In today’s race to make smartphones as slim and powerful as possible, it stands as being incredibly ironic that the oft-sighted power bank continues to be incredibly bulky and heavy. Fortunately, Chinese company Xiaomi has manufactured a power bank that specifically addresses this issue. With a capacity of 5000mAh, the power bank comes in at just 9mm thick, making it one of the slimmest in its class. As our dependency on smart devices increases, a lean and portable battery bank that can sate even the most demanding of smartphones is certainly a welcome accessory.
The Xiaomi 5000mAh power bank was purchased for the purposes of this review. I am neither a paid affiliate nor an employee of Xiaomi. In addition, I do reserve the rights to the media used in the review, so do contact me if you wish to reproduce any part of the writing or photography seen here. Apart from that, hope that y’all enjoy the review.
BUILD AND DESIGN
Xiaomi took a cue from Apple and decided on a aluminium housing –one that they proudly claim is able to sustain a sustained pressure from a 50kg load. Unfortunately, no bend test has been performed on the power bank, but the chassis certainly feels very sturdy and exudes quality. The metal casing gives it a hefty but premium feel that easily outclasses its plastic competitors. To give an idea of just how heavy it is, the iPhone 6 weighs 129g while the Xiaomi weighs 156g. An on/off button, four LED lights, a micro-B input port and a 2.1A USB output port (in order from left to right) are located at the top of the device. Its rounded edges are also smooth and comfortable to hold.
This power bank uses a lithium-ion polymer battery, which is the same type of battery used in smartphones and tablets. Most power banks tend to use regular lithium-ion batteries that resemble typical double A batteries. Polymer batteries on the other hand are more expensive to manufacture, but can be made to be significantly thinner. At 9mm thick, 69mm wide and 125mm long, the Xiaomi power bank is only slightly thicker than most modern smartphones and easily slips into most pockets.
As with many other power banks, it is impossible to achieve 100% conversion rate on the 5000 mAh capacity. The actual output, depending on the circuitry, is usually among 60-70%. Xiaomi is very direct in their approach and states clearly on their website that the actual output is at least 3300mAh. This puts their minimum conversion rate at a respectable 66% up to a stunning maximum of 93%. The disparity is likely attributed to the cable used and the charging circuitry of individual devices.
The website touts a 1.8 times full recharge of the iPhone 6 but I was only able to test this on the newer iPhone 6s, which has a 1715mAh battery instead 1815mAh. It is important to note that the power bank stops charging the iPhone when it is full. It does this by detecting the amount of charge being drawn. The Xiaomi was able to charge my iPhone 6s from 5% till full(when it automatically stops charging) and again from 5% to 93% before running out of juice. During this test period, the phone was connected to the Wi-Fi, had several applications opened too. All in all the output does not stray far from the company’s claim.
The iPhone 6s in today’s standards is something of a small device when compared to the increasingly popular phablets such as the 6/6s plus, LG G5, Nexus 6p. These larger devices often come with a battery capacity that outright dwarfs that of the 6s, notably the Nexus 6p, which has a behemoth capacity coming in at 3450mAh. This may be something that might have to be considered when choosing the next power bank for your device.
The USB output port is rated at 2.1A, and no Qualcomm Fast Charging supported. Devices supporting fast charge will not charge as optimally with the Xiaomi as with official fast chargers but they will still benefit from the high amperage output of 2.1A. All iPhones charge at 1A with the stock chargers but can charge around 1-1.2A with iPad chargers, a result that can be easily achieved with the Xiaomi 5000mAh power bank. Do keep it mind that charging speed decreases as batteries near full capacity.
As a final note, the Xiaomi is far from being considered a large capacity power bank –especially with 10,000mAh or even 20,000mAh banks surfacing on the market. This means that it will be recharged more frequently. A battery’s ability to store charge decreases every charging cycle and hence, the Xiaomi 5000mAh power bank will unfortunately degrade faster than one with a larger capacity. That being said, Xiaomi uses high quality batteries manufactured by reputable companies, so you should not notice a significant decrease unless after substantial usage.
Xiaomi has managed to create a power bank that not only provides adequate amount of charge, but also adds minimal bulk and weight. It can be found on Amazon for around $21 making it a steal if you find yourself needing a decent sized power bank with an excellent design and form factor.