Power banks or portable chargers can charge up your smartphone or tablet when you’re on the move. In fact, they’ll charge any device that you usually plug into a USB wall charger, which is probably a good majority of the gadgets you own.
Power banks used to come with low capacity batteries and charge very slowly, but things have changed and they are now genuinely useful gadgets to have around.
The Cygnett Chargeup Digital 10000 is a sleek (thanks to its lithium polymer battery) power bank with two fast charging 2A ports and a capacity of 10,000mAh. That’s enough to completely charge an iPad and charge an iPhone up to 4 or 5 times. It has a digital display that shows the remaining battery capacity when charging up your gadgets and also shows progress when you’re charging the power bank itself via its micro USB port.
It comes with a short micro USB cable, but sadly no travel sleeve or lightning cable, so you need to use the cable that came with your device, or purchase another one.
The TP-Link TL-PB10400 is a more chunky affair, using standard Li-ion batteries. It weighs slightly more than the Cygnett coming in at 241g (versus 216g for the Cygnett), and it’s blocky shape makes it difficult to slip into your rucksack or pocket. It has one standard 1A charging port and one 2A fast charging port. It also charges via an included micro USB cable and comes with a handy travel case. It has 4 LEDs to represent the remaining charge and also has an integrated torch. The brightness of the torch is not quoted but it’s less than 10 lumens – useful only if you had nothing else. Its battery holds 10,400mAh of charge – about the same as the Cygnett.
It would be nice if both these power banks included a combined micro USB and lighting cable – something like this.
For my testing I charged an iPad (4th Generation) using a genuine Apple lightning cable and I measured the charging current using a USB charging meter. This gives an accurate measurement of what current these power banks can actually deliver.
Using a genuine Apple 12W charger an iPad should be able to charge at a maximum of 2.4A. Starting with the Cygnett, both charging ports are rated as 2A and as the picture shows, this is pretty close to the charging current they actually deliver (1.9A).
The TP-Link delivers less than 1A (0.9A) from its 2A charging port which is disappointing. I tried the same port with an Asus hybrid laptop and did achieve 1.3A – so the 2A port is capable of delivering more than 1A, but not to an iPad. I can only assume that the iPad does not recognise the TP-Link’s credentials as a fast charger.
If we turn to charging the device itself, I charged both devices using a genuine 12W (2.4A) iPad wall charger and also a dedicated 2.4A fast charging port on a TP-Link USB 3.0 Hub (UH720). The Cygnett charged at only 1A, whilst the TP-Link was able to charge a little quicker at 1.3A.
- Digital display for remaining battery capacity. Useful whilst discharging and charging
- Slim line (thanks to lithium polymer battery)
- 2 x 2A charging ports
- Able to deliver 2A charging current (with an iPad)
- Useful 10,000 mAh battery
- Tactile design
- No travel sleeve
- No lightning charge cable included
- Only possible to charge its own battery at 1A maximum
- Decent battery capacity
- Faster charging (1.3A versus 1A for the Cygnett)
- Included travel sleeve
- Price (TP-Link is often heavily discounted)
- Bulky and a little heavier than Cygnett
- 2 charging ports, but only 1 x fast 2A charging port
- 2A charging port doesn’t deliver 2A, to iPad at least
It’s probably clear from my review that I prefer the Cygnett charger. Its slim line design and digital display are real winners for me. The fact that it has 2 x 2A ports that can both actually deliver this charge is icing on the cake.
It would be nice if the charger came with a lightning cable and travel case, but the Cygnett is currently my favourite power bank.
But if the budget doesn’t stretch, the TP-Link still does pretty much the same job for less money – and even comes with a travel case.
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