Smartphones and tablets have increased their battery capacities each and every year but because new technologies and features are also introduced, you will find that you still need more battery to enjoy all of them.
The good news is that you can bring with you a portable power bank that can give your devices juice while you are on the go.
In today’s article, I will go over some of the best power banks in 2020.
Best Power Banks
1.Anker PowerCore II 10000
Anker is a brand that you can trust when it comes to portable chargers and power banks and the Anker PowerCore II is a really popular one.
This power bank is able to hold 10,000 mAh of power which is sufficient enough to give energy to your smartphones up to three times (depending on their battery capacity).
What is interesting about this thing is that it has the company’s patented Power IQ technology which is basically a feature that ensures your mobile device will get the maximum charging power that it is capable of.
For instance, if your phone supports Quick Charge 3.0, it will give you that much power so you can easily top up your phone, for instance, and have it up and running by just waiting a couple of minutes.
If there is one thing that the company could have done here is to add another USB port since this thing only has one.
But other than that, the Anker PowerCore II is one that you can rely on.
2.MAXOAK 50,000 mAh Power Bank
If you are going to be out on long trips and you do not have access to a power outlet, then you will need a power bank that can store a lot of energy. If that is what you are looking for, the MAXOAK 50,000 mAh power bank is definitely quite an appealing option.
Let’s talk about its hallmark feature- the 50,000 mAh battery power. This thing can definitely charge even your most power-hungry devices and this is a godsend if you are on a long flight or road trip.
It is compatible with all mobile devices and you can populate all of its ports at any time, provided that you have all of the necessary cables.
Although the company doesn’t have the name for it, this product does have similar technology to that of Anker’s Power IQ in that it intelligently charges your device to its maximum capability.
Of course, you do not have to worry if you plug your device in and leave it there since the power bank will immediately stop charging once your device reaches 100%.
The only real downside here is that this thing is quite heavy, so you will have to put this in a heavy-duty bag. Other than that, the MAXOAK 50,000 power bank is a survivor.
3.iMuto 20,000 mAh
This product from iMuto is a 20,000 mAh power bank that has two USB-A ports that can charge all modern devices. This is ideal if you have a Google Pixel device and you want a quick top-up.
Since most phones come with USB Type-C connectors, you will need a compatible USB-C to USB-A cable if you want to use this thing (which really isn’t a big deal because that is usually the case with modern smartphones).
What I like about the iMuto power bank is that instead of guessing how much power it still has left, this thing can tell you exactly how much battery it has left in the tank, so you will know exactly when to recharge it.
It does have a chunky design so it is not as portable as the other options out there, but I believe that this wouldn’t be a huge problem for you.
4.RAVPower 20,000 mAh
If you want a power bank that can hold a lot of energy while still maintaining a relatively slim form factor, then this RAVPower power bank is for you.
It has two USB ports so you can charge two devices at the same time. They are both fast charging ports so you can top up your mobile devices much faster than other similar products on the market.
Its 20,000 mAh charge should keep your most important stuff charged up until the end of the day and it uses a USB-C connector which shouldn’t be a huge issue since most phones use that type of charger anyway.
If I had to nitpick, its weight is 522 grams which can be a bit hefty, but otherwise, this thing is a beast.
5.Anker PowerCore 20,100 Power Bank
The main issue that most people will likely have with the first recommendation is that it only has one USB port for charging, so if you want at least two, then its bigger brother might appeal to you.
As the product name implies, this power bank can hold 20,100 mAh in its tank which is more than capable enough of topping up most of your devices. Whether you are using multiple smartphones or tablets, this power bank can handle all of them.
Just like its smaller counterpart, this Anker PowerCore power bank has that patented Power IQ technology that ramps up its charging speed based on the capability of your mobile device.
However, I do have to point out that if your phone is using Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4.0 technology, the power bank is only limited to Quick Charge 3.0. Still, QC 3.0 is still quite fast compared to nothing.
Its slim form factor also makes it so much easier for you to place this inside your pocket or bag, though its heft will be a bit noticeable.
6.Aukey 20,000 mAh Power Bank
Aukey is a company that is popular in Asia, though some people from Europe also like their products as well.
That being said, the Aukey 20,000 mAh power bank is a rather blocky product which means that it is thicker than others. But, it still should provide you with enough juice to fully charge your devices four or five times over.
It is cheaper than other 20,000 mAh power banks out there but that is simply because its fast charging capability is, well, not as fast as others.
But, I can assure you that you can rely on this thing if you want to top up your devices while you are on the go.
7.Mophie Powerstation Wireless XL
Wireless power banks have just been popular recently thanks to the fact that more and more smartphones can support wireless charging.
