Gadgets Smartphones Tablets

Girl Power: RAVPower Luster Series RP-08 Power Bank

In an attempt to bring more of the fairer sex to Review Lagoon, I’m trying to cover more female-gender-friendly products here on the site.  I got the idea from a co-worker who borrowed my monster RavPower PB-13 power bank (read my review) in an emergency to charge her phone.  She said she would love something like this, but the PB-13 was just too big and heavy for her to carry around.  I did some research and found the “lipstick” style Luster Series RP-08.  It even came in a color that my co-worker liked.

While it is easy to discuss this as a “girl power” product, it could just as easily supplement the male market’s power needs on the go.  If numbers aren’t your thing, skip down to Girl Power? below.

Basic Specs

The RAVPower PB-08
The RAVPower PB-08

The PB-08 ($20, Amazon) is a cylindrical, lightweight 3000 mAh battery pack to supplement your portable power needs – such as charging your cell phone or tablet (pretty much any device you can plug into USB).  It is only 4.25″ x 0.87″ x 0.87″ and weighs just under three ounces.  It outputs 1A of power to your device – which is more than enough to “keep up” with pretty much any discharging cell phone – making it a perfect “more talk time” power device.

The product comes with a microUSB cable which doubles as a charging cable as well as a “clip” that allows you to attach the device to your belt, purse or pocket.  I wouldn’t consider the clip exactly “industrial strength” so I wouldn’t put it on my belt, but it’s good to keep the product secure in a handbag or pocket.

Standard microUSB
Standard microUSB

As a bonus, this little tube has an LED flashlight with three modes; high, low and strobe (more in a minute) – which makes it a more “day to day” useful tool and not just one you pull out in an emergency charging situation.

Overall the device is very aesthetically pleasing – coming in a variety of colors to appease even the most discerning customer.  Yes, ladies – it even comes in pink.

How much juice is that?

Okay, so 3000mAh is all well and good, but what does that REALLY mean when push comes to shove and you need to charge your devices?  It seems easy enough to do the math, right?  If your phone has a 3000mAh battery (which none do at the time of writing – but for argument’s sake) – then this device should charge your phone from EMPTY to FULL before fully draining itself.

Charging indicator
Charging indicator

If you have a Samsung Galaxy S3, you should get 1.3 charges.  S4?  About 1.2 charges.  For you iOS folks, the iPhone 5 should get about 2 charges.  Tablet lovers sporting a Note 10.1 (2014 edition) will only get about a 1/3 charge while the smaller Note 8 will get about 2/3 full.  iPad Air users get the least amount of charge; the PB-08 only providing just under 1/3 of a charge.

How much longer can I use my device?

That’s the real question isn’t it?  I’ll get a little technical here, but bear with me.  Feel free to jump past this section if the numbers start to get blurry on the screen.  I almost did.

Clip on ...
Clip on …

As long as you’re willing to shut off your device – those numbers above are probably accurate. The real question is – how much longer will your device last if you have the PB-08 plugged in while you use it? Fact is – anyone that can give you a number here is lying through their teeth – because everyone’s usage and battery consumption needs vary.

The closest I’ve come to coming up with a reasonable algorithm is: (device hours) + (device hours * (number of charges / 3)). So let’s say your iPh0ne 5 lasts 10 hours normally – the PB-08 should provide a 2 full charges – divide that by 3 – or .66: 10 hours + (10 * .66) = 16.6 hours. If you have a fully charged iPh0ne 5 that normally runs 10 hours, plugged in the PB-08 the whole time, you should get 16.6 hours of continuous use.

You get the idea. Your mileage will definitely vary – but at least you have some concept as to how much longer your device will last.

What does 1A output mean?

Compared to PB-13
Compared to PB-13

What about amps out? MOST phone chargers use 1A out – most tablets between 2A and 3A out. The charger you use in your car … the USB port on your PC – likely to be considerably less than 1A and hence it “trickle charges” your device – certainly not being able to keep up with battery discharge during regular use.

Having a full 1A plug will power most cell phones while in use – keeping the battery level. That same 1A plug probably wouldn’t keep up with your tablet’s discharge during use- which is why tablets ship with 2A or 3A chargers.  Again, this is all depending on so many factors, it is impossible to say how your experiences will turn out until you try it.  Suffice to say – even if the battery continues to drain while the PB-08 is plugged in – it will drain SLOWER.

To sum up, if you’re using the PB-08 for a cell phone, you’re going to be fine.  If you’re looking for a tablet solution, you might want something beefier with 2A output like the RavPower PB-13 power bank.

What about the flashlight?

Amazingly bright ...
Amazingly bright …

A lot of people give me a weird look when I mention that my portable battery charger has a built in flashlight.  As odd as it initially sounds, it actually makes more sense than it seems.

After all, the whole point of emergency power is to actually have it with you all (or most) of the time when you’re away from other power (home, work, car).  This would likely mean you’re in a place or situation where a flashlight might just come in handy; like standing outside your car door fumbling with keys or in your house and the power goes out.

The flashlight has three modes – cycled through by pushing the button on the back.  The first mode is HIGH, then LOW and finally STROBE.

The HIGH mode is very bright indeed; amazingly so for such a small unit.  I have small, dedicated LED flashlights at home that aren’t as bright.

The LOW mode is about half as bright – would be good for sustained usage as the included documentation says the light will run a whopping 120 hours if your battery is full.

Finally, a STROBE mode – which does exactly what it says; rapidly flicking the light on and off.  I’m not epileptic but the powerful light and strobe rhythm almost made me nauseous.  I’m assuming you would use this for emergencies such as a car break down (throw this device flickering on the top of your car) to warn other motorists that you’re there.

The flashlight can also be used while it is charging your device; so if you’re stranded roadside and want to use the strobe light – it will still keep your phone charging until help arrives.

Girl Power?

No sexism intended, but I know my wife wouldn’t care about all these numbers.  There are different questions she would ask.  Let me answer them.

It is sleek, attractive, lightweight, has a bright flashlight built in, won’t catch on anything in your purse (without the clip on), comes in a variety of colors, makes your phone battery last considerably longer and is definitely worth the $20 just to have backup power on the go.

As my wife would say; “That’s all I needed to know”.

Final Words

Having a device like this is almost a necessity with today’s high drain devices.  The trick is finding the right trade off in size, capacity and form factor that suits your lifestyle.

As with the rest of the RAVPower line, this is a well-built product that will bail you out when you need supplemental power.  It is important to recognize that these batteries do not last forever and the more you use them, the faster they wear out.  Based on my experience with similar products, you can expect to get a good year or more with regular use.  For effectively five cents a day (I had to use a calculator) – the PB-08 will serve you well.

About Shane Monroe

Shane R. Monroe has been doing technical and social commentary writing for over 20 years. Google+

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