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Review: A-Solar Powerbank 7000

Usually I don’t do many reviews on gadgets and hardware. In this case I could not resist
to tell you about an item one could desperately need when the cell phone squeaks and
begging for power. You all know that crappy situation: You’re out for party etc. and you
want to show your friends some cool stuff. What happens? No more battery!

Usually this happens exactly then when you least expect it or think about it. Even to me it happened… several times!

Time for me to have an outlook for potent solutions.

There are several battery packs on the market, also in a form of iPhone hulls to protect your phone from scarteches and give it some extra power. This is nothing for aesthetic freaks as it always means the change of your handset or additional load to carry with you!

So let’s see what we have in the chart for example:

Product Powerbank 7000 iPhone 4 – Power hull
Manufacturer A-Solar (Germany/Nederlands) Unknown (China import)
Purpose Cellphone charger iPhone 4 Charger/bumper hull
Price approx 60 Euros (varies) 20 to 50 Euros
Connector(s) Output: 2xUSB A power-only
Input:1 Micro-USB
Output:Internal iDock-port
Voltage 5V 5V
Current 2x1000mA (1500mA combined) 700mA
Capacity 7000mAh 1900mAh
Weight 180g 45g
Measurement 113x76x16mm 125x62x15mm
Haptics White plastic glare
silver side appliance matte
black microstructure-covered plastic
(good haptics!)
Features 4-LED charge indicator
Test key (also acts as Begin-Charge key)
4-LED charge indicator
Test key
On/Off Switch (mechanical)
Tools USB spiral cord with female 2.5mm connector
LG adapter
Nokia adapter
Sony-Ericcson adapter
Samsung adapter
MiniUSB adapter
Micro-USB cable
Pro’s + Massive capacity
+ multi-versatile
+ fair weight
+ good material quality
+ good crafting quality
+ Check key also acts as starter
+ charges 2 devices simultaneously
+ fast charge
+ delivers the said capacity!
+ good haptics
+ ok material quality
+ good crafting quality
+ dimmed LEDs
+ attachable to the phone
+ serves as bumper
+ Anti-Antennagate
Con’s – bright LEDs
– can’t help with Antennagate
– solely for the iPhone
– slow charge and not full!
– less capacity as said!

For both devices I use an iPhone 4 to charge up at 100% after a discharge to 5%

This is the result:

Capacity (bigger is better):

Powerbank 7000 4 full Charges and then 47%
Power Hull 1 charge at 67%

I can’t help it but the charge ability is very odd. While the hull is said to fill an iPhone back to full, it simply fails at two thirds of one charge cycle.

Charge speed of the phone (smaller is better):

Apple Charger 1h 36min (Full charge)
Powerbank 7000 1h 32min (Full charge)
Computer USB port* 2h 46min (Full charge)
Power Hull 3h 24min (only for 67%)

*For comparison

Odd to see that the computer can faster charge an iPhone compared to the Power hull. There are more modern computers with USB ports that also deliver 1000mA so expect faster charge times with more modern or specially equipped hardware! The Powerbank is a real goalgetter when it comes. It is a tick faster than the Apple USB charger but these 4 minutes are neglectible in my opinion.

Charge speed of the battery pack (smaller is better):

Powerbank 7000 5h 47min
Power Hull 3h 37min

When it comes to a full chargeup of the battery pack (from zero to 100%) then the times differ a lot! However you have to compare the capacity again so I will also do a time-per-mAh comparison (bigger is better):

Powerbank 7000 20.2mAh
Power Hull 8.7mAh

The Powerbank hereby charges up to 4 and a half cycles. That’s very good stamina for the weight tradeoff and the fact that you have an external casing that does not snuggly fit to your iPhone.

On the other hand I like the versatility of the Powerbank as it is not tied down to the only task of charging up the iPhone solely. The Power hull has the advantage that it snuggly fits your iPhone in and protects the back from scratches, dust and fingerprints. even the older iPhone 4 benefits another thing, the Antennagate is elegantly solved with this hull as it completely wraps around the steel rim. The only tradeoff is that your iPhone looks a bit bold then. But hey, for a possible 9hrs speak time, it’s a good tradeoff anyways.

Okay, you can’t compare china imports with a fully qualified manufacturer. It won’t be fair. However: The hull does fool sorta good. it has a matte surface that lets you grip your phone right without fear of having it fall off your hands. It’s dustproof and you won’t see Fingerprints on it. all connectors and keys are freely acessible and the hull parts (2) are near perfectly assembled to fit together. The gap between the parts is hardly visible. The Powerbank also is carefully assembled and gives some elegant touch. It may better fit to a white iPhone. the material feels alright however you will have to deal with fingerprints and dust in no time!

Both battery packs come with a test indicator with 4 LEDs which indicate each 25% charge capacity. A key makes them light up for about 5 seconds. The Powerbank has the smaller LEDs but yet brighter ones. So nightcharging at your bed may become an issue. The Power hull has the dimmer LED which yet are clearly visible. The key on the back has the sole purpose to light up the charge status, no less, no more. However it has a switch that switches sort of a passthru-mode. If set to “On” the hull charges your phone and does not recharge from the microUSB-Port! If set to “Off”, the microUSB-Port charges the hull AND the phone. In tests however the phone has several times indicated a stop-loss behaviour. It has detected a disconnect and instant reconnect, especially when the screen lights up. I guess it’s the massive drain and less stable charge unit that’s to blame for that as a computer USB port does not show this behaviour although it only fires out 500mA where the hull states 700mA. I guess it’s much lower than that because even the PC charges the phone faster than the hull.

I can recommend both products but you have to decide over two things: Aesthetics/weight and capacity. While the Power hull is a bit more discrete, the Powerbank is the better choice if you know you play with your digital companion for quite some time using power-consuming apps! The fact that the Powerbank can also serve other devices too and is not solely bound to iDevices, gives it a plus. While there are several battery packs out there with the same size but with less capacity, the Powerbank is also able to cope with the higher charge power demand of the iPad/iPad2, but this isn’t fair compared to the Power hull as it simply isn’t made for that! Both products are well crafted, so it’s a tie here. About the price, okay, the Powerbank isn’t a real bargain (however I was lucky to snatch it for 30CHF opposed to a regular price of 69CHF) with a mere 60 Euros. The power hull however is available from a wide variety of vendors and prices range from 20 to 50 Euros. If the quality also varies, is unknown. However I’d rather not spend more as 20 Euros on the Power hull. The power hull benefits from the fact that it protects your phone a bit from scrates and a smapper thump on the ground from a not so high distance may even protect from glassbreak. However you can’t blame the powerbank for that feature as it serves more purposes here and is more or less seen as an additional battery pack for a wide variety of devices. So my final verdict goes to the Powerbank as it gives you more bang for the buck!

Hope, this test will help you to find the right solution for your diital companion.

Happy weekend!

January 20, 2012 Netspark - 1594 posts - Member since: May 9th, 2011 No Comments »

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