Each year mobile phones incorporate new features that make them more and more attractive: better panels, more number of lenses, facial recognition. However, in the search for more surprising and manageable ones, we found that beyond wireless charging and fast charging, the battery of our mobile phone will not last more than a day. So whether we are intensive users or not going to be near an outlet, a power bank or portable battery seems a very useful accessory.
If you are thinking of buying a power bank, this is a guide to buying portable batteries to charge your mobile phone on what to look for when choosing one with some interesting models.
What to look for when choosing a power bank
One of the fundamental characteristics when choosing a power bank is its capacity, a parameter that is measured in mAh or milliamp-hours. A quick account can lead us to think that if our phone’s battery is 3,000 mAh and we bought a 6,000 mAh battery we can charge it twice. Big mistake.
The theoretical mAhs provided by the manufacturer do not correspond to reality because of the contribution of factors such as efficiency of the device itself or the operating temperature. In addition, as also happens with the batteries of smartphones, batteries have a finite life cycle. That is to say, it will progressively lose capacity.
A good estimate of its actual capacity is to approximate it to 60-70% of its theoretical capacity. Come on, we ‘ll have to multiply by 0.65 the value specified by the manufacturer. So, if a power bank has 10,000 mAh capacity and a 65% performance, you can charge a 3,000 mAh phone a little more than twice.
As with mobile phones, where a larger terminal allows a bigger battery to be embedded, the larger capacity batteries are larger and heavier. Therefore in the power bank, there is a compromise between capacity and portability. Thus, we find power banks the size of a lipstick that will hardly allow us to charge our mobile phone entirely, although they can be useful if you just want to give it a little push.
In any case, it is worth investing a little more and get a larger model that allows us at least a full load of our smartphone but also that is manageable and portable. Greater capacity implies more size and weight, but there are models with a more compact design and comfortable to transport.
As in the market we can find dozens of power bank models, we are going to perform some calculations that allow us to find those that offer more capacity in less space and weight. Thus, we will calculate:
- Weight / capacity (g / mAh), where we will be interested in obtaining a value as low as possible.
- Volume / capacity (cm3 / mAh), where ideally it will be a low value, which will result in a compact model for the capacity it offers.
As for materials, taking into account that it is a gadget that we will carry in our bag or backpack, they must be resistant to shocks, falls and rubbing, as well as being slightly slippery in hand. The usual thing is to find power banks with plastic or metal housing and many include a protective bag to avoid scratches and deterioration.
With this in mind, models that range between 6,000 and 10,000 mAh provide good usability within a lightweight and manageable format.
Ports: number, types and loading speed
It does not matter what type of connector your mobile phone has, because to charge it through the power bank you will use a cable that has a USB port on one of its ends, precisely the one that connects to the external battery. It is important to know that this cable is not included.
Another option (still minor) is that the power bank allows us to charge our phone wirelessly, simply by depositing the phone on its surface, something interesting if our phone is compatible with market standards, usually Qi.
In addition, power banks are usually powered through a micro-USB port or a USB-C. This cable is included when we buy a power bank. Remember, it’s just the cable, not the adapter with the plug.
It is not only important to look for a model that has the appropriate ports, but also to know the number of ports (in case you need to load several devices simultaneously) and their specifications. If your phone allows fast charging, it is recommended that you look for a battery that allows it to take advantage of it. On a practical level, a 5W (5V, 1A) specifications jack is slow and 10W (5V, 2A) is fast.
We must pay special attention to the models that allow charging several devices at once, because the electric charge is not distributed evenly, with a tendency to have a fast port and a slow one. Fortunately, this type of battery implements an intelligent system that distributes it.
The charging speed is important, but not only in terms of speed to charge our devices, but also for the battery itself to charge. As we have already detailed, external batteries do not come with chargers, so if the power bank in question can be charged quickly, be sure to use a charger that allows it.
Power bank are simple and simple devices. Some inform us of their qualitative capacity simply by LED lights that change color or turn off when the battery runs out. Others are more precise, providing us with an approximate percentage of their remaining capacity through a screen. However, the decrease in the load is not linear, so the lighting orientation is more than enough.
If you have the idea of using your battery for nature excursions, it will be useful to look for models that are water resistant and even integrate a solar panel that allows you to charge it outdoors. Finally, some models integrate flashlights that can get us out of a hurry.
Another characteristic to keep in mind is that as the batteries run out, you need to charge them to use them again. The best models allow you to charge them at the same time you load your device, so that we save time.
