If you have an old gadget that you love to use even though it’s a struggle due to its age, using one of the best power banks could help extend its life.
This is something I discovered while trying to get some extra mileage out of my 12.9 iPad Pro because although I still enjoy using it for creative and professional tasks, several years of heavy use have made it difficult to use for work periods.
That is, until I use a portable charger to help me improve its operation.
Take a battery
The thing that most affects a gadget over time is its battery life—constant cycles of discharging and recharging can dramatically reduce its power capacity, meaning it lasts less and less a long time when unplugged.
You may not notice it during daily use, but after several years of use, the power consumption will become noticeable. If you have an old iPhone that seems to be burning battery percentages, you’ll know what I mean.
I used to take my iPad for days working in cafes, and I would spend between six and eight hours on the screen between walks to different cafes and breaks to do other things.
These days, however, I’ll get about half that time. Having plain white documents open on the screen will consume battery power, even though I’m not connected to Wi-Fi and other features are also disabled.
Enter a power bank
I have several power banks (for testing purposes), but the different ones I’ve used all run at 20,000mAh. This is usually the highest capacity charger you consider buying, because bigger and you get an absolutely massive device, but smaller and you won’t get too many charges.
At this capacity, I’ll be able to charge the iPad’s 9,720 mAh battery twice, with a bit left over for the headphones I’m using (or to give my smartphone some extra juice).
In fact, I wouldn’t max power it twice — it would give me a lot more screen time than I actually needed — but the versatility of having that amount of power really helps.
This amount of extra battery is useful if I have a smartphone that needs a lot of juice. It’s also useful on days when I completely forget to turn on the portable charger before taking it with me; I will know that I have at least enough left to turn on the iPad once.
A power bank is easy to use in a cafe because I can keep it plugged into the iPad while I work. Of course, the banks actually charge at a slower rate than the iPad draws power, but if it’s plugged in all the time when I’m using it, that discharge isn’t fast at all.
Many of the power banks I’ve started using actually have built-in screens that tell me how much charge they have left, which is really helpful when trying to figure out which one to take. Most of the others have LED strips that light up based on how much power they have, which is a rudimentary but still useful way of letting me figure out which one to take.
My only concern is that most of the power banks I’ve used are powered via micro USB so they aren’t too fast to power up if I find all my portable chargers run out of power before I go out of the House. It also means I have to occasionally dig up my only micro USB charger—which I otherwise only use for my Kindle and PS4 controller—and hide in the bottom of a drawer as a result.
Operates an old gadget
If it hadn’t been for my portable power bank, I probably would have stopped using my iPad Pro for working on the go, as the power drain and its painful joints would make it difficult to use it outside the home. me (when I’m always near an outlet and a charger).
The same goes for other gadgets — if you find that your old iPhone runs out of power at lunchtime or your smartwatch needs constant power to keep running, a portable charger will do. ideal for a recharge in the middle of the day.
Of course, in this case, you won’t need 20,000 mAh like me — 10,000 mAh or even just 5,000 mAh will do, and more portable to boot.
Our list of the best power banks contains a range of different types of power banks, so whether you need a big charger or a baby bank, you’ll be fine (there are also some interesting ones like solar or cordless). So if, like me, you have an aging gadget that you want to squeeze a little more life out of, you really should check out this list.