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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Product review: Mipow Power 5200mAh Simple Tube Phone Charger Power Bank

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Mipow external battery is unusual in its wiring. It has a built-in micro USB cord and a standard USB port. To charge the battery you need to use a special female USB to male USB connector included with the charger. This cord attaches to a special port which is part of the built in cable. If you lose this special cord you will not be able to recharge the battery.

The battery size is 3.875"L x 1.5"W x 0.875"H, its weight is 5.7oz. The battery is rated as 5200 mAh. Since some power during charging is lost to inefficiencies (such as heat) it will provide approximately 3900 mAh. I was able charge my phone with 3800mAh extended battery from low levels to full once.

The battery has a bright charging indicator. The indicator does not stay on when you charge, you can turn it back on for a few seconds by pressing the ON button. The indicator is also off when you charging the battery itself, so you don't know if it is fully recharged until you plug in your mobile device. The indicator tells you the charge level by combination of blinks and lights:
1 LED blinkging - 0-25% full
1 LED is on - 10-25% full
2 LEDs on - 25-50% full
3 LEDs on - 50-75% full
4 LEDs on - 100% full

This charger has 2 ports one via a built-in micro-USB cable, another a regular USB output.

I tested this charger with Samsung Nexus phone and iPad Mini. This external battery worked with both devices charging them above average speed. If you are interested in the details of the tests I am including them below in the "test results" section.

Test results
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I use the current monitor and a 10 minute charging to test to test all my chargers, this gives me two data points to compare them to each other so I can tell which chargers perform well relative to their peers. I start the charging tests at about the same charge level of my devices to account for non-linear charging.

I started running these tests when my Android devices had HoneyComb operating system so I was able to observe the improvements in charging with different version of the Android OS. Before 4.21 I could only get fast charging on 1A port, and would get poor performance on 2.1A port (designed for Apple devices) on my Android devices. After upgrade to Jelly Bean 4.21 I see the same performance on 2A and 1A ports as Google figured out the Apple protocol and now my Android devices typically charge similar in speed on both ports of a good charger. The devices draws what it needs on either of the ports. The Apple devices do better on the ports designed for Apple (2.1A ports).

Samsung Nexus phone
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Built-in cord - AC charging - 9% in 10 minutes
Built-in cord current monitor measurement: cannot be measured

My own charging cable - AC charging - 6 % in 10 minutes
My own charging cable current monitor measurement: 0.85A / 5.07V

iPad Mini tablet
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
My own charging cable - AC charging - 5% in 10 minutes
My own charging cable current monitor measurement: 1.67A / 4.92V

Overall, on the positive side good charging speed, fairly compact size. However, I did not like the non-standard wiring and the danger of losing the special cord needed to recharge the battery.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


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