The best external batteries and how to improve their autonomy

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Anker PowerCore Essential, the best inexpensive and efficient external battery

Anker PowerCore Essential 20000

There are affordable and large capacity batteries. Anker’s accumulator, for example, has 20,000 mAh. A substantial storage capacity allowing up to 2 smartphones to be recharged several times simultaneously thanks to the USB-A ports. The microUSB and USB-C ports are reserved for battery charging. The latter provides an output power of 3A, 2.4 A if both ports are used (max output of 15 W), but which will not be sufficient to recharge your PCs. Note that it still weighs 350 grams, which is not nothing.

PowerArc ArcPack, the best external battery for your Nintendo Switch and your PC

PowerArc ArcPack

A (small) 15,000 mAh battery to charge your Nintendo Switch or your PC. It has 3 ports: one 30W USB-C PD input / output, one 30W USB-C output and another 30W USB-A output. You can charge multiple devices simultaneously.

Litionite Titan, John Rambo’s favorite Power Bank

Litionite Titan

The Litionite Titan is an external battery, or rather a generator in view of its large capacity (140,000 mAh and 500 W), its weight (6 kg) and its dimensions (290 x 155 x 190 mm). It has 2 AC outlets, 3 USB-A ports, one USB-C PD port, 3 DC outputs and one DC input. An interesting tool to import with you on vacation to recharge your laptop, smartphone and game console or power a TV, a mini-fridge or even a medical device.

Samsung EB-U1200CS, Wireless Power Bank exists

Samsung Powerbank (Induction)

Are you looking for a stylish external battery? Samsung sells a 10,000 mAh Power Bank in two very successful colors: pink and silver. Even if its 234 grams are felt, its compact dimensions (15 x 7.1 x 1.5 cm) allow it to easily slip into an internal coat pocket. There is 1 USB-A port, a USB-C port, and even induction charging. A poorly performing gadget that spends more energy than wired to charge a smartphone, certainly, but rather pleasant. In fast charging, it delivers 9 W.

Autonomy, a recurring problem on our high-tech devices

The modern era suffers from energy schizophrenia. With machines promoting the cult of thinness while presenting ever greater performance, autonomy is rarely a celebration. With at best a day of use for smartphones and tablets, autonomy is often a problem for users, to the point that it becomes the number 1 concern before purchase. While waiting for terminals fully armed in capacity, here are some solutions to better use them and extend autonomy in a crisis situation.

The batteries have run out of memory

Before going to the cashier and taking out your credit card to purchase an external battery, you should already optimize its use and observe a few common sense rules.

And good habits start when you start the device for the first time. With the li-ion (lithium-ion) type batteries which now equip the majority of machines, it is strongly recommended not to completely discharge its battery.

This operation, which was used with old batteries sensitive to the “memory effect” (Ni-CD and Ni-MH), can on the contrary lead to a loss of capacity of up to 20%.

Thus, according to Batteryuniversity , it will be necessary to favor short, but repeated charge cycles, rather than large variations from a dead battery to a battery charged at the cleat. You will also need to get into the habit of charging the machine when it is off, and before the gauge drops into the red, ideally between 15 and 20% of the remaining autonomy.

Optimize your battery

The theory is not always easy to follow in practice, it is easy to find yourself running out of battery during the day, and often far from a power outlet or USB.

To extend the experience, we have already covered the issue , adjusting the brightness, managing updates / downloading in the background, identifying greedy apps, or cutting off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or even activating airplane mode, you can follow the various dedicated tutorials.

  • 4 Android apps to monitor your battery and optimize its performance
  • iOS: optimize battery life on iPhone and iPad
  • Increase the battery life of your mobile phone … to make calls

External batteries, read the label first!

The most relevant solution to support the battery of your device is the very popular external battery . A solution so widespread that it is offered at all retailers not really specialized, ranging from the local gas station to the bar / tobacco placed next to other dispensable gadgets.

CE and RoHS marking highly recommended

Except that the external battery should not be considered a gadget. A real potential chemical plant, it can be dangerous, melt, ignite, or even explode. It will be necessary to verify the presence of CE and RoHS certifications on the battery to limit the risks. And just limit the risks , because these two European conformity standards obtained by a simple declaration from the manufacturer are neither a “certification mark” nor a guarantee of quality. In addition, the CE marking is sometimes falsified, so be careful …

For a tablet, smartphone, camera, PC or all four?

It is advisable to determine the use of its external battery, small and discreet backup battery to charge its iPhone occasionally or high capacity battery to simultaneously recharge tablets, camera and smartphone or a laptop of the small family on vacation.

  • If the choice is limited to the smartphone , an output current ( Output ) of 1.5 amperes is the bare minimum.
  • If we intend to charge several devices , including a tablet, it will necessarily be necessary to opt for a battery delivering an output of 2 or even 3 amps for rapid charging and above all without risk of overheating for the external battery.

These high capacity batteries often have multiple USB sockets to simultaneously charge multiple USB devices. The most relevant solution provided you choose sufficient capacity.

In search of the lost mAh

Keep in mind that between the not always very reliable indications of the manufacturers, the electrical subtleties between mAh (Milliampere-hour) and Wh (Watt-hour) and the energy losses linked to the conversion of voltage – especially with the load without wire, you should always opt for an external battery with a capacity much higher than the capacity of the internal battery of your device.

As an indication:

  • For a small smartphone: external battery of at least 3300 mAh to 5000 mAh
  • Smartphone 5 inches and above: external battery of at least 10,000 mAh
  • A tablet: additional source of at least 10,000 mAh to 20,000 mAh
  • A laptop PC: aim for 20,000 mAh for recharging, 50,000 mAh if you want two or three recharges, and pay attention to the power of the battery

Remember that these are indicative figures for carrying out one, or even two, maximum refills. If you can always aim higher in the capacity offered by the battery, you will need to keep in mind that the weight and size increase significantly. For example, count more than 400 g for a 20,000 mAh battery.

If there is no fixed price list, it is nevertheless necessary to show common sense on the price side. A 30,000 mAh battery for less than $ 15 is unlikely to be reliable or offer an acceptable lifespan. That being said, the market has become well democratized, and it is not uncommon to find 10,000 mAh batteries around 30 $.