The Power Bank Buying Guide

anker e4 3

Looking to purchase your first power bank and don't want to buy a dud? Read TechGarage's Power Bank Buying Guide, carefully compiled and written for your power bank needs based on our experience of selling a number of power banks and the feedback we received from customers who switched over.

1) Power Bank Buying Guide : Introduction

If you have experienced your power bank running out of battery in the middle of the day, and found that you need a power bank but can't seem to understand the numerous options and brands in Malaysia, you have come to the right place.

Like you, we have been confused and then frustrated as we bought some duds that just stopped working after awhile. And when we returned to the mall, the shop was gone for good. It was a fly-by-night business selling numerous fake and low grade power banks. A simple walkthrough Lowyat, Digital Mall and even the shop near your house shows you that the trend still exists.

The problem with buying a power bank nowadays, is the question on whether they actually perform. Or whether they become duds after awhile. We had customers who told us that they've went through 5-6 power banks before finding us. And the rest they say, is history. They suddenly didn't need to buy a new power bank every few months.

With much horror stories, purchasing power banks in Malaysia can be a sink or swim situation. That is why we started this buying guide for power banks.

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Don't purchase a dud and find yourself without power when you really need it. Get an assurance of mind with quality power banks, today.

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1.1) Power Bank Guide : Not All Shops Are Honest

If you've noticed, highly rated power banks from reputable international tech blogs are not available in Malaysia. This is especially true if you live out of Klang Valley. In our travels to many towns, we found mostly unknown China brands sold at a premium price.

But do these unknown brands actually perform? Or are they just expensive duds sold at a high margin? Read on if you would like to find out.

1.2) Power Bank Guide : Research The Brand

Anyone can launch an OEM brand of power banks. The question would be on ensuring reliability. That's why it is important to look through reviews and comments before purchasing a power bank as you might be purchasing a dud.

It is well known that unscrupulous brands  inflate the capacity of the power bank. And even worse when the shop knows but yet plays a role in selling these power banks to the public. We've included some examples below on the "capacity" section

yoobao fake 14

Why do some shops keep selling imitation cases, fake power banks and the likes? Here's why

  • Most consumers won't know - Most of us purchase our accessories out of a need. At times we're desperate and drive to the nearest shop near our house/office and purchase whatever looks good that the salesperson recommends to us
  • Lack of a better choice - If you are based in some small town (e.g.: Alor Setar), there aren't many iPhone accessories shops around. As such, based on the lack of competition, retailers would push you something that you might not have bought online or in some reputable shop
  •  Much better margins - Even from our days in the camera industry, camera shops have done things like selling imitation goods, switching you to a much higher margin product and so on. While shops exist to make a margin, even we at TechGarage are appalled by the way certain shops go about their business
  • High overhead - The cost of running a shop isn't cheap nowadays. With retail leases on the rise every two years, high overheads ends up pressurising shops to keep increasing their margins

2) Power Bank Buying Guide - Things To Look For

A) Capacity

When purchasing your power bank, it is crucial that you don't purchase one below the capacity of your phone as you would not be able to even charge your phone for a cycle. Thus, do check your phone's battery capacity before continuing. Here's the battery capacity if you are using an iPhone. We've thrown in the battery capacity for the Samsung Galaxy S6 as well, if you would like to make a comparison.

  • iPhone 5s - 1560 mAh
  • iPhone 6 - 1810 mAh
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 - 2550 mAh
  • iPhone 6 Plus - 2915 mAh

Now that you know your battery capacity, it is crucial to ensure that your power bank's battery capacity is larger than the size of your smart phone's battery. Otherwise you would not be able to get even a single charge on your phone.

For most power banks, the efficiency rate of the power bank is about 50 to 60% of the stated capacity. This is due to conversion of the charge from the battery to your phone and loss of power from the power cable. On more advanced power banks like the Anker, efficiency rate is as much as 70 to 80% of the stated charge, depending on the model.

As such, if you would like to have a power bank that is able to fully charge your smartphone 3 times (from empty), you would need to do the following calculations

(Smart Phone Capacity)*(Number of charges) = Power Bank Capacity *(Efficiency)

Thus, if you have an iPhone 6 Plus and would like to still fully charge it 3 times, the minimum size of the power bank must be 10932 mAh and above. A safe figure would be a 12,000 mAh power bank like the 2nd Gen Anker Astro3. Or for some other power banks with a lower efficiency of 60%, a 15,000 mAh power bank would be needed.