If you want the convenience of a wireless charger, the Mophie Powerstation Wireless XL is a really good option.
It only has one USB port, but you can charge two devices at the same time if you wirelessly charge one of your phones and the other one uses the single USB port.
This power bank uses Quick Charge technology so if you need a quick boost in your phone’s battery life, for example, you can do so with this device.
The only thing that I wished this product had is a larger battery size, but other than that, the Mophie Powerstation Wireless XL is a pretty good choice for people that want the convenience of wireless charging.
8.Omni 20 Portable Power Bank
If money is not an issue and you want the absolute best when it comes to power banks, then there is no question that the Omni 20 portable power bank is for you.
It has a total of four USB ports- two of which are fast charging- and some of the ports have enough amperage and wattage that you can even charge a gaming laptop as well.
You can choose to charge multiple devices at any time and you can even wirelessly charge your smartphone if it supports the said technology.
As you can expect with a power bank of this magnitude, this thing is the least portable of all of the power banks on this list. However, this thing is a trooper because it can definitely provide your devices with full power when needed.
You can even have it plugged into the wall while your devices are charging using its ports. It is that handy! Do not worry, this thing has protection mechanisms to ensure that nothing will go boom.
9.SoloForce Power Bank
So, we’ve talked about fast-charging power banks and those that can support multiple devices at any time, but we haven’t talked about a power bank that can harness solar energy to give its battery some power to charge your devices.
SoloForce is a 20,000 mAh power bank that requires no cable to charge its battery. In fact, you just take it out with you and the sun’s solar energy will do the rest. This provides you with convenience, especially if an electrical outlet is not within sight.
It has three USB ports at the bottom, of which two are fast-charging. You can also wirelessly charge your smartphone as well, so you can basically have 4 devices charged at one time.
The good thing about buying this power bank is that if you buy more than one, you get huge discounts. I highly recommend that you check this one out!
Google Nest Audio vs Amazon Echo- The Battle of the New ‘Smart’ Speakers
Smart home speakers are not as popular as mobile phones, but in my opinion, it actually should be.
You see, companies are slowly rolling out smart home devices so that your life will be so much easier given the convenience of having them.
That being said, I am going to be talking about the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo speakers because they are the ones that are at the forefront when it comes to smart home speakers. Which of these should you choose? Read on to find out!
For those of you who do not know, Google Nest Audio is actually the Google Home speakers that were released just about a year ago. It seems that Google wanted to use a new moniker to denote that this particular thing can ‘nest’ your other smart home devices.
The Amazon Echo, on the other hand, refers to the medium-sized Bluetooth speaker that the largest online retailer sells. The company is set to release a new version of this device soon, so it would be interesting to see how well it performs.
Even though the new version of the Amazon Echo hasn’t arrived at our doorstep yet for an official review, this is not to say that we can somehow speculate what it can offer, especially considering that the company has provided us with some really good information about it.
With all of those out of the way, let’s talk more about the design first. The Google Nest Audio takes on a more cylindrical approach in that the speaker itself has a higher height than the Amazon Echo.
For that reason, you are getting a 75mm woofer and a single 19mm tweeter. Google touts the Google Nest Audio as a better sound solution compared to its original Google Home Speaker because of the changes.
On the other hand, the Amazon Echo, in my opinion, has better sound quality. That is thanks to its two 20mm tweeters and a huge 76.2mm woofer. Its design is more spherical but I am pleased (and surprised) that Amazon was able to include two tweeters on its Bluetooth speaker implementation.
At the base of the Amazon Echo is a blue light ring that changes the way it emits light depending on the current usage.
Both of these Bluetooth speakers are offered in various colors so you have different options to choose from.
If you look at the design of both speakers, you could make a case that the Amazon Echo wins this round when it comes to pure sound quality. Its two tweeters compared to the single tweeter on the Google Nest Audio, provides it with a much better chance of delivering mid-high sound frequencies.
This is not to discount the fact that Google has some tricks up its sleeves because its AI technology is smart enough to adjust the sound quality on the fly when needed.
Both of the speakers have an adaptive sound feature wherein if it detects that the ambient noise is loud enough, it increases the volume of whatever content you are consuming at that moment to compensate. This is using both of the speakers’ microphones. The volume should normalize to the last known level after it detects that the ambient sound has quieted down.
Of course, this is only my opinion after looking at the spec sheet because I will have to get my hands on these things before I can give my honest opinion. But, my initial assessment would be that the Amazon Echo delivers better sound compared to the Google Nest Audio.
To be able to provide you with ‘smart’ features, both the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo are equipped with processors that can handle just that.
