I am surely not a gadget freak but travelling certainly becomes more productive and convenient with the help of technology. The intent behind discussing gadgetry here is to help you make an informed choice, through my own experiences, when it comes to assessing the usability, design, functionality as well as compactness of the gadgets and gears deemed necessary. The idea behind introduction of this category on bNomadic is to provide you with some assistance in prioritising your options.
Having earlier used a Chroma-manufactured as well as an iTek device to backup power for my handheld smartphone, I recently bought a Sony product. Pointless to write, both of the previous devices which I received as freebies proved out to be complete disasters against the Sony power bank. I preferred Sony over other alternatives for its reliability as a brand as well as the heavy duty 10,000 mAh capacity offered by the power bank. Ordered online through amazon.in in July 2014, I’d now say that have been using this for quite some time now.
What is in the pack?
The battery, a palm-sized USB – micro USB connector cable and a multi-lingual guide leaflet
The Sony CP-F10L Portable Power Charger comes fitted with two, energy efficient, lithium-ion rechargeable cells which together provide a mammoth capacity of 10,000 mAh. The ultra slim aluminium wash-soap bar sized power bank is quite the convenience to be carried while traveling. The device provides with two USB ports that can simultaneously charge two gadgets with a maximum of 3.6 Ampere taken together. In other words, if used at the same time both output ports can easily spurt a minimum of 1.5 Ampere. The listed dimensions are 70.4 X 130.6 X 16.5 mm and it weighs 260 grams which is reasonably substantial but tolerable considering its heavy-duty capacity. The device takes about seven hrs through a DC 5.0 V adaptor (1.5A) and 23 hrs through the USB interface of the computer to fully charge itself.
I won’t say that I have tested this product per se; nevertheless, I routinely use this product to the nth degree. Just to indicate its usage, it completely fills my Nexus 5 device running on 2300 mAh battery in just about an hour and five minutes, which is less than half the charging time from Nexus’s original charger. On the other hand, the Moto G on 2070 mAh takes less than an hour. The faster charging is also due to the higher charge generated by the power bank. Even though, as mentioned on the device, the real capacity of this device is about 67 per cent or 6700 mAh, normally, I have been able to charge my Nexus 5 smartphone thrice before recharging the power bank. Apparently, the loss of capacity is due to factors like voltage conversion and circuit resistance, etc. In between charges, the standby time for the power bank is found to be more than three days which is quite useful on extended journeys.
Although the original Sony adaptor to charge the CP-F10L is sold separately and as the device requires an input of DC 5V (0.5A ~ 1.5A), I use just whatever comes my way, mostly the regular smartphone-adaptor, to charge it. The charging time varies accordingly. Instead of flashy LED displays that drag battery charge, the device comes equipped with smart light – green and orange – indicators which specify battery charge and function as well as malfunction. Just plug in to charge and stop worrying, because the Sony power charger incorporates certain much-needed safety features like overcharge protection as well as abnormal temperature detection. Not that I have so far used it at higher altitudes, the operational temperature range for the device is listed as 0 – 35 degrees Celsius but works best between 10 to 30 degrees Celsius. The battery drags faster at lower temperatures.
Overall, the build quality of the internationally compatible Sony power bank is fleckless and is fit to be used ruggedly. I found this charger to be the smartest companion, other than myself of course, my devices including Nexus5, iPad or kindle may ever have while I am travelling. The current cost of this portable charger is around 3400 INR which is on the higher side. As battery banks are more of a necessity these days while travelling, I suggest this (or a similar one) to be in the list of must-haves.
A lot of fake power banks, across all popular brands, are being sold online. Doubly check before making a purchase.