Tips for choosing the Best portable battery packs to travel
An external portable battery is booming nowadays. Smartphones continue with terrible autonomic of one or, at most, two days at best, and almost without touching it. As manufacturers research technologies to evolve the energy factor, what solutions are we finding for?
Accessories like external batteries can give us that extra essential power in many situations. They are perfect so that our smartphone continues on after long trips or excursions where we will not have at our disposal a wall socket. What features are important in an external battery? What factors must be taken into account when choosing a good external battery? Both these and other questions will be discussed below.
Why have an external Portable battery?
If we go back ten years in time, the autonomy of the mobiles was not a problem: at that time they offered one or even two weeks of autonomy, a period that in most cases was more than enough to be able to recharge it in a wall socket.
Since then things have changed a lot. The arrival of smartphones has radically changed the way we enjoy ‘mobile’, and from the first models back in 2007 and 2008 we already began to intuit where this new category of technology was going to go: the usual thing is that they endure a day of use and even a few hours with intensive use. Many of the smartphones also have an integrated battery that is difficult to replace, so it cannot be replaced to revitalize the device.
One of the solutions the industry has come up with is portable batteries. It is not a novel or innovative invention, but practical and functional with which to apply a patch to the problem: I wish smartphones had the autonomy of old mobile phones, but this possibility is not contemplated for the coming years.
portable battery functions as a container that stores energy. They are recharged like the batteries of smartphones, to later transmit that contained energy to the new support.
It is important to mention that although we are used to using them with our smartphones, they can also charge other devices (typically any that is charged via USB, such as tablets, e-book readers, or cameras) and there are even more powerful models that can add a charge to laptops.
If we focus on the most common, portable battery charger for smartphones are usually small and relatively inexpensive. Small enough to be easily transportable, and at a cost that can range from a few euros to several tens. Depending on several factors, which we will describe later, they can carry a fraction of a load of a device, an entire load, or even several.
Features to consider for portable battery
The most common is to measure the capacity of the portable battery power bank is in mAh., Milli-ampere hours, the same unit used in the internal batteries of smartphones. For many, it is not the best measure of the ‘charge’ of a battery, but it must be said that it is the most widespread in the industry.
A practical example: if our smartphone has a 2,000 mAh battery, an external 2,000 mAh battery. it would be able to carry out a complete cycle of charge, that is, to charge it to the full assuming that it is completely exhausted. There are certain details, such as the losses caused by the energy transmission or the decrease in capacity over time, which can be taken into account as factors of lesser impact, for many secondary ones.
As with chargers, there is an important characteristic: the intensity of the current, measured in amps (A.) in the International System and closely related to the ‘charging speed’: the higher the amperage, the faster the battery will charge. We refer to the output amperage of the external battery, which is the element from which the energy “comes out” towards the battery of the final device.
The amperage is important not only because of the ‘speed’ of the load: it can also be a problem, since an excess of current intensity can damage the batteries, either in the short or long term. For reference, a smartphone wall charger usually offers around 1 A., depending on brand and model. We should also mention that the higher the intensity with which a battery is charged, the less its durability will be over time; In other words: the ‘slower’ (lower amperage) is the process of charging a battery, the longer its life will be.
In the world of external batteries, the most common is that we find a micro USB input (to be able to charge it with the same charger like that of the smartphone) and a USB port that acts as an output. It is to this USB port that we will connect the cable plugged into our phone. This solution is universal, since all smartphones are charged from a USB cable, and therefore it is the best we can find.
There are other portable batteries that provide an integrated cable that limits the possibilities. Some, in addition to this cable, also a USB port, so that they expand our range again. micro USB is the most widely used charging standard, but not the only one on the market, and this is something that we must take into account since not all smartphones or tablets use it.
In addition to the load capacity and connectors, there are countless little details that we can take into account. Physical dimensions (lengths and also weight) of course, but also lights that determine the percentage of remaining load or materials of manufacture for the casing.
What external battery to buy?
Of course, it is not an easy question to answer, since the variety of existing models is certainly wide.
Personally, I would avoid batteries of ‘unknown’ brand, or that stink of low-quality product. As with chargers, it is important that the materials used in their manufacture can correctly withstand the passage of current, or else we may have problems that can even damage the entire phone.
And what brands are there? Some very well known (Energizer, Duracell, Sony), others that will ring a bell (Mophie, Zag, HyperJuice), and many that will surely be the first time that you will read (Anker, PowerRocks, Tilt, Innergie, RAVPower …). As always, the Internet will be of great help to know how each of them works, although here we will offer you a trio of interesting models to get an idea of the price at which these accessories move:
Anker Astro E5: 15,000 mAh. and double USB port (5V / 2A and 5V / 1A), 39.99 euros on Amazon.
RAVPower Deluxe: 8,400 mAh. and double USB port ((5V / 2A and 5V / 1A), 21.99 euros on Amazon.
Anker Astro Mini: 3,000 mAh., A USB port and LED flashlight, 19.99 euros on Amazon.
We have previously commented that the idea is to look for a ‘universal’ external battery, to which you can connect a USB cable to your device. About which capacity is the best, this is a personal matter: it is not necessary to go to ‘the highest capacity, as these are generally the largest and heaviest on the market. Depending on the phone model we have, covering one or two charging cycles may be ideal. There are some that even support the charging of several smartphones simultaneously, so in case this option interests us, we must go to a portable battery of greater capacity.
Last but not least, design can be a differentiating aspect.
portable batteries are generally rectangular prisms, but there are also external cylinders, cubes, and even other oddity batteries. If we play with the sizes we will even find key chains or batteries the size of a credit card, although in these two cases they are more decorative elements given their limited capacity.
An Accessory More Necessary Than Ever
The evolution from two-week autonomy phones to smartphones with only one or two days ‘duration was too fast. Many of us thought that manufacturers were going to bet on finding techniques and technologies with which to extend the battery of their smartphones, but that has not happened … and there is no hope that it will happen in the coming years.
a portable battery is an inexpensive option and can be an acceptable solution to the autonomy problem. An interesting accessory for times when we are not going to have a wall socket available for many hours, or even days, and we need the mobile phone. Hopefully, manufacturers improve battery technology (there are some advances in this regard), meanwhile we can use the patch that is external batteries.