Universal external batteries, or power banks, are not such a complicated technique that you can get confused in them. We will tell you how to choose an external battery for your phone – which one will best be able to power your devices even on a long trip.
How to choose an external battery for a smartphone? Main characteristics
- Charging current
- fast charging
- Ports and cables
- Power bank charging type
- Special requests
- External battery for phone: ranking of the best in 2022
The main parameter by which you should choose an external battery is, of course, its capacity. It depends on it how long it can power your devices. Modern power banks have a capacity of 1,500 to 50,000 mAh. But the principle “a lot means good” does not work here: with an increase in capacity, the size and weight of the battery increase. And, therefore, it becomes not so convenient to carry it with you.
The 10,000 mAh battery will be the most comfortable for daily wear – this is if you want to charge only one device and do not go far from home. If you need an independent power supply for several devices, or you plan to be away from the outlet for a long time, it is better to pay attention to external batteries with a capacity of 20,000 – 30,000 mAh.
The second important characteristic is what current the device is capable of producing at the output. The higher the current, the faster (at standard voltage) the battery will charge. The simplest devices can only deliver 1 A, which is not enough even for an average smartphone. That is, it will, of course, be charged, but the process will not be fast. But the capabilities of such a power bank are enough to power devices from USB: for example, portable fans or even an air conditioner from our recent test.
It is better to take the option with a current of 2 A. And if you plan to charge a tablet or other devices with high-capacity batteries, then 3 A is also possible.
The optimal charging current can be “peeped” on the charger that comes with the gadget. As a rule, gadget electronics limit the maximum current for safety reasons, so weak devices from powerful charging are unlikely to burn out – here we explained why.
The most successful option is a power bank with several ports that give different output current. For example, one port can deliver 1 A, the other 2 A – a couple of external batteries for a smartphone with such an opportunity, we will tell you at the end of the article. But most often, the manufacturer indicates the total current that the device can give out – that is, when two smartphones are connected, each is given 1 A, a total of 2 A. Keep this in mind!
Powerbank is usually used to quickly recharge the gadget, which is called “on the go.” And such a device will come in handy with support for fast charging technology. Fortunately, not only we understand this, but also manufacturers of portable batteries – most of them, with the exception of very cheap devices, support fast charging.
Fast charging technology: how to cram energy into a battery in half an hour
The main problem is that almost every smartphone manufacturer uses its own fast charging technology, which is incompatible with the developments of competitors. And when buying a power bank, it is important to make sure that this function is compatible with your smartphone. After all, you must admit that waiting 3 hours to fully charge the smartphone, and even on the road, is still a pleasure.
Ports and cables
Devices are connected to the powerbank via USB ports using bundled cables and adapters. Take another look at your devices and ask yourself two questions:
- Firstly, how many devices do you want to charge at the same time? The same number of ports, ideally, should be on an external battery.
- Secondly, what devices do you have? If you have an iPhone, the power bank should have a Lightning connector, if you have an old iPhone, you will need an adapter from Apple 30-pin to USB. To connect other devices to an external battery, you may need USB to microUSB, USB Type-C adapter cables, or a DC-DC cable (for a laptop).
Choosing a quality cable for charging a smartphone: what to look for
Cables can be supplied with the power bank, but if necessary, they can, of course, be purchased separately. In addition, there are external batteries with attached sets of adapters, including those for peculiar connectors like the same Apple 30-pin.
Power bank charging type
Important question – how do you intend to charge the power bank itself. A good power bank has a microUSB/Type C connector for self-charging. Accordingly, you can even charge it with a smartphone charger (keep in mind that with a small charging current, this will take a long time). You can also use any other connector, such as a computer port, a USB socket, or a car cigarette lighter.
But there are alternative options – for example, solar-powered power banks. You can buy these devices only out of desperation: for example, you definitely won’t be able to find an outlet on a long trip. If in the southern regions the bright sun is able to charge such a device, then on a cloudy day it is not a fact that any significant charge will accumulate.
The above characteristics are common when choosing any power bank. However, besides this, there are many interesting additional options that an external battery for a smartphone can have – which ones to choose is up to you:
- Charging laptops. Such a power bank can provide enough voltage to recharge the battery of your laptop. External batteries with this feature are often equipped with DC inputs, as well as voltage switches that allow you to increase and decrease it: after all, a laptop needs a voltage of about 20 V to charge, and a smartphone “eats” only 5 V – the comparison here is clearly not in favor of the “laptop” . Of course, such devices are quite large.
