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Review, Teardown: Xiaomi (Mi) NDY-02-AL 16000mAh Power Bank

Xiaomi, or Mi for short, is a Chinese mobile phone manufacturer that have been known for delivering affordable, high quality products, with an aim to become the next “household brand”. Their product lines have diversified away from only phones and tablets to now include accessories and household appliances. To date, I have tested a few of their products, including power banks, a fitness tracker and a Bluetooth speaker and so far, they have produced very commendable results.

Many readers, looking for larger power banks, have suggested that I try the Xiaomi NDY-02-AL 16000mAh power bank. Unfortunately, as a hobbyist running a personal website, I really had no need for power banks above a certain number of units and nobody was willing to donate a unit for testing. Luckily for you all, Gearbest have stepped up to the plate, and were willing to provide me the Xiaomi NDY-02-AL 16000mAh unit for testing and review.

This review has been a long time in the making, requiring over one and a half months of testing time, and producing over 120Mb of data which needed to be processed to create the performance test results. Will it carry on the Xiaomi heritage of being a quality product offering excellent value for money? I finally have an answer. Read on.

Unboxing

The unit arrived in a matte finish thin cardboard box, with a grey print Mi-logo on the front and website on the rear. Stocking labels seem to have been placed on the front, indicating relatively fresh stock dated 3rd April 2015.

On one side of the box, there is a basic list of specifications for the product.The unit claims to have 16000mAh capacity at a nominal voltage of 3.75V for LG cells, or 3.6V for other cells. It accepts a 5V 2A charging input, and can put out two outputs at 5.1V at up to 2.1A with a maximum combined output of 3.6A.

On the other side, there are barcodes and the Mi authenticity verification label. The scratch-off panel on the authenticity verification label was removed and the resulting numbers were entered into the authenticity checker which proved that the unit was authentic.

Inside, the unit sits on a moulded cardboard tray, along with a short flat cable, and a Chinese only instruction manual. The front of the power bank is emblazoned with the Mi logo. The power bank weighed 346 grams on my cheap set of scales.

The rear of the power bank is emblazoned with the website Mi.com. For protection, the ports of the power bank are taped over.

The power bank ports are beige, and the Mi logo can be seen in the plastic moulding on the top port. The two USB ports are configured to be in an opposing direction.

The other end of the power bank has all of the specs and details.

The supplied flat cable has a black tongue on the USB A port side, with no moulding marks or logos on the USB A port side. The micro B port side has a black tongue as well, with a lightning bolt logo on the moulding on one side.

Teardown

The assembly of this Xiaomi power bank is very similar to the 10,400mAh models previously reviewed. Removing the self-adhered plastic surrounds on the front panel allows access to screws which secure the body of the unit to the aluminium outer shell.

We can see the use of white diffusing tape over the LED holes, as with previous Xiaomi power banks. Removing the four Philips screws allows you to pry out the center unit using a flat-head screwdriver in the little plastic gap in the top left.

The unit consists of five LGABE11865 3200mAh cells. The construction is of high quality, with liberal use of kapton tape for insulation, quality tabbing between cells with clean spot welds, and foam tape to ensure a snug fit. Carrying on from the previous power bank, this unit maintains its thermistor monitoring of the pack temperature as well, for safety.

The main PCB is marked PB160_MB_44 dated 28th September 2014. The PCB uses a BQ24195 2.5A/4.5A single cell charger with 5.1V 1.3A/2.1A synchronous boost operation by Texas Instruments on the top side, with large MLCC capacitors sited close to the inductor for good ripple performance. It also appears that an 8A fuse is present on the top end, fusing a pair of parallel cells at the negative.

The PCB and connectors are supported by a plastic frame, which can be unclipped to reveal the underside of the PCB.

The underside seems to reveal a stack of paralleled MOSFET switches to disconnect the cells, likely to ensure sufficient capacity under high current loading and less waste heat. A second inductor and un-identified surface mount power converter is seen on the underside, which results in this unit having a unique design where the two USB ports are being provided by two separate independent converters. The whole unit is controlled by an ABOV semiconductor MC97F1204S microcontroller.

What appears to be an 8A fuse is also seen on the underside of the PCB which connects to the negative of three parallel cells. This is then bussed together with the fuse controlling two parallel cells on the other side of the PCB.

This is another unique arrangement that I haven’t seen before, and it overcomes a normal restriction by manufacturers on paralleling Li-Ion cells. Normally, most manufacturers will not warrant or recommend the connection of more than three 18650 cells together, as a cell failure will lead to significant energy dissipation with the two other cells dumping into the failed cell. Xiaomi’s answer to this is to segment the system into two strings – one having two cells in parallel, the other having three, each protected by their own fuse. In case of a cell failure, a fuse from the non-failing string will blow limiting the fault current to just the ones in parallel (at most, two other cells), thus maintaining the safety recommendations by the manufacturer. A Smart solution indeed – especially in a market where some batteries unashamedly try to parallel eight cells together with no safeguards at all!

