Supplied by the online and bricks & mortar superstore, Reichelt, the VARTA powerbank is a device that can be used to recharge a mobile device when a mains power source is not available for carrying out the purpose. For those not familiar with the company VARTA, I should explain that this is a German organisation with 128 years experience in the development of solutions involving batteries such as this powerbank device.
The VARTA powerbank under review is a reasonably compact cylindrical unit with dimensions of 99 x 24 mm (H x D). The product is available in a choice of colours including black, white, evergreen and the orange decorating my review sample. In appearance the VARTA powerbank resembles a lipstick. As such, with its weight of 61g, this powerbank device can easily be slipped into a pocket or bag without causing an unsightly bulge or inconvenience the user in other ways.
A small hook feature at the base of the unit could be used to attach the powerbank to a key ring but I found it more convenient to keep the VARTA device free from any attachments which tend to get in the way when putting this device to its actual purpose of charging a mobile device. Located at the opposite end of the powerbank are ports for both standard and micro USB connections.
Included with the powerbank unit is a 50 cm lead with a standard USB plug at one end and a micro USB lead at the other end. This lead can serve the dual purpose of charging the powerbank from the mains using the micro USB input port and also transferring power to a mobile device, such as a smartphone, using the standard output USB port. No physical controls are provided and none are actually required to carry out the tasks performed by this VARTA device.
The lack of any physical control options gives the clue that this powerbank is purely an automatic device. You simply plug the powerbank into a vacant mains power connection and the device begins to charge up its internal Li-ion battery to its full capacity. In a similar manner, attaching the powerbank to a mobile device and the transfer of power will start automatically without any need for further intervention on the part of the user. So really this product could be described as a “Plug and Power” device.
In both cases of power transfer, in either direction, a blue light will flash in a certain sequence during the process. The number of flashes used during the process will indicate the current status of the powerbank’s internal Li-ion battery capacity. For example a sequence of single flashes indicate the powerbank’s is down to 25%; double flashes mean a 50% capacity; and a triple flash sequence shows the powerbank has 75% of its full capacity, so you will a general idea as to how much power might be available.
The VARTA powerbank has a capacity of 2600 mAh stored within its Li-ion battery. This amount of power should be enough to charge a single smartphone selected from the many, if not most, of the current batch of smartphones available on the market. Once used for transferring power, you will need to recharge the VARTA device to ensure it is ready for use when next to fulfil its function.
As mentioned earlier, the VARTA powerbank is available from Reichelt, who supplied my review sample. This product is currently listed by Reichelt priced at £6.52.
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