Sadly, battery life is one of the main concerns when it comes to buying a new gadget. Manufacturers are following, to the letter, a trend which makes our phones and tablets thinner and thinner while sacrificing battery life. It also just so happens that today’s devices are extremely powerful with specs we never thought possible five years ago. All of the above seem to leave us with beautiful and thin hardware that often times doesn’t make it by the end of the day under heavy usage conditions.
If there were smartphones and tablets back in the day, there surely would have been a Murphy law saying that “your gadget’s battery will always die on you when you will need it most“. It just so happens that in the majority of these situations you don’t have access to a charger, wall outlet, cable, etc., since the probability of you being mobile is rather high.
Meet the Xtorm Power Bank 11000 by A-Solar, one of the many portable power packs out there on the market, however, one that is extremely powerful yet with a small footprint. Read our quick review to find out how this battery can become a life-saver for those that often times deplete their batteries while on-the-go.
In the box
The package contains everything to get you ready for using the Xtorm Power Bank 11000. Inside the box you’ll find the juice pack itself which is, as called out specifically on the box, pre-charged, meaning you can start using it the minute you break the seal on the packaging. Of course, if you don’t have to, it is recommended you fully charge it before use.
An A/C adapter is also included (with a European plug) and despite accepting inputs of 120V at 60Hz for the US, you will need a wall-plug adapter to use it. However, you can charge the Xtorm Power Bank 11000 from your computer (or laptop, if it is plugged in) as it needs 5V and 1A, as per the specified output of its own charger. The cable connecting the charger to the juice pack is a standard USB-to-Micro USB cable.
Also bundled, alongside the main cable, are interchangeable connectors for Samsung tablets and some phones, Sony Ericsson phones, as well as devices with standard Mini and Micro USB ports.
On top of everything there’s also a pouch or carrying bag for your Xtorm Power Bank 11000; A-Solar thinks you should take good care of it and we couldn’t agree more! There’s also a leaflet with instructions and important information.
11,000mAh, that’s the capacity of the Xtorm Power Bank 11000, meaning it’s more than four times larger than the battery on the Samsung Galaxy S 4, almost five times larger than the one in the HTC One, more than seven times the battery inside the iPhone 5, and we could go on with the phones. What if you have a tablet? A-Solar’s juice pack is almost as big as the battery inside the iPad 4, and larger than the power pack inside the Google Nexus 10. If you go lower in screen size, the scales tip even more in the Xtorm Power Bank 11000’s favor.
Despite packing that much power the juice pack isn’t large and bulky at all. Of course, it will definitely be more consistent than other juice packs in the two-three-thousand mAh range, but not that much. It measures 122mm x 81 mm x 24 mm (or 4.80in x 3.18in x 0.94in) and weighs 282 grams (9.94 ounces).
To get some perspective, it is less than three times thicker than an iPhone 5 or any other modern phone, while being as tall as the iPhone 5 (or shorter than the Samsung Galaxy S 4 or the HTC One).
There are three ports on the Xtorm Power Bank 11000: a microUSB input where you charge the juice pack itself and two USB outputs, one rated 1A and the other rated 2.1A, meaning you can easily charge a phone and a tablet simultaneously.
The Xtorm Power Bank 11000’s outer shell is completely made out of plastic. Despite the faux aluminum-colored silver band around the edges, the entire case is lightweight, but plastic. The top and bottom have a shiny finish reminding us of Samsung’s hyperglaze technology while the silver rim has a more matte finish to it.
It doesn’t squeak, it doesn’t bend, but it does scratch if you toss it around, just like any other plastic. Despite having extended contact points on the bottom, it will scratch if you are not careful where you place it. If you want to maintain it in a pristine condition use the supplied pouch for extra protection.
The juice pack’s somewhat premium feel extends to the cables and plugs too, and even the material of the carrying pouch is pleasant to the touch. However, we couldn’t find a single USB cable (supplied or own) which plugs in flush inside the USB port on the charger (not compromising contact though).
On the top side there’s a button which, on one hand, initiates the charge once you have your device hooked up to the Xtorm Power Bank 11000, and, on the other hand, is useful for checking the remaining charge inside the juice pack itself. A set of four LED green bars indicates the approximate juice left and gives you approximate ETA information on the status while charging the Xtorm Power Bank 11000.
On a single charge, we have managed to top up the battery on the HTC One two times, the Samsung Galaxy Note II one time, and the iPhone 5 two times. On another go we completely recharged the Nexus 7 and the iPhone 5 simultaneously, while still having enough power to top-up the Galaxy Note II. Not bad!
Fully charging the Xtorm Power Bank with the supplied A/C charger takes anywhere up to eight hours, depending on how depleted the battery is. If you plan on charging it overnight this is not an issue but if you happen to run out of juice during the day it might be troublesome. However, the Xtorm Power Bank 11000 is a backup solution so we really don’t mind the rather long charging times (especially given the large capacity of the battery within).
+ small, portable, lightweight
+ solid build
+ large capacity
+ charge indicator
+ simultaneous charging of two devices
+ included cables, plugs
+ included pouch
– easy to scratch
– charging indicator could be sharper
– somewhat pricey
– main charging cable is too short
Pricing and availability
You can purchase the Xtorm Power Bank 11000 directly from the manufacturer, A-Solar. It will cost you, as listed, €99.00, but you’ll also have to add some shipping costs depending on where you live.
You might not be out, in Berlin or Barcelona, covering IFA or MWC, from 5a to 2a the next day, abusing the battery of your gadgets all the time in between, but if you often find yourself commuting, hiking, on a business trip, abroad, at the beach, in the mountains or in another place that doesn’t have a wall plug nearby, this is something you should look at.
Of course, there are other (and cheaper) solutions out there so you’ll have to ask yourself the following questions: will you need to charge two devices simultaneously? How many charges does your juice pack need to deliver? If you answered “yes” to the first question and at least “four” to the second, the Xtorm Power Bank 11000 is the way to go!