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LeGioN battery has arrived!

plx_logo_Bring_strong2A few months ago, I have read an article about LeGioN Meter, a USB
dongle that overrides the host recognition and thus allows USB devices
to drag the most power available. When visiting the Kickstarter page of
PLX devices, another gadget pulled my attention to it: LeGioN!

So what is LeGioN? It is more then you might expect. Today, we have hundreds of batteries around that keep your mobile gadgets alive when their battery ceases power. But most of them don’t keep what they promise.

When reading PLX’s page about LeGioN, a battery that comes with some nifty features built-in, I thought: Hey, give it a test ride. The guys and gals are doing a fine work and engineering. After ordering a LeGioN Meter via KickStarter, I also ordered an already funded project, namely LeGioN.

The LeGioN battery comes in two sizes: 5500 mAh and 11000 mAh. I ordered the bigger one. (Yes, bigger is better! *devilish grin*)

LeGioN

So what’s so special about a battery to spend 99 US$, respectively around 170 CHF (Shipping+handling to Switzerland)  when you can get the same power resource for less than 50 CHF?

First, there’s to mention, that LeGioN L (as I will call the large version now) is capable of charging 2 devices with 2 Ampère (10W) at the same time. Most other big blocks have only a 2.1A and a 1.3A port. Although I doubt, one would charge 2 tablets at the same time with this little fracker, it’s good to know that you can give power to your tablet and your friend’s tablet the same time.

While other batteries weigh approx 400g with 10 Ah, LeGioN weighs surprisingly only around 250g. And it’s even smaller!

The most eyecatching part of the battery might be the little display. Okay, there are other batteries that also have a display instead of LEDs indicating their status but LeGioN is a bit different:

When you press the power button shortly during charge process, you can get the following 4 information states, some of them cycling thru subpanels:

initial button press 2nd button press 3rd button press 4th button press
LeGioN Battery state LeGioN Time display LeGioN Voltage status LeGioN condition status
LeGioN current status LeGioN battery info
LeGioN power status
multi-panels cycle every 4 seconds, display goes off after 30 seconds of button inactivity

Sweet! – I like the idea that this battery isn’t just a dumb power bank but more a device, that monitors itself in order to stay healthy at all times and is ready when your mobile gadget cries for juice.

Now let’s have a look at the different panels:

The first button press shows you the actual battery fill status. More to just a plain percentage value it also shows you the amount of mAh remaining. So if you know your cell phone’s battery capacity, you can do the math to determine how often you can charge your device (An approximate value as you can’t expect a 100% efficiency! This is due to today’s battery technics but I guess, LeGioN will try to do it’s best here! PLX itself speaks of an efficiency greater than 90%, for the LeGioN 11000 even greater than 97% – so let’s check on that!)

The second panel shows you either the charge time until LeGioN is full again or, if you have your mobile gadget attached to it, the time remaining until LeGioN wants to be fed again!

The third panel for sure holds the most information. First you see the voltage that goes into LeGioN or out of it. The second panel lets you know the current that is either flowing into your battery or out of it. The third panel gives you the calculated power amount (a value that comes from Volts times current (V*A=W) ). At best, this value would show 10 Watts, typically a device demands less current and volts (approx 4 volts at around 1.5-1.7 A resulting in 6 to 7 Watts).

The fourth panel shows you the battery factory state (it should read “New” when you unpack it, of course!) and then the times it has been charged (a good battery pack will last at minimum 200 cycles before it significantly looses capacity!).

I really like the idea to know how well my battery performs and probably be able to see how much my mobile gadget is gobbling until it is full.

Since LeGioN is “learning” about your devices, make sure you read the user’s manual carefully to get the optimum out of LeGioN.

And if your LeGioN seems stuck (yes, there’s a little computer in it that can freeze in very rare occassions!) you have the ability to bring it back to life. The user’s manual explains, how!

As I have just prepared LeGioN for it’s first usage, you won’t see any nifty diagrams about charging/discharging and power consumption. These will be seen later on so keep checking back on this article to be up to date.

Update August 21st, 2014 – 13:30

LeGioN has finished it’s first test run. Here’s the chart, the explanation follows below.

LeGioN_Empty

LeGioNCapacityCheckTable1LeGioN 11000 was able to charge the iPhone 5s exactly 5.5 times before it was drained empty. The display read 0mAh, followed by the message in the picture little later on.

