ADATA PV100 Power Bank Overview
The ADATA PV100 Power Bank comes packaged in a slim retail container that has an inner plastic clamshell surrounded with a decorative paper sleeve. The packaging emphasizes the slimness of the product itself, and the exposed part of the clamshell lets you see the actual product inside. I got the black model, but if you’re really into color matching it’s handy to be able to see the exact shade of green and pink that the pretty ones have on their faceplate. All the main product details you need to know are right there on the front of the retail package, which will make the selection process easier if you are buying it in a brick & mortar store.
The back of the box has all the specifications, some important marketing information, the dozen or so certificates of compliance, and a QR code that can be used to initiate the web-based registration process and download some free software once you finish registering your product. I didn’t see any software on the ADATA site that was specific to power sources, though. Mostly it was applications that would complement their SSD offerings.
Looking inside the package, it won’t take long to notice that there is no AC wall charger included in the box. The slim profile of the box may have been a strong clue, as most AC wall chargers are a lot thicker than the 8mm dimension of the PV100 Power Bank. I was still a little surprised at the lack of a charger module, when I pulled the clamshell out of the sleeve. Luckily, I probably have half a dozen 5V USB wall chargers around the house, and more than a dozen available USB ports on the various computers that are in regular use. So, there was no shortage of places to plug the PV100 in, and top up the charge inside. What I would really like to see included is an ultra-slim AC charger that’s as easy to carry as the battery pack is. That would be a very complimentary addition, IMHO.
The front panel of the ADATA PV100 is a one-piece affair, painted or powder-coated in one of four colors to a full gloss finish. The review unit was black, but pink, green, and silver are available. As with all things black and shiny, I had a hard time keeping fingerprints and smudges from messing up the appearance. But, since I don’t have to stare at it, like a display screen, I learned to ignore it after a while. See, OCD can be treated…. Towards the top of the front panel are an On/Off button and four LEDs that indicate the charge level in the battery. The pushbutton can be used to check the battery level when the unit is not connected to either a power source or sink. You do have to hold it down for about a ½ second though, instantaneous taps won’t do anything.
The rear panel is the one with all the product info, including serial number and manufacturing date on a white sticker. I’m pretty sure the Mfg. Date is a legal requirement for some country where the PV100 is sold. Li-polymer batteries have a very long shelf life, so there’s no reason an ordinary consumer would need this information. You can see from this view that the majority of the outer shell is formed from a single piece of aluminum, with gently rounded corners. The finish is a matte texture that makes it easy to hold, without slipping. The whole assembly is very solid, with no flexing or rattling inside. The Li-Polymer batteries are very light, so it doesn’t feel like a brick, but it does seem well put together. Three weeks of daily usage has not changed that perception.
Along the top edge of the ADAT PV100 are the two USB ports; one for charging the PV100 and one for charging other devices. The input port is a Micro-USB, just like the port on millions of smart phones and other mobile devices. It was standardized by several industry organizations, including the influential International Telecommunication Union (ITU), who calls it the “Universal Charging Solution”. Heck, I think even Apple has seen the light…. Current input is limited to 1A, so charging the PV100 may take longer than discharging it. The output port is the old Standard-A USB receptacle we all know and love. Max output current is limited to 2.1A, which is a nod to the iPad charging requirements. The same USB charging cable can be used for charging the PV100 and using the PV100 to charge other devices, just flip the orientation.
The ADATA PV100 Power Bank is a fairly simple product, at least on the outside. Let’s take a look at how it’s used and compare it to a number of portable USB charging solutions that I have on hand.