Try applying the figures we've taught you. For your information, The Samsung Galaxy Mega's battery is 3200mAh. Shouldn't the power bank size be about 20k mAh?
Try applying the figures we've taught you. For your information, The Samsung Galaxy Mega's battery is 3200mAh. Shouldn't the power bank size be about 20k mAh?
Here's a different dealer with the same power bank. Note that the iPhone 4s' battery is only 1432 mAh
Here's a different dealer with the same power bank. Note that the iPhone 4s' battery is only 1432 mAh

You have to understand however, that there are two caveats to calculating the power bank capacity

1) Charge Cycles - If you have used your power bank for awhile, the capacity of the power bank reduces with each subsequent use. Most power banks like Anker and Yoobao comes with an approximate 500 charge cycles.

If you have used your power bank for awhile, the capacity would have reduced by the number of cycles it is used, even though it is a partial charge.

2) Charging Type - Most people make the mistake of calculating the number of times the power bank charges their smart phones / iPhone by charging their smartphones middle of the way or by leaving the smartphone on while charging. The problem is that it is harder to charge the smartphone near maximum charge as the power bank would spend more power to charge your phone when it reaches 80 to 90% battery charge.

momax milk+
power IQ

B) Current (in Amperes)

i) Output Current (in Amperes)

The ampere rating for the output port for the power bank is crucial in order to ensure that your device is charged well. In lower end power banks, the output port would typically be 1A, while higher end ones have 2A.

Advanced power banks now have the ability to detect and adjust the amperes depending on the device. As such, these power banks are better in the long run as

  1. They ensure your devices get charged fast
  2. They don't push a larger current than whatever your smartphone/tablet/iPhone/iPad could take

One good reason why Anker comes so highly recommended by us, is because of their proprietary PowerIQ technology. Unlike other power banks and wall chargers that hard wires a charging protocol, the PowerIQ technology intelligently charges your devices.

power IQ 2

 ii) Input Current (in Amperes)

Just as the output current is important, the input current is crucial to your power bank charging times. With low input current, your large power bank would take a 8 to 10 hours to be fully charged. However, at times you might have a power bank with a 2A input current, but your wall charger might only be able to output 1A.

In such cases, it is wise to upgrade to a better wall charger, as you never know when you would need a fully charged power bank.

C) Size

If you are planning to travel light, you might need to compromise on the capacity of the power bank. However, with products like the Anker Astro Slim3  (6,000 mAh) or the Momax Chocolatier (7000 mAh), you have the perfect combination of an size and capacity. The Momax Chocolatier doubles up as a fun item as well.

momax chocolatier

D) Number of USB Ports

The number of USB ports that your power bank has, and the output current influences how useful the power bank is to you. For some of us, having a number of USB ports helps as we have multiple devices that might need charging. A good example would be the Anker Astro3, which comes with three intelligent ports instead of the usual two found in

E) Warranty

In considering on the issue of warranty, it is wise to find out from the store owner about

  1. Who fulfils the warranty for the power bank - Many times you'll find that the power bank you have purchased isn't covered by the distributor as it is an import set.
  2. Warranty Period - While certain brands offer you a 3 to 6 months warranty period, with Anker power banks you get an industry leading 18 months of warranty. Our other power banks comes with 12 months warranty unless stated otherwise.

3) Power Bank Buying Guide - Issues With Cheap Power Banks

Though purchasing a power bank might seem to be a straightforward affair, whereby we just need to drop by our regular phone accessories/computer store, the truth of the matter more complicated than that. Though a survey of the market shows that the price of power banks in Malaysia ranges from RM 35 onwards, there is always a trade off when you purchase a cheap power bank.

As we've said earlier, while cheap power banks are large money earners for retailers, quality components and features in branded power banks cannot be substituted when you move down the price scale. Our biggest concern about cheap power banks is that they damage your phone or cause an explosion/fire due to faulty components.

Power Bank Buying Guide : Conclusion

When you purchase a power bank, you are not only purchasing a tool to charge your iPhone / smartphone, but something you might potentially need in times of emergency. It is important to invest in a quality power bank that does the job for you.

After all, if you plan to keep the power bank for two years with daily usage and the occasional emergency call/email/browsing , the cost of an average power bank would only be as below

RM 160/720 days = 2.2 sen/day

With such reasonable figures, unless you are on a tight budget we recommend that you consider getting a quality power bank that would give you the peace of mind.

Ready for the best power banks?

Don't purchase a dud and find yourself without power when you really need it. Get an assurance of mind with quality power banks, today.

Get Charged Today