The Google Nest Audio comes with the company’s TeraOPS A53 processor which is a quad-core chip that boasts of better performance compared to the company’s previous Bluetooth speakers.
On the other hand, Amazon’s own speaker is equipped with the AZ1 Neural Edge processor that, according to the company, should be more responsive to voice commands compared to previous versions.
It is hard to say who wins this round. You see, Amazon has Zigbee hub integration which means that your connected smart home devices have better compatibility with the said speaker because of this.
However, we all know that Google’s AI technology is so advanced (and even more accurate) than Alexa, so it could potentially provide you with better features overall compared to Amazon’s Bluetooth speaker.
Of course, I cannot truly say which one wins this round until I get to review these wireless audio solutions. In that case, stay tuned for more.
The Google Nest Audio will be available on October 5, while the Amazon Echo will not be released until later this month (October 22). That being said, both of these speakers will retail for $99.99, so stay tuned for our official product reviews to help you know which one you should ultimately choose for yourself.
Apple iPad 8th Generation Review- An Iterative Upgrade
When it comes to ease of use and convenience, people like getting Apple’s products because of its more streamlined approach to everything. Sure, there is a lot to tinker on Android but that is also precisely the reason why the user experience, at least for the layman, is not as great.
There is this saying that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Well, although I would have liked to say that here, I just don’t think that that approach applies here.
You see, the design of the 8th generation iPad is identical to its predecessor. As in everything about its aesthetics are similar which means that if you want to imagine what the new iPad looks like, all you have to do is look at the 7th gen variant.
Like all things, it can be a good thing or a bad thing. It is a good thing because that familiar design should feel right at home, especially for people that already own an iPad. It is bad because, in this day and age, more and more mobile devices have slimmer bezels and the new iPad still has those atrociously huge ones.
Don’t get me wrong, there are practical uses to having large bezels as it allows you to hold the tablet better when using it in landscape mode, but if you are watching online content, you can’t help but be bothered by the huge sides.
There are two versions of the 8th generation iPad and that is one with WiFi only and the other one having LTE. Its dimensions are 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.29. The only difference between the WiFi and the LTE versions is that the latter is a bit heavier at 495 grams compared to the 490 grams of the former.
Thankfully, Apple didn’t remove the headphone jack but if you are going to utilize its built-in speakers, you are better off using a good Bluetooth speaker instead.
The 8th generation iPad has a 10.2-inch Retina Display with a resolution of 2160 x 1620 and 264 pixels per inch or PPI. It has a good peak brightness at 500 nits, though you can still experience some problems when you are outside and the sun is shining brightly.
You can utilize the Apple Pencil on this device and it is also quite accurate as well (just keep in mind that it is sold separately).
What I love about iPads, in general, is that their displays provide you with crisp and clear details. Whether you are working on your documents or perhaps watching your favorite movies and TV shows, they do not disappoint.
Specs and Performance
- CPU: A12 Bionic
- GPU: Apple GPU (4-core graphics)
- RAM: 3GB
- Storage: 32GB/128GB
- Display: 10.2-inch Retina IPS LCD Display, 2160 x 1620, 4:3 aspect ratio, 500 nits brightness, 264 PPI
- OS: iPadOS 14
- Cameras: 8-megapixel (back), 1.2-megapixel (front)
- Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 AC, Bluetooth 4.2
- Battery: 32.4 Wh
So, if the 8th generation iPad has an identical design to its predecessor, what has changed here? Well, I am glad you asked. The only notable difference here is that the new model comes with the A12 Bionic chip and that’s pretty much it.
While you could be unhappy with the change, the new CPU actually beats its predecessor by a lot. By using Geekbench 5, single-core scores are about 60% higher than the 7th gen iPad and about 100% better in multi-core tasks than the previous model.
Granted that the said benchmark is relatively old, you couldn’t argue that the new processor is indeed way better than its predecessor.
Even when you are just using the tablet the way it should be used, you can really tell the difference. This is more evident if you are going to play some games.
Now, do not worry about the 3GB of RAM because the iOS ecosystem is quite streamlined and efficient that you normally wouldn’t need more than that.
It should also go without saying that the included cameras are just there for show and they do not really do anything special, so I don’t think that covering them is warranted here.
Sure, the new 8th generation iPad doesn’t bring a lot to the table, but its new processor is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor. Does that justify buying the new one? Probably not, especially if you already own the 7th generation model.
However, if you own an older iPad and you want better performance across the board, then you could probably spend your money to get one.
My gripe here is that there are only two storage options to choose from. You can get the 32GB variant for only $329 but in this day and age, 32GB is not a lot of storage space.
If you want more storage, you will need to spend an additional $100 premium just to get the 128GB model. In fact, I would go on to say that you should be buying this particular model compared to the 32GB variant. I just don’t like that the company is gouging you another $100 ($429 in total) just to get one.
