Choosing the right USB power bank
As phones get better every year, we seem to be suffering in terms of battery power. As our battery power life keeps getting shorter, the need to recharge becomes more necessary. Unfortunately, we’re not always presented with a convenient plug to quickly charge our phones/tablets. This is where the beauty of mobile USB power banks comes into play.
There are all kinds of varieties of USB Power banks, and deciding which one could be a bit tricky if you don’t know too much about amps, wattage and doo-hickeys. There are even USB power banks that are able to use solar power to charge themselves. So how do you decide what is the best for you?
There are a few things to consider when you’re trying to find the best USB power bank for you. The first is mobility. Do you want something portable and easy to carry with you, with just enough charge to get your phone back alive, or do you prefer big and bulky which is going to be enough to power a third world country? I jest of course, but considering the size and appropriate power output could save you a few extra Rand on the side if you know what you’re purchasing.
A big factor to consider is capacity. It’s extremely important to know that not all USB power banks will deliver on their advertised capacity. Some USB power banks will only deliver on 70% of their advertised capacity, due to energy loss through heat conversion. Some of the better quality USB power banks however, will at least offer you close to 90%. It’s always a good idea to do some research first and to find out what the actual capacity of the USB power bank will be that you’re buying.
The most important thing about a USB power bank is its input rating. The higher the input rating, the faster it will charge. Ordinarily, this figure is displayed in Amps. Let’s take 1A for example; you multiply this number by the voltage (5V for USB) to find the rating in Watts. A 1A input can charge at 5W, but you’d do better to look for a device that can charge at 2A (10W).
While some USB power banks ship with a USB cable, don’t always expect one, or get mad if you don’t get one. Use the cable that you’d normally use to connect your device to a computer/ USB charger.
‘Pass through’ Technology
There is a lovely feature that you can get for a USB power bank called “pass through” but it does seem to be only for the wealthy who has a bit of extra coins to throw around. This feature allows a USB power bank to function as a USB hub of sorts, meaning you can simultaneously charge both the USB power bank itself and your mobile devices, and ensures the USB power bank is always topped up and ready to go when you need it.
Then we get to the output rating of a USB power bank. This rating is how quickly it’ll charge your devices. Ordinarily, you will find 1A(5W) for smartphones or 2A(10W) or even 2.5(12.5W) which are used for tablets. Be aware though that some tablets, especially iPads will refuse to recharge from a lower than specified capacity.
More and more of the latest USB power banks however are being manufactured with PowerIQ technology. This technology allows the USB power bank to recognize what device is plugged in and what its needs are, and thus it’ll deliver the optimum required power to the device.
Remember that more output ports are not equal to more power! If you use a big USB power bank with four output ports, each device connected to a port will charge slower with every new device connected.
Some of the best USB power banks that are available to us on the market support and auto-on and auto-off feature. This feature allows the USB power bank to stop delivering power to a device once the device is charged, ensuring that no unnecessary energy gets wasted.
With most USB power banks, the remaining charge on a USB power bank is indicated with LED lights on the USB power bank. This is fine for some of the smaller USB power banks, but for the large capacity USB power banks, it becomes rather redundant as each light could be a massive jump in remaining power. When buying larger capacity USB power banks, try to get one that has a screen display to give you a more accurate indication of how much power is left.
LED Flash Light
Something that we see a lot on the market is USB power banks with a LED flash light. While this is a nifty features for any happy camper; unless the design of the USB power bank is something close to an actual flashlight, chances are you’re most likely not going to use a brick to search for your mosquito repellent in the dark.
The ideal USB power bank carefully balances useful capacity with portability, value, fast charging/recharging, multiple outputs and high-end features such as passthrough charging and LCD displays. If you’re still not sure what you should get, just give us a call or drop us a mail and we’ll get you sorted on the best power bank for you.