So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Braven BRV-BANK 6000mAh mobile battery pack
A mobile battery with rugged features that will give you a couple of extra charges on the go
- 1A and 2.4A ports
- Water and dust resistant
- Torch attachment
- Capacity might only be enough for a couple of full charges depending on your device
The Braven BRV-BANK is a good choice for a battery back up if you want something rugged to take with you on outdoor adventures, though its capacity is only enough for a couple of charges, depending on the size of the device that you are charging.
Price$ 150.00 (AUD)
Having an external battery pack on hand to charge your phone or tablet while you’re on the go is almost standard practice for many of us who are afraid of being caught out with a powerless device. There are many too choose from, and the main buying consideration is capacity -- the higher the capacity, the more charges you can get out of it -- and then perhaps the number of ports it has. With Braven’s BRV-BANK battery pack, there is a bit more differentiation: it’s a rugged battery pack with features more suited to outdoor adventurers.
The BRV-BANK has a relatively large size (126x80x24mm) and a hefty weight. It’s designed to be water and dust resistant, and it’s also shockproof. You can take it bushwalking and camping, and it even has some extra features that can come in handy for such adventures, including a torch attachment and various safety triggers, such as the ability to flash an SOS signal in morse code. It even has something called Bear mode, which emits an audible tone if it detects that your phone has started moving (presumably taken by bears while you’re asleep in your tent).
It uses Bluetooth to connect to your smartphone and an app called BRV-BANK will show you the status of the battery’s charge, as well as let you play with all the extra features like the aforementioned Bear mode. This app, and the inclusion of the USB-based LED torch are what make the Braven a little more interesting than other batteries on the market. However, it doesn’t have an overly large capacity.
A battery with a rating of 6000 milliamp hours is present inside the rugged exterior, and it’s good for about two full charges of a phone such as Samsung’s Galaxy S5 (which is a phone with a 2800 milliamp-hour battery, and what we used to test). There are two ports to connect to, one with a 1-amp rating, and one with a 2.4-amp rating. Using the port with the 1-amp rating, it took 2hr 15min to charge our GS5 (starting from the moment our phone gave us a low battery warning at approximately 15 per cent). Using the port with the 2.4-amp rating, the charge time was about 1hr 30min -- about the same time it takes using the phone’s supplied wall charger. Use the port with the higher amp rating to also charge a tablet.
The USB ports are located under a cap that keeps them protected from the elements, and the supplied USB cable is also equipped with caps on each end. There are two buttons on the body of the battery that can be used to toggle Bluetooth pairing, and to start and stop charging. You need to press the power button for a few seconds to start a charge after your phone has been connected, and then you need to press it again for a few seconds to stop a charge. The documentation says that you can just unplug a device to stop the charge, but the charge light stayed illuminated on our battery until we pressed the power button.
As mentioned, you can use the smartphone app to see how much charge is left in the battery pack, or you can press the power button once and a series of lights will illuminate (though this seemed to work only while a phone was being charged). There are five lights, so each light represents 20 per cent of the charge. You don’t get a charger with the battery, so you will have to use the one that came with your phone to charge it, and it can take up to five hours.
If you want a battery that gives you one more charge per outing, check out the TP-Link 10400mAh Power Bank that we reviewed earlier in the year. That one is not rugged like the Braven, though.
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