The 8th generation iPad is disappointing in a lot of ways and its only redeeming quality is its new processor. It would have been nice if there is a redesign or that the lightning cable is changed to USB-C, but there is just not a lot of things to talk about here.
Therefore, I should say that the 8th generation iPad is just an iterative upgrade. Whether you want to buy it or not is entirely up to you.
Amazon Echo Studio Review- The Bigger ‘Echo’ Speaker That Competes
Amazon, the biggest online retailer in the world, has created its own AI implementation in the form of the Amazon Alexa.
It is actually quite polished and it can go against Apple’s Siri and Google’s own AI. That being said, the company has released some ‘Echo’ speakers that not only act as Bluetooth audio devices but as smart devices as well.
Today, I am going to be reviewing the Amazon Echo Studio. Does this thing really have what it takes to compete with the others?
One of the biggest criticisms of Amazon’s Echo speakers of the past is that although its smart features are okay, their sound output leaves much to be desired. As a way of addressing the issue, Amazon has built the Echo Studio.
The Amazon Echo Studio is pretty big. It is 8 inches in height and 7 inches wide so this is indeed a pretty hefty audio solution. In fact, I would go on to say that this is one of the biggest Bluetooth speakers on the market.
Its design is pretty much akin to the Amazon Echo speakers of old. You get a fabric mesh design that encapsulates the speaker itself with all of its button controls situated at the top of the device.
You also get a blue ring light that will pretty much add to the aesthetic appeal of the unit. The microphone is also placed at the top and it is always on ‘listening mode’ so that whenever you want to interact with Alexa, it can do so at a moment’s notice.
Although you cannot see it, the Amazon Echo Studio is actually powered by a subwoofer, a tweeter, and four mid-range speakers that are mounted at the top and the sides. This thing is a beast as it can output 330 watts of power when needed, which is ample enough even for home cinema setups.
The Amazon Echo Studio is quite a powerful Bluetooth speaker. No matter what genre of content you’d like to consume, this thing can output the necessary sound to make your viewing experience more immersive.
I am usually keen on an audio solution’s performance when it comes to playing music and I am happy with the Echo Studio’s prowess.
Although it favors the lower frequencies more than the mids and the highs, it does so without drowning the latter two, which is something that you normally do not see on large Bluetooth speakers.
An interesting feature that the Amazon Echo Studio has is its support for 3D Audio. You will need to sign in to your Amazon Music HD account before you can get a hold of this feature and it is the only platform that supports the Echo Studio’s 3D Audio. Amazon did mention that it will hand out support for other streaming platforms at a later date though.
So, how is the speaker’s performance on that front? Well, I am not really sure what to think about it as I have mixed feelings about the said feature.
3D audio is meant to provide a more immersive listening experience but I can hardly tell the difference between traditional Hi-Res audio and this one.
I guess you could say that for tracks that have a more melodic tone that you can discern a 3D audio-enabled track from a regular track, but other than that, non-audiophiles can hardly tell the difference.
To be fair, the said feature is still not polished yet, so expect it to improve in the years to come.
The Amazon Echo Studio also has seamless integration with the Amazon Fire TV Stick, though it does support all other streaming services like Netflix and Hulu as well.
You are also given the option to link up another Amazon Echo Studio speaker so that you can have them work in tandem to provide you with even better sound. I do not have a second unit though, so I cannot really tell anything about this. But, the feature is there if you want to get another unit.
Aside from 3D audio, the Echo Studio also acts as a control hub for your smart devices. You can use Alexa to turn off your lights at a specific time of the night or you can have it play your favorite track if you want. The possibilities are endless.
Do keep in mind that while it should support most of the smart home devices that you can buy on the market, there are some products that do not play ball.
For instance, some smart locks can only be supported using Apple’s Siri, so you cannot control that using this device.
You can also link up a second Echo Studio speaker if you have one and you can use both of them to provide you with an even more powerful and more immersive listening experience.
You can control the speaker’s features by manually tapping on the buttons at the top of the device or by downloading its companion app.
Amazon has finally solved the issue of the Amazon Echo speakers of the past by giving you a relatively large speaker that can do a lot of things.
The Amazon Echo Studio has support for 3D audio, but you will need to have an Amazon Music HD account to get a hold of the said feature.
You can also use the speaker to control your smart home devices which is pretty nice. The microphone is always on listening mode so that you can call Alexa’s attention at a moment’s notice.
Normally, I would expect a product like this to cost more than $300, but the Amazon Echo Studio actually costs just $199. I guess getting another one is not too far out of the equation, eh?
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