ADATA PV100 Power Bank Final Thoughts
The term “Battery Life” is usually a reference to how much charge the battery contains and how long it will power a particular device. It’s hard to know when the phrase “dead battery” came into common usage, or whether it was originally used to describe rechargeable batteries or disposable ones. A rechargeable battery is really dead when it won’t hold a charge at some nominal percentage of its full factory voltage. Depending on who you ask, that nominal value is somewhere between 60% and 80%. A typical 1.5V AA Alkaline battery is pretty much done for when it gets down to 1.2V. It’s actually not the voltage that matters; it’s just that the battery can’t deliver much current when its charge is depleted, but voltage is the easiest thing to measure. For instance, rechargeable AA batteries start out at 1.2V, yet they can deliver a lot of current at that voltage. Enough maths for now, what I really wanted to mention is the other aspect of battery life.
One other factor to consider is the overall service life of the battery. Modern lithium ion polymer batteries have a lifecycle that is defined by how many times the battery can be charged, before its capacity starts dropping. With a larger battery, you don’t have to charge it as often, and the service life will be longer. There are a variety of standards and varying levels of performance that can be achieved, but a rough rule of thumb is that when a LIPO battery is charged ~500 times, its loses ~20% of its original capacity. Some battery-charger systems do better than that, but with the rate of progress in technology, and two-year service provider contracts being the norm, isn’t it convenient that the built-in battery starts dying off just when it’s most advantageous to update your hardware?
The previous paragraph presents a good argument for buying portable devices with the largest reasonable and practical battery inside. Very few modern mobile electronic products have batteries that can be easily replaced by the consumer, so once it’s worn out it usually means that it’s time to replace the device. How does having an external battery pack available make a difference in this situation? It’s because human behavior is often driven by the desire to reduce risk. So, “just in case” you might be away from home longer than you planned for, you top up the charge on the cell phone, even though it’s at 60% and nine times out of ten it will usually last the rest of the day and night. If you have a spare power source with you, you can skip the top up charge and be confident that you won’t be stuck somewhere with a dead phone. This reduces the number of times that you charge the battery, and it ends up prolonging the service life of the device. At least that was my argument when a family member bought her most recent phone, a Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX HD. Its 3300mAh of battery capacity dares you to try and use up the battery in a single day. I’ve never seen it happen in a year’s worth of almost constant use.
ADATA PV100 Power Bank Conclusion
Performance of the ADATA PV100 Power Bank is just what you would expect, or hope to expect. It’s a simple device, and it does everything it’s supposed to do, the way it’s supposed to do it. You don’t want any surprises in your backup power system, and the PV100 always delivered reliable, consistent performance. It charged up as quickly as the 1A limit on the input allowed
I like the appearance of the PV100 best, out of all my battery packs. It has a simple elegance that has somehow eluded most of the competition. The thin profile helps give it a very modern look that I appreciate. The four color choices seem spot on for the current fashion trends, which are always a moving target. The two tone design also emphasizes the slimness, which is real – not imagined. The only marks I can deduct from the appearance category are for the front panel. Like all shiny, dark objects it shows fingerprints and smears in horrifying detail, just like your phone does. It also shows small scratches from normal wear and tear, just like we all used to see on our smart phone screens before the widespread adoption of Gorilla Glass.
I’m more likely to treat a portable battery pack roughly than I am my phone, or other expensive portable electronic device. I’m not kidding when I say, “I generally just throw it in my bag.” I’m not going to intentionally beat on it or drop it on the ground, but human nature says I’m not going to treat a $30 device the same as a $300 one. I’m happy to report that the ADATA PV100 Power Bank suffered no ill effects after several weeks of constantly following me wherever I go. Pockets, purses, backpacks, glove boxes, and my trusty messenger bag were all fair game for travel. All the seams are still solid, there are no dents or gouges in the surface, it doesn’t rattle if you drop it onto the desk, and all the lettering is still intact. The only wear that I’ve seen is some fine scratch marks on the glossy front surface, probably caused by me wiping it on an assortment of surfaces to remove fingerprints and smudges. Unlike my phone, tablet, etc. I wasn’t particular about the materials I used to clean it.
Functionally, the PV100 Power Bank ticks most of the required boxes. It fits a decent amount of energy into a small, light, attractive container and it has all the required inputs and outputs, and controls to make it work. The only two shortfalls I see are the single charging port, where many competitors have two, and the very short charging cable that was include in the package. This cable is optimized for portability however, so it’s more of a tradeoff than a deficiency. You can probably say the same about the single charging output port, too. The PV100 slides easily into almost any pocket and doesn’t weigh you down, so it’s a perfect design for daily use. I’ve got bigger battery packs that I’ll still use when I need more power, but the PV100 is what I carry every day.
The ADATA PV100 Power Bank is currently listed for $34.98 at Amazon, which is close to a median price for similar devices. There are over 5000 products in this broad category, so you’re spoiled for choice. For me, anytime the word “backup” is part of the functional description for an item, I automatically eliminate the low-cost, no-name products on principle. Then I start researching the rest of the field. From a value standpoint, the PV100 belongs on the second list and I suspect that further research will illuminate its strong points as more people have a chance to put it into use and share their experience on Web 2.0.
There’s a saying from another interest group that goes something like this: “The best xyz is the one you have with you, when you need it.” In other words, features, performance, looks, brand appeal, capacity, etc. – none of it matters if something about the product discourages you from carrying it with you at all times. The ADATA PV100 Power Bank is designed and built to maximize the possibility that I will have backup power with me, when I need it. Sometimes, there’s a very fine line between convenient and not convenient, big enough to be useful v. why bother, and glad I had it with me v. I can’t believe I left it at home. For me, the PV100 Power Bank sits firmly on the correct side of that line.
+ Works exactly like it should
+ Just the right size, shape, and weight to carry all the time
+ Attractive design with four color choices
+ Solid Construction
+ In-line charging of battery pack and device w/ one USB port
- Very short cable (Small & portable, though…)
– No AC Adapter included
– Glossy finish is fingerprint magnet