Smartphones today, by and large, use bigger battery capacities and have much more power efficient chipsets as compared to a what was standard a couple of years back. At the same time, the advancement in battery tech – faster charging, denser batteries – and associated advantages are almost nullified by consumer demands that are growing at a faster pace.
A simple solution is to buy a power bank or portable battery charger. But before you proceed to do so, here is what you should know.
Don’t lust after bigger capacities
Though many power bank buying guides will advise you to buy the biggest possible battery capacity in your budget, we would strongly advise you to hold your horses. Some tradeoffs are also involved with bigger battery capacities.
A bigger capacity Power Bank:
- Takes more time to charge
- Is heavy ( a problem if you have to carry it your pockets)
- Occupies more space, and is thus less portable
More often than not, you will be using your portable charger to charge your phone when you are actually using it and plugging your phone in the wall charger is not an option. This means you will be handling both the power bank and your smartphone at once. This might also involve carrying both in your pocket.
Over the years, the most convenient power banks for me have been the ones with 5000 mAh capacity. Since I have access to charging point through the day, a battery bank that can charge my phone 1.5 times proves useable even on those weekend trips.
We are not saying you should shy away from big capacity chargers (there are some well-designed options too Like 16000 mAh Mi power bank), but do consider attributes like dimensions, weight and shape when opting for higher capacity power banks.
Good power banks will offer you 75 to 85 percent charge conversion when they are new. This means if you own a 5000 mAh battery pack, it will fully charge your 3000 mAh battery phone once. Efficiency may wary depending on what charging cable you are using or charger rating you use to charge it.
Ports and LEDs
Another important thing to consider is the number and type of ports. The power bank you choose should have at least one 2A output port. Though I have never found myself in a situation where I needed to charge two gadgets simultaneously, you might want to prefer two charging ports based on your usage. If you have a USB Type-C port on your phone, by a USB Type C power bank instead of relying on adapters.
Most branded power banks come with LED indicators, and that is what you will have to rely on to know the charge level.
Branded options are better
We would advise you to go with branded options, even if it means compromising a bit on battery capacity. There are several unknowns involved, like charge time, battery durability, support for fast charger, charge conversion efficiency, build quality, corrosion resistance, etc. Thus you should be better off with tried and tested options. Also, make sure to purchase from authorized retail stores to avoid fakes.
Take good care of that in box cable
That tiny USB cable that comes bundled with the power bank is an important asset. The length, thickness, and quality of your charging cable can significantly impact charge conversion rate from the battery bank, and thus you shouldn’t discard it as a flimsy formality.
To charge the power bank, it’s better to use a charger with 2A charging current. Double check the spec-sheet for maximum input current that the power bank accepts (Should be at least 2A).