Last week, Artem took the Primo Power Core 8200mAh portable battery pack for a spin, and he really liked it. But as good as it may be, for some, 8200mAh may be overkill. With that in mind, I took on the Scosche 5000mAh goBAT II portable charger and backup battery to see how well it would fuel my devices during everyday use.
At A Glance
First off, lets take a look at what this power pack has to offer.
- 5000mAh, which should be able to charge a 1500mAh battery around 3 times, with a little left over.
- Dual charging ports: one 5V 1 amp port, one 5V 2.1 amp port
- Works with phones and tablets
- In the box: the battery, USB charger, USB adapter for Galaxy Tab (more on that in a bit)
Now that you have a better idea of what the goBAT II is all about, lets look at what it does well, and where it lacks.
5000mAh - While it may not have as much under the hood as the Primo Power Core, 5000mAh is more than enough to completely charge your phone multiple times.
Dual Chargers - If you have two devices, this is a Godsend. The goBAT II allows you you utilize both charging ports simultaneously, thus providing power to two devices at one time.
2.1 amp port - Lets face it, for power hungry devices like tablets, a one amp port just won't do. Most of the time, the tablet will discharge faster than it can pull the juice on such a small amperage, so the 2.1 amp port provides enough kick to recharge even the more power hungry devices.
Solid build quality - It feels really nice in the hand -- solid and well made.
Tablet support - For some reason, if you plug a Honeycomb tablet directly into the 2.1 amp port, it still won't charge, but it works fine with the iPad. Thankfully Scosche threw a USB adapter in that takes care of this issue. It's worth nothing that the package reads "works with: Samsung Galaxy Tab" - which I assume means the original, 7-inch model, but with the included adapter I had no issues charging my Tab 10.1. With that said, I think it's safe to assume that it should work with all Honeycomb tablets, but I had no way to test this.
Quickly charges devices - I was quite impressed with how quickly the goBAT II was able to fuel my devices. There was not a drastic difference between it and AC power.
Compact and lightweight - It's about the same size as most external hard drives and is only a bit heavier, so it doesn't take up a lot of space when you toss it in your bag.
Charges via USB - This battery pack is designed to be charged over USB, which is quite convenient. However, it takes a very long time to charge. (more on that in "The Bad")
4 LED charge indicators - There is a small button on top of the unit that, when pressed, will display the amount of juice left in the battery. Each of the four lights represents a 20% incremental charge levels. No lights: 0% - 20%, 1 light: 20% - 40%, and so on.
5000mAh - This one is both a blessing and a curse. If the only device that you need to keep juiced is your phone, then this charger does the job very well. However, my Tab 10.1 sucked this battery pack dry in about an hour and a half, and it only bumped the Tab's battery level up by 40%. I would have liked to see at least a 50% charge.
Painfully long charge time - it took about 8 hours to completely recharge the goBAT II, since it is designed to be charged over USB. Fortunately, I had a USB <-> AC adapter laying around (which also happened to be made by Scosche), so that reduced the time it took to charge to around 6 hours.
No LED indicator for 0% - 20% - Once the battery pack goes below 20% charge, you can't tell if it's dead or not until you actually plug a device into to and see if it begins to provide charge. This can be quite frustrating if you think it has some juice left when it really doesn't.
Glossy finish - While this one may be minor, it's one of my biggest pet peeves with this battery. It attracts fingerprints horribly bad, and is nearly impossibly to keep it looking good.
Price - The goBAT II retails for $80, which I feel is a little on the high side for what it offers. After all, the Power Core is only $20 more, and it offers an extra 3200mAh over the goBAT II.
If there's on area that I was most impressed with the Scosche goBAT II, it was the time it took to recharge my device. I used SystemPanel to monitor the battery charge on with both the goBAT II and AC power -- the difference was minimal. Of course, AC power does charge a bit faster, but that is to be expected.
At the end of all my testing, I have mixed feelings about the goBAT II, and I think it really depends on how many devices you have that will need to utilize the added juice. If you have both a tablet and phone, I would suggest that you look elsewhere, as this device just doesn't do very well in tablet realm -- it simply doesn't house enough power. On the other hand, it works very well for phones, providing 3+ charges for most.
Of course, there is the object of price, as well. At $80, it is on the higher side of the spectrum for the amount of charge it provides, and that in itself makes it difficult to recommend this piece of equipment.
At the end of the day, it's really up to you -- but if I were looking to buy a backup battery, I would probably spend the extra $20 and go with the Primo Power Core or something similar.