Based on the following calculation ((5.5 x 1560 x 100) / 11000) we determine an efficiency of 78% upon it’s first full chargeup which is a very good efficiency for out-of-the-box batteries. Many products I have checked before did perform much worse (<60%) so PLX did a good job here. Usually efficiency can’t reach top notch values when used for multiple charge runs.

Now it’s time to charge LeGioN to 100%. Started the process at 13:00 (1pm). At 13:45, 10% or 1150 mAh have been put back to LeGioN while the USB3.0 port spends 2.16A or 8.4 watts. At exactly 18:39 the display read 11000mAh again indicating, that LeGioN is full at 100%. So the written charge time of 5.5h is almost exact.

When LeGioN is full again, the following test will be done and put to diagram and protocol: The charge of a really empty Google Nexus 10 (2014). The following test shall show how the LeGioN will perform when used for a single charge process (the Nexus 10 has a battery capacity of 9000 mAh). So if LeGioN still has juice afterwards, then a much better efficiency coefficient may be the result. Stay tuned.

Update August 23rd, 2014 15:25:

The Nexus tablet is fully charged and surprisingly, LeGioN still has shown 11% capacity! According to the last readout, LeGioN has 1168mAh left for Charge. That’s a whopping 91% (9000*100/9832) efficiency ratio. Note that charge efficiency isn’t the same as the efficiency given in the tech specs table! So while LeGioN still asks for someting to charge, other batteries with 12000mAh were completely drained and a big block with 20000mAh has 21% left…

Again, LeGioN does a good job here:

LeGioN_NexusSteadily charged with approx. 8.7 Watts, the Nexus was filled in 5h20m which is even faster than with the supplied AC adaptor (6h10m)! Can’t explain why because the AC adaptor is rated 5V 2A, so should be able to deliver 10 Watts but that’s the hard truth. LeGioN performs ways better with a single large charge process.

Update August 29th, 2014 14:30:

And once again I’d like to know if Legion is also capable to charge up a completely drained iPad 4 back to full (or almost, since the iPad 4 has a battery capacity of 11.560mAh.

The result is dazzling:

LegioniPad4ChargeSorry for the squeezy table. Used the template from the iPhone rally and forgot to remove unused data points…

Although The LeGioN was unable to fully charge the iPad (93% was the best to reach until LeGioN cried for juice!), the efficiency is extremely good as it is at 97.73% (11560*93/11000)

With this excellent charge-efficiency ratio, the LeGioN seems to reach it’s advertised capacity with Apple devices only or Non-Apple devices drag more power even when put into standby (screen off). Whatever comes first. The efficiency makes my eyes almost pop out since my 20000mAh block has a mere 11% capacity left when filling the iPad full at 100% resulting in a 64% efficiency (11560*100/17820).

Okay, enough babbled now. Following is a chart of LeGioN’s tech specs and a final verdict.

Some tech stuff about LeGioN:

LeGioN 5500mAh LeGioN 11000mAh (Gen 2)
Capacity >=5500mAh >=11000mAh
USB ports 1 (2.0A) – 2.0A combined power output 2 (2.0A) – 4.0A combined power output
Charge
power*
max 2.5A (10W) with USB3.0 and AC adapter
max 1.0A (5W) with USB2.0
max 2.5A (10W) with USB3.0 and AC adapter
max 1.0A (5W) with USB2.0
Charge
time
6.5 hours approx. 5.5h (quick charge Gen2)
(tested: 5h39m = 5.65h)
Size 2.43 x 4.32 x 0.52”
(6.17 x 10.97 x 1.33cm)
3.87 x 5.50 x 0.52”
(9.83 x 13.98 x 1.33cm)
Colors black, white black, white
Material magnesium frame alloy, ABS plastic magnesium frame alloy, ABS plastic
Weight 4.4oz (128g) 9oz (255g)
Package
contents
1 Micro USB cable
1 LeGioN (5500mAh)
1 User’s manual)
1 Micro USB cable
1 LeGioN (11000mAh)
1 User’s manual)
Price 79.99 US$ (MSRP) 99.99 US$ (MSRP)
 Black  MOBLLEGION055_7 MOBLLEGIONG2110B_1
 White MOBLLEGION055_6 MOBLLEGIONG2110W_2
 Box MOBLLEGIONG2110_5
*Keep in mind, that your USB host controller may report Power overload as USB2.0 can only provide 5W – USB3.0 can provide 10W but Windows will also report USB hub power overload here. LeGioN however will NOT damage your USB hub in any way! For best results use an AC adapter providing >=2.5A @5V to quickly charge LeGioN!

