Having your smartphone’s battery die on you can be a fate worse than death. Imagine having to endure a packed MRT ride with nothing to distract you from the armpits in your face or stick it out in an hour-long queue at the prawn mee stall during lunchtime without being able to complain on WhatsApp.
If you find yourself perpetually texting your friends “sorry low batt”, it might be time to get yourself a portable power bank, which is basically portable charger for your smartphone.
As comparison shopping for power banks isn’t exactly the most fun thing you could spend our weekend doing, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best ones we could find on the market.
Best power bank with huge capacity: Yoobao Magic Box Power Bank YB655 Pro
Capacity: 13,000 mAh
Number of smartphone charges: 6.4 full charges on iPhone
Time required to charge power bank: 12 hours
Dimensions: 7.2 x 11.8 x 2.36 cm
Weight: 294 g
The Yoobao Magic Box is the Big Mac of power banks—upsized, heavy and enough to keep you going for a few days.
If size and capacity are what you’re after, Yoobao offers a supersized 13,000 mAh, enough to charge your iPhone six times, which can be useful if your power bank is going to have to feed the phones of several people.
Weighing in at almost 300 g and with a mass that will dwarf your phone, the Magic Box is no dainty creature. However, if you want no nonsense capacity at a good price, $89 offers fairly good value.
Good all-rounder: Sanyo Eneloop Battery Mobile Booster
Capacity: 5,000 mAh
Time required to charge power bank: at least 4 times for iPhone
Number of smartphone charges: 14 hours by USB, 7 hours by AC
Dimensions: 70 x 62 x 22 mm
Weight: 130 g
Before Xiaomi came along, Sanyo’s Eneloop power bank was one of the best options, offering a fairly generous capacity and smaller and cooler than many other power banks with the same specs.
The one downside to this product is that charging the power bank takes a painfully long time.
Otherwise, this is one of the smaller, lighter and more attractive power banks in the 5,000 mAh range, making it a good all-rounder.
Best pint-sized power bank: Energizer XPAL Charger Power XP1000K
Capacity: 1,000 mAh
Number of smartphone charges: gives you up to 2 hours’ battery life for smartphones
Time required to charge power bank: 4 hours
Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.7 x 0.7 cm
Weight: 34 g
You might not be the sort of person who surfs Facebook on your smartphone all day at work and then needs to rely on a power bank to get them through the evening. So toting around an enormous power bank is a waste of bag space since you’ll hardly be using it.
Still, there are times when you need some emergency charging, such as when your phone goes dead just as your friends are trying to locate you in a crowd, or when you’re in the middle of texting your friend the 4D numbers to buy for you that night.
Enter the pint-sized Energizer XPAL, which is so tiny it would feel right at home with the credit cards in your wallet.
It’s not going to give you more than 2 hours on your smartphone, but then it’s so cute and small you can probably overlook that.
AND THE WINNER IS: Xiaomi Mi Power Bank
Capacity: 10,400 mAh
Number of smartphone charges: 4.5 full charges on iPhone 5S, 2.5 full charges on Xiaomi Mi3, 1.5 full charges on iPad Mini
Time required to charge power bank: 5.5 hours with 2A adaptor, 10 hours with 1A adaptor
Dimensions: 9.05 cm x 7.7 cm x 2.16 cm
Weight: 260 g
Not only is Xiaomi’s Mi Power Bank shockingly cheap at $13.99 for a hefty 10,400 mAh, it is also gorgeous. If you don’t fancy the iPod-like silver casing, you can choose from six other ridiculously attractive colours.
To put things in perspective, we couldn’t even find any other power banks at Courts for less than $20, let alone one with this capacity.
You have to admit nothing else on the market comes close to this. To top it all off, the Mi Power Banks have gotten great reviews virtually everywhere.
Life is just so unfair, for the other power banks that is.
Do you have a power bank or are you planning on getting one? Let us know in the comments!
Personal finance tips delivered to your inbox!
Receive news, subscriber-exclusive promotions and guides on how to become smarter with money.
We promise never to spam you!