This power bank allows to load up to 2 devices, one of them quickly (maximum 2.4A) and the other one to 1A. It can also be charged quickly using a DC 5V / 2A adapter. With ergonomic design, rounded corners and protection against electrical failures.
|DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT||17.2 x 12 x 2.8 cm, 358 g||CAPACITY||10,000 mAh||PORTS||2 USB 2.0 and micro USB input|
|WEIGHT / CAPACITY||0.035||VOLUME / CAPACITY||0.0058||PRICE||14.99 euros|
Anker PowerCore II
Compact and lightweight design for a simple power bank with a fast charging USB socket (5 W / 2A). It informs of its capacity by means of 6 LED indicators that go off as it is exhausted. With transport bag
|DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT||9.6 x 4.3 x 2.3 cm, 127 g||CAPACITY||6700 mAh||PORTS||USB 2.0 and USB-C|
|WEIGHT / CAPACITY||0.019||VOLUME / CAPACITY||0.014||PRICE||€ 16.99|
The AUKEY is a battery with a rugged plastic finish resistant, attractive and minimalist quite light. It has 2 USB ports, one fast (5W / 2A) and one slow (5W / 1A). Integra protection against electrical accidents.
|DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT||15 x 10.6 x 2.4 cm, 181 g||CAPACITY||10,000 mAh||PORTS||2 x USB and miniUSB|
|WEIGHT / CAPACITY||0.018||VOLUME / CAPACITY||0.04||PRICE||18.99 euros|
Xiaomi Mi Power Bank 2S
The latest power bank from Xiaomi has an anodized aluminum housing resistant to sweat, wear and corrosion with rounded edges. This battery stands out for its charging speed. If we only use a USB, we will obtain a fast charge compatible with 5.1 V / 2.4 A, 9 V / 1.6 A and 12 V / 1.2 A. And if we use both, the maximum will be 5, 1 V / 2.4 A in case of charging two devices simultaneously (at a maximum power of 15W)
|DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT||7.1 x 1.4 x 14.7 cm, 218 g||CAPACITY||10,000 mAh||PORTS||2 USB 2.0 and microUSB input|
|WEIGHT / CAPACITY||0.021||VOLUME / CAPACITY||0.014||PRICE||17.99 euros|
If you are looking for a model that also allows charging wirelessly, with this Poweradd you can charge your mobile by cable or with the Qi charging standard. It also has double input (Lightning: 5V / 2A, USB-C: 5V / 3A), 3 outputs (type-C: 5V / 3A, USB port: 5V / 3A, wireless pad: 5V / 1A), so you can charge 3 devices at a time. With durable and elegant aluminum housing. The Lightning cable and USB-C to USB-C are included.
|DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT||14.6 x 7.5 x 1.9 cm, 386 g||CAPACITY||10,000 mAh||PORTS||2 x USB-C and USB|
|WEIGHT / CAPACITY||0.020||VOLUME / CAPACITY||0.039||PRICE||19.99 euros|
With an elegant, fine and minimalist design, this model stands out for the charging speed (5V / 2.4 A), only 4 hours if we use the USB-C and the microUSB at the same time. It also comes with a transport bag.
|DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT||15 x 14 x 2.2 cm, 281 g||CAPACITY||10,000 mAh||PORTS||USB 2.0, USB-C and micro USB input|
|WEIGHT / CAPACITY||0.028||VOLUME / CAPACITY||0.046||PRICE||€ 21.99|
This model is one of the most compact despite its capacity. It has 2 USB ports, one that allows charging at 5V / 1.0 A and the other at 5V / 2.4 A. With LED status indicator and Micro-USB cable)
|DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT||2.3 x 8 x 10.5 cm, 240 g||CAPACITY||10,400 mAh||PORTS||2 USB 2.0 and micro USB input|
|WEIGHT / CAPACITY||0.023||VOLUME / CAPACITY||0.019||PRICE||€ 21.99|
The Tronsmart is the heaviest power bank, but it is very versatile because it allows fast charging of Qualcomm and Huawei. A microUSB is used to charge it at 5V / 3A, 9V / 2A, 12V / 1.5A and output has a Qualcomm port (5V / 3A, 9V / 2A, 12V / 1.5A) and a normal one at 5V / 2.4A. 4 LED lights to indicate charging and electrical protection. With cable and travel bag
|DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT||13.9 x 6.8 x 1.6 cm, 395 g||CAPACITY||10,000 mAh||PORTS||USB 2.0, USB-C and micro USB input|
|WEIGHT / CAPACITY||0.04||VOLUME / CAPACITY||0.031||PRICE||€ 23.99|
A more current model of Varta is the Slim, available in several capacities. This power bank includes 2 USB-C 3.0 A ports and one USB 2.4A. With 50 cm Micro USB charging cable included and LED charge indicator
|DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT||11.5 x 1.3 x 15.3 cm, 390 g||CAPACITY||12,000 mAh||PORTS||2 x USB-C, USB and micro USB|
|WEIGHT / CAPACITY||0.033||VOLUME / CAPACITY||0.019||PRICE||32.17 euros|