty-four hours it took for external batteries current about five years ago!
Do not be fooled by marketing tricks under any circumstances! On the body of some models you can find an English inscription, saying five minutes. But this does not mean that the powerbank will charge so quickly. Its creators say only that in five minutes the external battery will get as much power as would be enough to fully recharge a typical smartphone. No more than that.
The first external battery packs came with a bunch of adapters. Think back to the push-button phones and smartphones that were popular a little over a decade ago. They all had different sockets for the charger. Now the situation has changed, but not radically. Powerbank should be able to connect to the following connectors without any problems:
Micro-USB – this port is still used by the vast majority of budget smartphones, not to mention tablets;
USB Type-C – used in devices in the middle and high price segments, differs by its symmetrical structure;
- ghtning – this connector is endowed with smartphones and tablets created by Apple.
Owners of, well, really old “Apple” devices may need an adapter for 30-pin. If you are going to charge your SLR camera battery while camping, then you may need an adapter for mini-USB. But what about laptops, we have already said – for their recharge special Power Banks with a bunch of round connectors of different diameters.
What else should you think about when choosing an external battery? About Size and Weight. Especially if you were going to carry an accessory in, say, a jacket pocket. But these parameters are directly derived from the capacity of the battery.
Not superfluous will be an indicator of the level of charge of the power bank. It can show the exact value, or an approximate value. For example, there could be four LEDs on the body of an accessory. If one light is on, the battery is at least 25% charged, two light is 50%, three light is 75%, four light is 100%, or almost fully charged. Intermediate values can be displayed by flashing the neighboring LED.
Some powerbanks have a built-in or plug-in solar panel. We recommend to forget about it. The fact that in Russian conditions to charge the external battery from the sun does not work, even if you keep it on the windowsill for a long time. About the conditions of the campaign and nothing to say – you simply will not have time to keep an accessory under the sun. The power efficiency of this panel allows you to use it only somewhere in South Africa or Miami.
You will find more useful protection from water and dust. Especially if you’re going to go with the powerbank somewhere in the countryside. Such an accessory can be equipped with a clip for a carabiner, which allows you to attach it to your backpack, making space inside for more useful things.
Recently, it has become realistic to buy an external battery with wireless charging support. If this technology is also implemented in the smartphone, it is enough to put it on the body of the powerbank, you can forget about the cable. But make sure that the technologies match – there are several varieties now. As we have already advised above, it is easiest to buy an external battery from the same manufacturer that created your smartphone.
Electronics stores offer hundreds and even thousands of different powerbanks. It seems that choosing a specific model will be a real headache. But now you have made sure that this is not the case. Numerous models differ from each other in literally a few parameters.