Choose the right power bank

By Doug Williams
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Choose the right power bank

Doug Williams
 
Power banks
Power banks
 
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A few years back, a phone was a phone. Who would have said that such a device would be able to connect you to the internet and let you watch TV let alone all the other things you can do with one now!

Phones have evolved at an exponential rate, but the fact is that batteries have not evolved to the same extent. High-speed data, big screens and things that drain power mean that charging the batteries is an important issue.

 

 

As staying close to a constant source of power is not always possible it’s good to know there is a solution at hand. You will now be able to leave a hotel room while still staying connected for much longer.

 

Portable power packs or external batteries and chargers are available in many shapes and sizes. By using them, you can fully recharge a tablet or phone, via USB, at least once and often multiple times.

There are also some packs that allow you to charge a laptop, but these are generally a bit big, heavy and somewhat pricey. This is not always practical when you are traveling either

 

 

With a big selection available we need to be sure which features are the most important in meeting our requirements before purchasing a portable power pack.

The first question should be….What devices need to be charged and how often?

 

 

Tablets need more power input than smartphones do. To charge more than one device, you’ll clearly need a battery with more power storage capacity.

 

The simplest way to calculate your power needs is to look up the capacity of the battery that came with your device. This capacity is denoted as “mAh” – milliamp hours.

For example, the iPhone 6S has a 1715 mAh battery. Other Android smartphones, like the Google Nexus5, come with a capacity of 2000 and 2500 mAh. Assuming your portable charger exceeds this, you should get one full charge from it.

All portable chargers, with exception of the very smallest battery packs, should provide this at the very least. The Innergie Pocket Cell 3000 mAh is such an example.

The iPad and other tablets are different in that the latest one has a 12000 mAh capacity battery. As such, a much larger charger capacity would be needed for a full recharge. The Anker Astro E5 15000mAh Dual USB Portable Charger is one such example that will be up to the task.

Anker Astro mobile battery charger – Author: Vaky z – CC BY-SA 3.0
Anker Astro mobile battery charger – Author: Vaky z – CC BY-SA 3.0

In the description for any given portable power pack, there will be a list of devices which are deemed compatible. If yours is not specifically mentioned, you can compare the specs to those of the charger that came with your device.

 

 

An iPhone needs 5 Watts, but an iPad needs a lot more at 12 Watts. You will need to get this right because if you don’t, you may become frustrated as the device could take forever to charge or perhaps fail to charge at all. The higher the capacity demand, the longer it will take to fully charge.

 

 

You will also need to consider the following: if your needs include charging many devices simultaneously, you will need enough USB ports to achieve it. Also, you will need to ensure the rating is correct for the devices you will be plugging in.

 

 

Basically, the higher the capacity of the battery pack, the longer it will take to recharge. You would be wise to organize your schedule so that you can charge your battery pack overnight. A 50,000 mAh pack will not charge in a hurry.

Most portable chargers will charge via a USB and not necessarily from a wall socket. It would be a good idea then to also have a mains adapter. These are widely available. This will allow you to charge two USB devices simultaneously. Size and weight, however, increase with capacity so when you are traveling light this is something to consider.

 

 

In conclusion, note that the appropriate cable will be needed for your device. Some power packs include cables, but some do not. Be sure to have all the components that you need to stay connected all over the world.

 

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