One of the items I frequently see for review purposes are power banks. With how we use our phones, and expecte more demanding specs with every upgrade, it surprises zero people that battery issues will crop up, nor that a cottage industry would spring up to help address that issue. While I have more chargers than I know what tio do with (a couple at home, a three port charger in my car, one at work, etc), that doesn’t mean that I’ll always be near an outlet, so having one of these on hand is alays something i value. Lately, it’s been a power bank that’s somewhat ruggedized, from E C Technology.
The unit that I had was all black. The back/bottom contains the requisite branding and markings, as well as four blue LEDs that approximate the level of charge. On the opposite side, there’s a solar panel. The remaining periphery is covered in a soft, rubbery material to help absorb shocks, should it be dropped. The two small ends also have some utilitarian functions, with a loop (made from the same rubbery material) for transport. At the other end is located the USB ports are at the opposite end, along with a small LED flashlight, activated by a switch that’s underneath (yet protruding from) the rubber casing. The ports are recessed in a single bay, and have a snug cover that sits over top of them, to keep out the dust and water, as the unit is able to resist those elements as well. The cover is attached to the bank, so it can’t be lost. I wouldv’e preferrred that its connection be a bit longer though.
In using this, I found that it performed as well as other power banks. It has two USB ports for charging devices, both putting out at 2.1 amps. I found that it oculd juice up my phone (stock 7.0 on a Nexus 6 with a 3,220 mAh battery) between eleven and fourteen percent, during a twenty minute charge; my tablet (stock 6.0.1 ona a Shield tablet, with a 5.300 mAh battery) picked up around fourteen percent. The phone received the lower number when they were both charging together,. Starting from an empty charge, it took me around four hours to juice up the power bank, using a 2,1 amp charger. As one might expect, charging was much slower when relying on light. Setting it up against a window for about nine hours of light, it picked up a charge of about twenty five percent. Were it not winter, and perpetually cloudy, that number might’ve been higher.. It will also charge from indoor lighting, but I found that it, at least for the lighting in the house, I need to get the unit to within eighteen inches or so for it to be able to charge. I wasn’t surprised at the slower rate, but it’s worth noting nonetheless. The LED flashlight can function in two modes, depending on how it’s turned on. If I double tap the button, the flashlight will stay on steadily; if I press and hold the power button down, the LED will flash out an S.O.S. pattern. Trying it out in the dark though, I can’t say that I was impressed. It worked, but it wasn’t very focuesd, nor was it very bright when looking out more than one or two feet. So, good for trying to get your keys into the door at night, but not so good if those smae keys are lost in the grass at night. Looking at those as a whole though, it’s not difficult to see how this unit is intended for the outdoors, or if you’re in a pinch. I also left the flashlight on overnight, just to see if there was battery drain. It was approximating 25 percent, and several hours later, the flashlight was still on and the battery indicator hadn’t changed.
At the end of the day, I really like this unit. As one who’s dropped a few power banks in the past, I like that it’s got the protective casing, though that obviously wouldn’t help were it to land “just right” on the solar panel. The LED flashlight is handy to use for short distances, the clip makes it easy for travel, and it ought to hold up well against the elements, or even just drops. Lastly, there wasn’t much to complain about beyond the flashlight (and the cover, if I’m reaching). in “light” of this (see what I did there?), I’m giving this an 8. Don’t get me wrong, I *really* like this power bank. But if it’s desinged to be used outdoors, one would imagine that that a better flashslight would be included. If that’s not a high priority for you though, this is very much a safe bet to purchase.