Monday, April 6, 2015

Product review: Piano Keys Ultra-high Capacity 10000mah External Battery Power Bank

♦ size: 2 3/8" x 5.5" x 7/8"
♦ weight: 9.6 oz
♦ number of ports: 2
♦ flashlight: yes
♦ pass through charging: no (i.e. the battery can charge while being charged itself)
♦ cable: 30" charging cable

This external battery has a unique attractive look - it looks like piano keys. Its capacity is 10000 mAh, some of this capacity is lost to heat and energy needed to run the charger itself. In general, a safe assumption is that 30% of this part will not be available for charging my devices. It has two ports and came with a 30" charging cable. The battery has a nice bright charge level indicator.

However, in terms of performance I was a bit disappointed in the battery. I did not get more than 1A on either of the ports on my iPadMini and it charged my Android phone at below average speed, only slightly above USB rate. I am including the details of the tests at the end of the review for those who are interested in the nitty gritty numbers.

To see how well different chargers and external batteries charge my mobile devices I use a Nexus phone and an iPadMini to test each of them. I do my tests with the devices charged to the same level, running the same applications and using the same cables to keep everything the same. This allows me to compare them to each other in a fair way. I use the current monitor to see what current is delivered to each device which tells me how well each external battery is working.

I also tested to see if the battery supports pass-through charging (i.e. whether the battery can charge mobile devices while it is being charged). This battery does NOT support charger through chargng. It can not charge while being charged.

For Android devices it matters if a cable used to charge the device is a charging cable or a data cable. In a charging cables the two data connections are shorted together (rendering the cable useless for data transfer), but this fools devices to see the cable as an AC power connection and thus the battery accept a higher current for charging. Most of the time external batteries come with a charging cable, but every now I run across a manufacturer that encloses data cables with external batteries. It is not easy to tell what cable you got unless you have a current monitor. I always include this test in my reviews so people can improve the performance of the battery by switching to a charging cable. I tested this battery with my own cable and my results were fairly close to what I got witht the enclosed cable. So the issues is not charging cable vs data cable.

The battery also has a small flashlight. It is not very bright but could be useful in an emergency. My video include a demo of the flashlight so you can see it yourself.

Samsung Nexus phone:
1A port: 0.68/4.99V (below average)
2A port: 0.61/4.98V (below average)
(for comparison the best charging monitor result for this phone is 1.00A/5V)

iPad Mini tablet:
1A port: 0.93A/5.01V (average for 1A port)
2A port: 0.93A/5.02V (average for 1A port, below average for 2A port)
(for comparison the best charging monitor result for this tablet is 1.70A/5V)

If you know someone for whom piano keys would be special this battery will make a nice gift. I like its nice capacity, however it is not a speedy charger.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

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