A tiny battery with a ton of capacity and one or two very noticeable but minor drawbacks
UGREEN isn't among the top companies that might leap to the forefront in anybody's mind when it comes to mobile accessories. There's a good chance that one of its most recently released products, billed as the UGREEN “Portable Charger 10,000mAh Power Bank," is proof that this company should be.
This little gadget isn't just another off-the-shelf typical portable power supply. What it is, is an achievement in the arena of scaling bulk back and leading trends in the advancements of portable power because even with modern smartphones' improved battery efficiency and capacity, it's a royal pain to deal with a dying device. There's also nothing worse than digging through a travel bag for or carrying around a massive charging brick.
If those two seemingly contradictory circumstances are to be avoided, an accessory that is both small and performance-ready is in order and that's the category UGREEN's new portable charger fits into.
That's not at all to say it's a perfect accessory and there are one or two caveats that will be explored as we take a deeper dive into this product.
In terms of what exactly this does, if that's not obvious already, the UGREEN Portable Charger 10,000mAh Power Bank is exactly what its name implies. It's a battery with plugs that lets you charge up your devices on the go without having to find a wall socket. That doesn’t mean it’s just like every other power bank on the market.
Stepping right past build quality and other design aesthetics, the most noticeable way that’s true is in its size. Using the word “mini” to describe this power bank would be an understatement. Placed in my hand with an open palm, there was only very minimal overhang.
In fact, I managed to squeeze in a pocket on a relatively tight pair of jeans that I frequently wear with ease -- though it won’t necessarily fit in every pocket for obvious reasons. It didn't just kind of fit either. Only a small portion of the accessory was left out of the pocket, meaning that there wasn't any risk of it falling out.
While not every edge of the rectangular power bank in question is smooth and rounded off, none of those are sharp. That made the device even more enjoyable to use since putting it in my pocket didn't dig into my legs enough to be bothersome or uncomfortable.
The bulk one could reasonably expect from a power bank being squished down isn't there in terms of thickness either. UGREEN's latest power bank isn't a brick. The entire design is just slightly thicker than my thumb -- and listed at under an inch at the company's website.
Summarily, in terms of portability, I’d have to trade off a substantial amount of capacity if I wanted a power bank I could fit in my pockets. That's just not the case with this power bank, in spite of its capacity. Compared to others in its price range and even those that are much more expensive, this charger is positively puny -- as little as half the size depending on the device it's being compared to.
My test unit was a matte black color and that seems to be the only color available on Amazon. A bit of searching elsewhere online revealed that it can be purchased in a stark white or matte pink coloration too, for those who want a bit more personality.
With regard to the build, as would be expected with a $20 price tag, a lot of plastics and rubbery materials are in use with this gadget. Those aren't the typical hard-plastics though. UGREEN uses soft-touch plastics everywhere with this power bank with the exception of the narrow face where all of the plugs are.
A rubber strap on one corner is barely wide enough to put two fingers through but is still useful for carrying the device around without dropping it. The "MORE FOR YOU" UGREEN tagline is emblazoned on the strap, fittingly aligned with just how much capacity the comparatively tiny gadget brings to the table.
There was never much chance I'd drop the power bank though since the soft-touch plastic is much more grippy than standard plastics. Simultaneously, while the hard shiny plastics used at the face of the charger do build up dust and particulates easily, the rest of the device is easy to keep clean and looking great thanks to the materials in use here.
The plugs themselves are very snug with nearly no wiggle at all and the labeling on each is useful since they each charge at a different rate. The single flush-mounted button, used for gathering a quick assessment of just how much charge is remaining inside from the LED indicators, feels well-made too.
The LEDs work predictably, showing four lights for a full charge down to 75-percent, and stepping down that range by a further 25-percent with each indicator light turned off. They're more than bright enough to see in full and direct sunlight.
The charging rate on the plugs should be suitable for just about any smartphone or similar device that's currently on the market. Looking at the plugs head-on, one is labeled for a maximum of 5V/1A output while the other is rated at 5V/2.1A.
Those can be used at the same time.
Despite its large capacity, however, that's not going to charge most high-end tablets and it certainly won't work with laptops but it will charge up just about anything else without issue.
Two sockets at the center are used to charge the gadget up, either via micro USB or USB-C plug. That's helpful since it means that as long as users are charging this at a reasonable rate via an adapter or output port rated at 5V/2.1A, effectively any cable can be used instead of just the short cable that comes with the power bank.
Realistically -- and unfortunately since everything else seems to go above and beyond what I expected when I opened the box -- that's also the one area where the new UGREEN 10,000mAH power bank fell short of what I was hoping for.
While the charging rates provided by this device are acceptable and it did fill up a 3,000mAh battery just over two times, they simply aren't going to work for fast charging with most modern flagships. That's only going to become more of an issue as devices continue to get bigger batteries with faster charging.
Make no mistake, those devices will charge up and they'll even charge up while in use at a reasonable clip. But they won't be charging up at the rate users could reasonably expect from a home plug and fast charging adapter by any stretch of the imagination. That's particularly true if a flagship is what needs to be charged, so nobody should expect their "fast charging" indicator to kick on when they're plugged into this device.
That is probably not going to be a problem for the overwhelming majority of users who might just be looking for a way to keep their device running or get a burst of extra time during the day. As noted already, this does charge at a reasonable click. I prefer to fill up my devices' batteries completely wherever possible each time a charge-up is needed.
The power bank itself doesn't charge up quickly either at the rate it's designed for. In my test of the device, using a properly rated adapter, the UGREEN Portable Charger 10,000mAh Power Bank refilled in just under 5 hours. That isn't at all a bad rate for a device in its price range and isn't entirely laudable either.
In short, the actual amount of time to charge with this accessory, throughout my test for both the device and the gadget it was providing power to, was about average for a device in its category.
Taken in conjunction, the build quality, aesthetic stylings, capacity, and the convenience of UGREEN's latest portable charger make it an all-around great gadget. Whether it's worth the money will ultimately be a matter of subjectivity since there are only a few aspects that make it stand out amongst the crowded ocean of other devices.
Bearing that in mind, those things that do set it apart are huge, starting with the above-mentioned price. At its cost, the new UGREEN Portable Charger 10,000mAh Power Bank going to be difficult to find a battery pack that features this much attention to detail in terms of styling and in-hand quality.
Taking both size and capacity into consideration, that's a search that becomes almost futile and that's without bothering to account for the fact that it's so small and still charges up to two devices at once. All without the hassle of having to buy two cheap tube-style power banks or worry about how solid the build is.
For charging things up without being weighed down and for under $20 on average, you really just can't go wrong with the UGREEN Portable Charger 10,000mAh Power Bank.
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