Monday, November 18, 2013

Product review: Palm Pearl PowerBank - The Portable Power Source 4000mAh

There are many external packs on the market, many of them are very similar to each other. This power pack has several unique features.

✔ It is all-in-one charger, meaning it has built-in cables. You don't need to worry that you forget to bring a charging cable when you travel, and you don't need to deal with a table of wires.

✔ On the negative side if these cables are not the right cables for your device, you are stuck as there is no option to plug in your own cable.
The charger has three built-in charging cables one for micro USB, mini USB, and iPad. It has no lightning connector for iPad Mini, it has no Galaxy tab connector.
It has no outlets to attach a charging cable of your own or change connector tips.

✔ The charging cables are very short. Three of the 4 cables are 1/2" long (3 USB cables), and iPad cable is 1.25". The cables cannot be expanded.
I found them a bit cumbersome to work with due to short length.

✔ Palm charger has a unique shape with nicely sloped edges, it reminds me of a flying saucer shape. The charger is fairly small in size in size (2.5" by 3.5") and weights only 4.1 oz.

✔ Finally, the charging speed of this external power is very slow, it can only provide USB level of charge, none of my devices were able to get AC level which is the case with almost every other external power brick I have tested.
I tested this power pack with 5 mobile devices we own: Nexus 7 Tablet, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Pyle Tablet, Samsung Galaxy 7.7 tablet, and iPad Mini tablet. This test shows that this external power pack performed below average compared to other power packs I have tested. Results of my tests are below.

Top reviewers are often asked to review battery packs and one of the benefits of being asked to test different power banks is that it gives me an opportunity to compare them to each other using the same charging test, so I can compare them to each other using "apples to apples" comparison. My methodology is to charge each mobile device on each port of the unit for 10 minutes and measuring how much each unit was charge in that 10 minute period. In addition I tested charging two mobile devices at the same time. Each line in the table below represents a separate 10 minute test. I use Battery App by Elvison to determine how each device recognized the charging source. 'AC' status means the charging is at full charging rate. 'USB' status indicates charging at a lower charging rate. 'Discharging' status means that the charging rate is below the power that the device is consuming so it slows down the discharge rate but does not re-charge.

➨ Test Results:

✔ Nexus 7 Tablet
➨ USB level of charge.......+1 % charge in 10 minutes

✔ Samsung Galaxy Nexus Phone
➨ USB level of charge.......0 % charge in 10 minutes (+1% charge in 20 minutes)

✔ Pyle Tablet
➨ USB level of charge.......0 % charge in 10 minutes (-1% charge in 20 minutes)

✔ Samsung Galaxy 7.7 tablet
➨ Not supported

✔ iPad Mini tablet
➨ Not supported

For comparison, the fastest chargers in my tests provide 5-6% in a 10 minute. 3%-4% up charge in 10 minute is fairly common.

I received this power bank from the manufacture for an honest review be it positive or negative. In fact, they specifically interested in what could be improved in the next version of the product.
Here is my wish list:

✔ I would like the charger to provide AC level of charging.
✔ I would like to see a change to replaceable charging tip so the charger can be used with a larger variety of devices.
✔ I would like to see the cable be retractable, so they can be made longer during use and retracted for storage.

I am attaching a collage of 3 photos which shows the charger on 1" gridded mat for size reference. Photo #1 shows the charger with cables extended and cover closed, photo #2 shows the charger with cables extended and cover open, photo #3 shows the charger during one of the tests. The photos can be located by following 'customer photos' link under the main photo.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★☆☆

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