- Wireless charger. Power banks with this feature use the Qi standard common to most smartphones with wireless charging. In order for the phone to start charging, it will be enough to put it on top of such a power bank – no cables are needed. The function is certainly convenient, but power banks with wireless charging are usually more expensive than their wired counterparts, and not every smartphone has support for this technology.
Wireless charging: is it harmful to the smartphone battery?
- Protection against dust and moisture. Some powerbank designs are IP certified and rated up to and including IP68. Take an interest in this characteristic if you need a truly protected external battery for hiking and outings. But keep in mind that they are more expensive than conventional external batteries and noticeably more massive than them.
- Information display. On it you can see the remaining charge in the power bank, the current voltage, current and other important information.
In addition, a power bank can have a cute design and an unusual shape, be supplied with accessories – complete cables, adapters, a cover or a storage case, and some models can even be used as a flashlight.
External battery for phone: ranking of the best in 2022
In conclusion, here is a brief rating of the top five external batteries for the phone according to CHIP. All of them have a capacity of 10,000 mAh and are in great demand among buyers.
Xiaomi Mi Power Bank 3
A very inexpensive, but high-quality power bank, due to its low low capacity of 10,000 mAh, is more designed for use in the city and short trips to nature, providing 1.5-2 full smartphone charges. It is compatible with the Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 fast charging standard and can deliver up to 18W of power.
The external battery has two USB Type-A connectors for recharging mobile devices and micro USB or USB Type-C for replenishing its own charge, and the maximum output current of the power bank reaches 2.4 A. The power bank body is made of aluminum. It has protection against overheating, overload and short circuit and, in general, is a great gadget for a city dweller.
Xiaomi Redmi Power Bank Fast Charge
This is another inexpensive power bank from Xiaomi’s sister brand Redmi. It is noticeably bulkier than the previous model due to its higher 20,000 mAh capacity. This is enough for 3-4 charge cycles of a smartphone, and 2 charge cycles of an average tablet, which means that you can use the gadget on fairly long trips. But for purely urban use, you shouldn’t take such a power bank – you just don’t need such a capacity in the city, and the device weighs almost twice as much as Xiaomi’s development – 445 g.
The external battery delivers up to 2.4A of current to each of the two USB Type-A output connectors and supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 18W fast charging. And this applies to both recharging mobile gadgets and the power bank itself via micro USB or USB Type-C ports. Provided here and standard protection against short circuit, overheating and overload.
With the highest capacity of 40,000 mAh in our selection, this power bank is ideal for long hikes and trips to places where electricity is only a dream. It will be enough for 8-9 smartphone battery charging cycles, but such a device weighs quite a lot – 900 g.
Powerbank is equipped with two USB Type-A and one USB Type-C ports for recharging mobile devices, as well as micro USB and USB Type-C for charging its own battery. It supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 fast charging and can output 3A current. Well, it has a small screen to monitor the remaining battery charge, output voltage and current.
A small and stylish power bank from Korean Samsung has a capacity of 10,000 mAh. It supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 technology and Samsung’s proprietary adaptive fast charging, but most importantly, it can be used to wirelessly charge smartphones, smartwatches and other Qi-compatible wearable devices.
Of the minuses of the power bank, it can be noted, perhaps, only one USB Type-A output connector, not the highest fast charging power of 15 W, and the price tag is “biting” compared to the Xiaomi power bank. But the gadget weighs quite a bit (234 g), and its dimensions are limited to 149.93 x 70.8 x 15.09 mm.
Apple MagSafe Battery Pack
This power bank is very different from other members of our top. It is designed for Apple gadgets and supports proprietary MagSafe charging. Well, to start working with the gadget, it is enough to “snap” it to the iPhone case using a special magnetic mount.
The main problem of the device is the very small capacity of its battery – 1460 mAh. Because of this, it can only slightly extend the operating time of the smartphone, and is not able to fully charge any of the supported iPhones. For example, the iPhone 12 mini or iPhone 13 mini will charge up to 70%, and in the case of the iPhone 13 Pro Max, it can only replenish up to 40% of its charge. With all this, the cost of a power bank is very high.
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