Update August 22nd, 2014 – 13:40

The friendly staff and the CEO(!) of PLX devices took time to answer the given questions. We thank you in advance for the given replies!

These answers come directly from the President and CEO of PLX Devices, Paul Lowchareonkul:

NB: Any reason why PLX chose a glossy plastic finish which is a magnet for dust and fingerprints?
PLX: A glossy finish has more high end appeal designed to match that of the latest high end smart devices.

NB: Will LeGioN also come in a full magnesium alloy case or even in an aluminum case for more stability?
PLX: Magnesium alloy is not a material that we plan on using for future Legion Battery revisions due to it’s cost and handling difficulty.

NB: Will a possible Gen3 LeGioN come with a matte case finish?
PLX: We always do our best to listen our customers needs. If a matte case finish is highly requested, a matte case finish is always a possibility.

NB: The OLED display seems to lay a tad loose in it’s housing. Any plans to set the display more firm?
PLX: The OLED display should be very secure in its housing with proper adhesives in place to prevent movement.

NB: Similar to LeGioN Meter, will LeGioN Gen3 probably determine charge mode and apply (Apple / Android)
PLX: At this time we respectfully decline to disclose the details of any project that are currently in development.

NB: Will LeGioN L Gen3 probably show individual discharge statuses for each USB port?
PLX: At this time we respectfully decline to disclose the details of any project that are currently in development.

NB: Will future jumper caps be closed (like the ones on typical motherboards) to prevent dust intruding the jumper pins?
PLX: Yes, That is a possibility if customers request this feature.

NB: Currently no battery pack vendor uses protection caps on their connectors. Will PLX offer some accessories to do so?
PLX: We always do our best to listen to our customers needs. If protection caps are highly requested, protection caps are always a possibility. Legion battery should never need such caps. We use premium gold plated connectors that are already designed for ruggedness and corrosion resistance.

NB: Any further plans to make LeGioN available outside USA to reduce shipping costs?
PLX: Yes, distribution hubs will be available in Europe and Asia shortly.


 

For what we can see now is, that PLX is always improving LeGioN and there’s more ahead. We respect the secrecy to the questions that go into further details of a possible LeGioN Gen3. What I like best is that PLX is planning distribution hubs in Europe and Asia. So in the future, LeGioN will come less expensive to you. At current you’ll face 55 USD shipping costs outside USA. But the LeGioN is definitely worth it!

For those who say: “Let me have one!” – Here’s where you can get your’s!

Rating and final verdict:

It’s not often that a gadget does dazzle me but LeGioN did it! I first thought: Okay, it’s a battery with a bit more accuracy.

But the tests have shown, that LeGioN has been engineered with extremely picky customers in mind. Numbers alone don’t make a good product but a well-engineered product does.

Such an excellent efficiency is rarely seen in the wild. No other battery I have so far has performed that well as LeGioN does. So LeGioN has become my new accompanion when it comes to mobile power sources!

Although the price tag is hefty, keep in mind that there’s not a big company behind nor is it a mass product. PLX is a small company that has funded LeGioN’s Development and production via Kickstarter. Although I had my doubts in the beginning to buy something that’s freshly engineered, PLX did a great job with LeGioN.

The upcoming LeGioN Meter is also ordered and I am a funder here.

So it’s time to give the Gadget Award 2014 in Gold to LeGioN and PLX. They really deserve it for a well-designed and engineered product that exactly does what it’s designed for!

Price (10%): ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Performance (50%): ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ + ★
Handling (20%): ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Support (25%): ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ + ★
Design (15%): ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Accessories (15%): ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Overall Score: ★ ★ ★ ★
NBGA_Gold

What we like:

  • Great efficiency! (got them an extra star in the rating!)
  • the light weight
  • the informative display
  • the friendly support and CEO(!) that assisted us with some questions! (got them an extra star in the rating!)
  • the fact that good products still can be issued at a fair price
  • the 2 fully switched 2A USB ports!

What we don’t like:

  • Practically there’s nothing we dislike about LeGioN!

What could be an option:

  • Magnesium or Aluminum case for more ruggedness!
  • matte case finish. The glossy case looks fine yet it’s a real magnet for dist and fingerprints!
  • closed jumper cap at the jumper port and possibly caps for the unused USB ports
© Copyright 2014 Netspark, All rights Reserved. Written For: Netspark's Blog
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August 19, 2014 Netspark - 966 posts - Member since: May 9th, 2011 No Comments »

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