Being stuck with a flat smartphone or tablet is a pain. Even being smart about charging doesn't help when you're away from home or your desk for an extended period of time. Here's a battery pack that'll charge any phone and pretty much any tablet from zero to 100 per cent charge, all while you're on the go.
What Is It?
- Capacity: 10000mAh
- Output: 2x USB, 5V 2.4A max
- Input: microUSB, 5V 1.5A
- Dimensions: 146x88x13mm
- Weight: 270g
APC is one of electrical giant Schneider Electric's brands aimed at the general public, and the Mobile Power Pack is one of its most useful mobile accessories. A small, squat, glossy plastic rectangle, the Mobile Power Pack is pretty simple — a bunch of battery cells hidden away inside, a pair of USB ports on the end.
APC actually offers the Mobile Power Pack in 10000mAh and 5000mAh variants, and in both black and white. You get a short microUSB cable in the box, which you can use for charging off any standard USB wall charger or your desktop PC or laptop, but it's the Power Pack's dual USB power outputs that are of most importance.
As well as a 5V 1A USB power jack, good enough for a small-screen smartphone or any iPhone older than the 6 Plus, you also get a 5V 2.4A jack — enough for even the gutiest, most power-hungry tablet out there. Charging is done at 5V 1.5A max, which will be roughly in line with what any newish computer or smartphone wall charger can output.
What's It Good At?
10000mAh of battery power is so much to have on tap. It's great. I can charge my gutsy Galaxy Note 4 two full times before the APC pack falls to one bar of energy remaining and I start being a little more cautious with how I use it. It has enough power to completely top up an Apple iPad Air 2 or even (most of) my Galaxy NotePRO's massive 9500mAh.
It's quick to charge any connected device too, thanks to that 2.4A max output from one of the USB ports. Most modern smartphones need 5V 2A to charge appropriately quickly, and some phablets won't even charge at 5V 1A — which some inferior battery packs are limited to — so APC has done the right thing here. The dual ports, too, mean you can hook up two devices simultaneously.
It charges quickly, too. Max charging current is 5V at 1.5A, so it's not going to charge up nearly as fast as it'll deplete — with its maximum 2.4A power supply rate — but it's still a lot quicker than most other battery packs that I've used like Xiaomi's also-excellent 10400mAh unit.
What's It Not Good At?
The 10000mAh unit especially is a little bulky. It's not that it's especially thick or heavy (270g, 13mm), but it's quite tall and wide (146x88mm) — like a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 on some serious steroids. This won't matter one iota if you're putting it in a large backpack or planet-sized handbag, but it won't fit in a smaller clutch.
And as with any of these rechargeable battery packs, as it gets closer to the minimum level of its internal charge, it will charge any connected device more slowly; that is to say, you won't really get that full 10000mAh every single time you use it. At 360 cycles of rated life, it's possible to use it to its fullest extent within a year if you're depleting and recharging it every day.
It's also lacking any integrated microUSB or Lightning cable, which something like the Samsung 11300mAh cell has. APC has gone entirely straight-laced for the Mobile Power Pack, which is probably more convenient in the long run, but it's not quite as exciting as some of its competitors.
Should You Buy It?
Do you need a power pack for your phone? Well, yeah, you probably do. Those things zap through so much energy these days that you're lucky to get a full day of use out of one, and keeping a spare power pack in your backpack or purse is a good idea. It helps, too, that the APC Mobile Power Pack range does exactly what it says on the tin.
The 5000mAh APC power pack should be enough for an average everyday user with average everyday needs, even if those needs are heavy — as long as they only revolve around a single smartphone or single tablet. The 10000mAh unit is twice as gutsy, and if you use a tablet and smartphone regularly then it's probably a good idea to step up to the larger of the two choices.
If you're travelling, too, including a power pack in your luggage or carry-on is a fantastic idea. If you're a long-distance commuter or a frequent traveller you need this. I can't tell you how many times a power pack has been the difference between an international flight full of movies and games and one spent looking off into the boring distance.
APC's two power packs are both excellent for breathing extra life into your tired old smartphone battery, and come in incredibly handy in the middle of a busy day when you don't have the time to stay chained to a desk or to a power point. You're also paying for the peace of mind that the APC and Schneider Electric brand names bring with them.