Powerbanks have become an essential part of the tech-lifestyle
Here’s a common scenario; you arrive at a client meeting with a phone fully charged from the night before. The meeting begins haltingly, as the client grills you on a series of minutiae in a random fashion. You begin to get the feeling that there is something else at play here, so you begin to ask pointed questions aimed at routing out the real cause. Through the ensuing dialogue a new picture begins to emerge.
The issues with the Singapore contract; the logistical variances in your last order; the vagaries of the marketplace and your relationship together within it. And then it comes out, “we’re doing some restructuring and a potential new partner has approached us.” A new partner that just happens to do exactly what your company does. The competition.
This is going to be a long day, and you’re not going back to the office anytime soon.
It’s a day of using the portable office - your smartphone - to request supporting documents, verify emails, download PDFs and Google clever phrases from Sun Tzu’s Art of War. With every jab and riposte, you begin to make headway. Tensions in the room ease with each obstacle hurdled. Midway through the afternoon you realize that you can save this relationship; all you need to do is continue to make your case.
Suddenly the charge status on your phone turns to red. One lonely bar blinks back at you, like the waning pulse of a mortally wounded creature. A sweat gathers on your spine as you frantically try to convert charge bars to real time; how long do I have left?
From this mother of a necessity was the power bank born.
Keep a charged one with you at all times and you will never have to face this again. It’s not a charger, per se, you already have one of those and it came with your phone. No, think of a power bank as a life recharger, a redundancy system for emergencies. You could just as easily think of it as a deal recharger, or as a business recharger. It buys you a second chance - a priceless second chance.
Okay, so you’re converted. But knowing that you need a power bank is only half the problem. There are so many models that the problem becomes knowing which one to get, right? That’s actually not complicated at all. Power banks only survive on the marketplace if they service the needs of a wide variety of smartphones. Modern phone makers provide an option for USB charging bundled in the box alongside the standard AC adapter cable. If not, it’s not hard to get one, and usually for not more than a few bucks. For universality, most power banks output to a USB cable.
So the issue then becomes one of charge capacity, or how much power you need with your particular device. That of course varies, but it behoves us here to take a step back and understand the true purpose of the power bank.
As we mentioned before, you already have a charger, one that you likely plug in overnight to ensure your phone is ready for the next day. You can bump that up with blasts from a car charger during the day, or simply by plugging into the wall or the USB port on your computer as you work away at your desk. That’s just a part of your charging routine. By contrast, a power bank is for those moments when your phone is in imminent danger of going dead and you need to gain enough time to get back to your regular charging routine. Invariably these moments are never more than fifteen to thirty minutes long, with rare instances stretching to a few hours.
Instead of litres and gallons, you measure the capacity of a battery in Milliamp Hours (or mAh). A power bank is really just a battery, combined with helpful gadgets like USB ports and shielding circuitry (thermal and short-circuit protection are available in advanced models). Your phone also contains a battery. Fill that ‘tank’ up half way and you get half the normal operating time. But how do you know what size ‘tank’ your phone has? The seven most popular Smartphones models feature a range of 1420 to 2880 mAh. So if you have a charged 2200 mAh power bank you have more than enough to fully charge most phones, and an 80% charge at the high-end of the scale.
More than enough to get you to the station, under even the worst of circumstances.
It is worth noting that all batteries loose mAh capacity over time, as their cycles (times used and recharged) increase. Extreme heat and cold exacerbate the issue, so leaving them in a hot car in the summer or a cold car in the winter affects them detrimentally. It’s also worth noting that batteries lose charge even without use, so that topping them up now and again is recommended.
The very final aspect of a power bank to consider is one of output. That’s how much power a USB port that is transferring to your phone is rated for. Think of it as the pouring spout on the Jerrycan. One amp (1A) is standard for recharging most smart phones, while many tablets prefer 2.1A.
Power banks power your ability for mobility. They are lifelines in a time of crisis. Whether they’re saving that dropped call to your mother or an entire corporate partnership deal, what they ultimately buy you is something far beyond measurement in mere mAh. That’s piece of mind, and a second chance.
“Powering Your Mobility” is a feature article from Debco’s Totally Tech magazine, available on our Publications page here.