Sunday, December 7, 2014

Review: Intocircuit 3000 mAh USB Power Bank

USB power banks are a great tool to have in this modern era where almost everyone on earth carries at least one device. And since most of those devices carried by most of those people are charged from a 5V USB port, that means having a couple of these USB power packs handy means always having power for your devices. I'm somewhat of an enthusiast of both the off-the-shelf and DIY versions of USB power packs, so I was happy to accept this Intocircuit 3000 mAh USB Power Bank, which Hisgadget sent me for review. I was impressed by the lantern and even though I've been slow on the reviews with my injury, I've been using this power bank for about a month steady now.

Intocircuit 3000 mAh USB Power Bank: Product Link
Intocircuit 3000 mAh USB Power Bank: Product Link


Product Description


This is a standard "lipstick" style USB power bank which can charge all manner of devices which use a USB port to charge, which is quite a lot of devices as I pointed out above. What sets this model apart is the built in flashlight and the aluminum housing. The manufacturer claims a 3000 mAh capacity on this model, which is enough to give most modern smart phones and small tablets a full charge.

Official Specs (From Amazon)


  • Stylish, cylindrical, aluminum design slips easily into any pocket or bag
  • Premium microchips ensure high quality
  • Smart LED display keeps you informed of remaining power
  • Built-in flashlight for low-light use
  • Package contents: Intocircuit Power Mini 3000mAh External Battery, Micro USB cable, travel pouch

Intocircuit 3000 mAh USB Power Bank: With Other USB Power Banks
Intocircuit 3000 mAh USB Power Bank: Unboxed

Intocircuit 3000 mAh USB Power Bank: Top View

Intocircuit 3000 mAh USB Power Bank: Charging OxyLed Q6 Lantern

Intocircuit 3000 mAh USB Power Bank: Charging Li-Ion Batteries With XTAR VC2 Charger
Using the power bank to charge a lithium-ion battery with my new XTAR VC2 charger!


Intocircuit 3000 mAh USB Power Bank: Front Of UnitIntocircuit 3000 mAh USB Power Bank: Rear Of Unit


Initial Impressions


Somewhere I missed that it was made of aluminum, so I was pleasantly surprised. I like aluminum enclosures, but they tend to scratch other equipment. I had a Ruinovo power pack destroy an expensive touch screen GPS and several pair of reading glasses before I put it into its own nylon carrying case. This one comes with a felt pouch, which I suggest using. 

The second thing that caught my eye was the flashlight. It's got a little 2mm LED of unknown origin (Nichia?) which I'm roughly guessing is 3-5 lumens, which is plenty for emergency use. It took me a few minutes to figure out that it was a double click to turn it on and off. 

Playing with the flashlight, I noticed the switch feels a little funny, like it's just a little bit too inset into the unit. There doesn't seem to anything wrong with it functionally--I just don't really like the feel.

Build Quality


The build quality on my unit is above average. The switch looks kind of cheap and doesn't have a great feel to it, but other than that, this unit really stands out among the low quality power packs I have, some that I paid about the same as this unit goes for. 

There's really not much I can find to criticize. The logo looks nice and crisp and so do the blue LEDs. The aluminum case does have sharp edges like my Ruinovo power pack, though it's not really a flaw with the build quality or finish. Still, I wish there were some way to make the corners on the unit a little smoother. 

USB Power Pack


This is a USB power pack in every sense of the word. You charge it via a USB micro port, and use it to charge other devices with a standard 5V USB port. The aluminum construction is a nice touch, though I would keep it in its pouch or some case when you take it on the road with you. 

Functionally this power pack behaves exactly as you would expect: plug into the micro USB port and you're charging the power pack. Plug into the full size USB port and you are charging your devices. Once you plug in a device to charge, press the button and you're good to go.

Charge Indicator Lights


This model has 3 blue LED charge indicator lights which function the same way for being charged, or charging other devices. It gives an animated display in 1/3 increments. It's functional, and really cool looking, but I wish it stay dark most of the time. I usually turn it down so the blue lights are facing down, so I don't have to see it, but it's not a huge deal either way.

Intocircuit 3000 mAh USB Power Bank: Charge Indicator Lights

Flashlight


This power pack has a built-in flashlight LED, which turns on and off via quick, double-click presses on the switch. The flashlight is superb. The blue charge LEDs briefly illuminate, but turn off after about 10 seconds. I wish they wouldn't turn on at all, but still, with only the flashlight LED illuminated, this would potentially be great for emergency kits, especially coupled with a solar charger. 

My guess is that you'd probably get at least 100 hours out of the flashlight, if not double that. The tint is very blueish, like most of the LEDs in this class.


Intocircuit 3000 mAh USB Power Bank: Animated Flashlight


3,000 mAh Capacity?


While I haven't done an official measurement, it seems like a reasonable claim given all the good reviews and my personal experience with them. About 9 out of 10 power banks aren't anywhere near their claimed capacities, leaving the poor consumer to find out the good ones, usually by just trial and error.

Since lots of name brand cells test over their rated capacity, it seems reasonable to guess that this probably has a good 2,400 mAh, which will probably test really close to the stated capacity. But who knows, it could have a 3,000 mAh Panasonic in it. This unit definitely stands out from the cheap ones in capacity.

Intocircuit 3000 mAh USB Power Bank: Charging Android Phone At Almost 1 Amp

Usability


I've been using this unit for about a month, and so far I really like it. The blue LEDs are a bit too bright for my liking, but it's no problem to put it face down on the table when I'm using it. I wish it had some triple-click sleep mode for the blue lights or something.

The great thing about these "lipsick" style power packs is that they easily fit in your pocket. They are useful around the house, but they are indispensable on the road. I like to carry a few power packs with me on trips, and I've been a week away from home without having to plug into an outlet. 

Conclusions


This is a fine power pack. Other than a couple annoyances like the switch and the sharp-ish corners on the aluminum housing, I'm impressed. It's well built and well designed, and doesn't try to slip you a cheap battery. I've tested 3,000 mAh power packs at 600 mAh, and I think consumers are starting to wake up to the fact that almost every power pack on the market is overstated to some degree. It's nice to see a vendor put decent cells into their products, and I think all the positive reviews reflect that. 

 Gallery

Intocircuit 3000 mAh USB Power Bank: Front Of Pouch

Intocircuit 3000 mAh USB Power Bank: Back Of Pouch


Intocircuit 3000 mAh USB Power Bank: On Scale

Intocircuit 3000 mAh USB Power Bank: Caliper Measurement




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