Smartphones and tablet devices have been dominating our lives for a long time now. Today, a large portion of everyday life — both personal and professional — has become dependent on the cloud. More often than not, our primary device to communicate with our content on the cloud including our digital lifestyle is our smartphone.
What once was a luxury has now become a necessity. So much that today smartphones and tablet devices have the power to replace computers to some extent, although they won’t be able to do so anytime soon. But they pack the power — more than we need — under the hood.
All those extra facilities, gigabytes of RAM and storage, gigahertz of CPU clock speed, high quality camera sensors and bright displays come with one common cost: No, we’re not talking about the price, we’re talking about the battery.
Almost every smartphone owner these days have been victim to Android battery dying every now and then. No matter how hard you try, the battery just can’t satisfy your needs. Only except a handful of top-end Android phones, all of the other devices manage to include advanced technologies but not enough battery capacity to keep those rolling for a long time.
That’s when power banks step in. These little devices can hold powers for you so that you can charge up your device anytime on the go. Today we’re going to take a look at one of the most popular power banks from a renowned Chinese manufacturer company, Xiaomi.
(This review is also published in Bangla on Android Kothon)
Xiaomi Mi Power Bank
Let us start off my talking about what a power bank is and how it works, just in case you aren’t familiar with one. A power bank is a portable device that holds power which you can later use to charge up your smartphone and tablets. It’s as simple as that. You first plug it in to your computer’s USB port or a wall charger to charge the power bank up, and then you connect it to your phone or tablet whenever they need charging.
The first question about a power bank is usually the capacity of mAh it can hold. In this case, the Xiaomi Mi Power Bank comes in a number of capacities. We’re going to be talking about the one that has a capacity of 10400 mAh. Now how does that translate to how many times you can charge up your device?
It’s a simple math. If your phone’s battery capacity is 2100 mAh, then you can fully charge your phone from fully drained state for 5 times! Keep in mind that most of us don’t connect phones to a charger when it’s down to zero; we start charging before it runs dry. So in essence, you might be able to charge up your phone more than 5 times.
Needless to say, this varies depending on the capacity of your smartphone or tablet’s battery. You can find battery capacity (in mAh) in the device’s specification on the box, on the web, or on the battery itself.
Packaging and Content
Here’s a little bit of information you might not know about Xiaomi. This brand is well-known for copying the design philosophy from Apple. The striking similarity between iPhone and its flagship Mi series only makes it clearer where it gets its inspiration. Even the user interface of its Android phones is similar to that of iOS, where you don’t have a homescreen as all of your app shortcuts are spread across all screens.
The touch of elegance that Xiaomi has become famous for begins to show up at the very first time you attempt to take it out of the box. It’s easy to take it out, as a little bit of paper sticks out letting you pull the device out of the box conveniently. The packaging is super simple with nothing but the Mi logo and website address.
The contents of the package include the power bank, a USB to microUSB cable, and a Chinese manual which will have no use to you unless you know the language or you have a friend who can help you out. You won’t need that manual anyway; we’re walking you through this device so you know exactly how this works.
One thing you’ll immediately think after taking the contents out of the box is that the supplied USB to microUSB cable is too short. It was probably meant to fit in that small and sleek box. The power bank is also available in a number of colors. But liek we said, if you get yourself the silver colored power bank, you’ll know where Xiaomi draws its inspiration from.
As you can see in the photo above, the corners of the power bank are rounded; so it feels good in hand. The body is solid and rugged, though we wouldn’t want to drop it on the concrete floor to test its ruggedness. And the fact that in this winter the device’s external material (body) becomes seriously cold is probably not a point that deserves a negative response either. After all, how long is winter in this part of the world anyway?
Just like the packaging, the Xiaomi Mi Power Bank itself features a simple and elegant design, with nothing but the Mi logo and its web address on both side of the device. Again, when looked from a distance, anyone can easily mistake Xiaomi Mi power bank for an Apple device. Just look at the photo above!
On the upper side of the device are two ports, a power button, and another feature borrowed from MacBook Pro. In some models of MacBook Pro, there’s a button on the side of the laptop which you can press to see how much charge is left in the laptop’s battery without having to boot the computer up. The Xiaomi Mi Power Bank has a similar feature. What’s wrong with just a power bank having a similar feature of a $1000+ computer?
So, anytime you’re out, you can just press that power button and the lights will indicate how much power is left in the bank.
When you charge the device with a connection to a computer or a wall charger, the light stay on and one keeps blinking, giving you a clear idea of how much charge it currently has and how long it may take to fully charge up. For our review purpose, we had a hard time charging this device up to full because its capacity is so much!
Similarly, when you connect your mobile to this power bank, the lights turn on indicating how much charge is left in the bank and the number of lights turned on keeps decreasing as the power is transferred to the device you’ve connected it to.
In a nutshell, it’s super easy to understand what’s happening on your Xiaomi Mi Power Bank and how long it may take to fully charge or be completely discharged.
In addition to that nifty lighting indicator feature, Xiaomi Mi Power Bank also has two ports. One is a microUSB port and another one is a full sized USB port. The supplied USB cable is a USB to microUSB cable.
It’s pretty clever when you think of how this works. When you want to charge the bank from your computer, simply plug one end of the cable to your computer’s USB port and another end to the microUSB port of the bank.
But when charging your phone from the power bank, do the reverse. Connect the microUSB end of the cable to the phone and USB end of the cable to the power bank. Your phone starts charging immediately.
The only thing that we were disappointed with the contents of this device is the short USB cable. You can, however, charge the power bank using your wall charger.
It’s also worth mentioning that only smartphones and tablets that have a microUSB charging port can be powered using this power bank. If your phone has a different charging port, like a miniUSB, you might need to purchase additional converter cables to get this power bank to work with your device.
Xiaomi has already proven to be a company that can make brilliant devices while maintaining a touch of simplicity and elegance in its device. The cheap Xiaomi Mi Power Bank is no different. From the moment you hold it in your hand, you realize it was your money well-spent. You may have to be frustrated a couple of times when you charge the power bank for the first time though, because it’s 10400 mAh and it takes almost forever to charge that up!
You can find pricing information of this device on Mi’s official website. If you’re in Bangladesh, you can contact Gadget Gang 7 that sells the 10400 mAh model for BDT 2,700.
It goes without saying how useful power banks can be in today’s age of smartphones and tablets. It can save many precious moments by not letting your phone die because its battery capacity is low. You can be anywhere you want and you can still be charging your phone for many times using the Xiaomi Mi Power Bank. While the market is definitely saturated with many power banks from many manufacturers, we highly recommend this device if you’re in the market for a power bank.
Have you ever felt the need of a power bank for your smartphone and tablet?