It is nice to see that the tradition of using potted inductors continues, although a shielded unit might offer even better efficiency. This reduces potential for acoustic problems.

In all, the construction resembles a high quality laptop battery pack with notable attention to safety and performance aspects.

Performance Testing

Performance testing was performed using the same configuration that has been used for most of the power bank tests, based on the “new” test rig. As this unit has a particular design, the testing was performed twice – with results for Rail A (USB port on the Mi-logo side) reported separately to the results for Rail B (USB port on the website-printing side) as they are based around two separate switching converters internally. This resulted in 30 cycles being put onto the power bank, and over a month and a half of continuous testing.

Due to the large number of data points, plotting was performed using Matlab instead of Excel, as it kept choking on the data which had over 112,000 points for a single test run at 500mA.

Charging the power bank from a 2A power adapter took approximately 14 hours, but sometimes longer if the power bank did not detect or use the full capacity of the charger. High quality cables and a high speed charger are recommended to avoid lengthy recharge times.

The Xiaomi power bank uses cells with a nominal voltage of 3.75v. Readers should remember that the number of mAh that a power bank has is not a measure of energy without knowing the voltage – i.e. 1000mAh at 3.75v is MORE than 1000mAh at 3.6v. Because of this discrepancy, this creates a reporting difficulty as all the previous tests were reported using a nominal voltage of 3.7v. As a result, the tabulated capacities are calculated on a 3.7v nominal voltage basis so as to be comparable with previous testing, with the 3.75v converted figures used to calculate efficiency and provided in text.

Capacity Results – Rail A

Load (mA) Run Capacity (mAh)
500 1 14985.00754
500 2 15024.70384
500 3 15049.38664
500 4 15016.23597
500 5 15048.71639
Mean 15024.81008
Range 64.37909971
StDev 26.61431793
Load (mA) Run Capacity (mAh)
1000 1 14937.72118
1000 2 14925.51122
1000 3 14935.82193
1000 4 14910.87274
1000 5 14908.48101
Mean 14923.68162
Range 29.24017513
StDev 13.62873608
Load (mA) Run Capacity (mAh)
2000 1 14172.33356
2000 2 14174.50544
2000 3 14181.66646
2000 4 14150.04491
2000 5 14194.86333
Mean 14174.68274
Range 44.81842551
StDev 16.34473579

The performance of Rail A’s converter is excellent, with an average of 14,824mAh at ~500mA, 14,725mAh at ~1A and 13,986mAh at ~2A loadings (all adjusted for 3.75v nominal voltage). This results in a calculated efficiency of 92.7%, 92.0% and 87.4% respectively. The discharge termination worked well, and produced very consistent figures with all ranges below 65mAh.

The underside of the unit claims the usable output to be 10,800mAh at 5.1V at a 1A loading as a typical figure with efficiency above 90%. Through my calculations, it was determined that the Rail A performance came out to 10,827mAh at 5.1V at 1A, and the efficiency assuming 16000mAh of cells of 92%, easily exceeding these claims. They also claim a 93% maximum efficiency, and the measured result of 92.7% is close enough especially considering the error contribution of the test rig.

Capacity Results – Rail B

Load (mA) Run Capacity (mAh)
500 1 15035.92678
500 2 15042.44103
500 3 14966.34885
500 4 14925.32297
500 5 14995.61476
Mean 14993.13088
Range 117.1180628
StDev 48.94981954
Load (mA) Run Capacity (mAh)
1000 1 14786.92867
1000 2 14705.82713
1000 3 14729.73557
1000 4 14745.66332
1000 5 14770.70907
Mean 14747.77275
Range 81.10154121
StDev 32.20436935
Load (mA) Run Capacity (mAh)
2000 1 13929.78144
2000 2 13817.70572
2000 3 13914.23675
2000 4 13835.42145
2000 5 13960.96812
Mean 13891.6227
Range 143.2623974
StDev 62.04549047

The performance of Rail B’s converter appears to be measurably slightly less efficient than Rail A, although not significantly so. The capacity is 14,793mAh at ~500mA, 14,551mAh at ~1A and 13706mAh at ~2A, all adjusted for 3.75v nominal voltage. This results in a calculated efficiency of 92.5%, 90.9% and 85.7% respectively, which is lower than that of Rail A. Discharge termination seems slightly less consistent with loading on Rail B, with the range of measured capacity up to 144mAh.

The underside of the unit claims the usable output to be 10,800mAh at 5.1V at a 1A loading as a typical figure with efficiency above 90%. Through my calculations, it was determined that the Rail B performance came out to 10,699mAh at 5.1V at 1A, and the efficiency assuming 16000mAh of cells of 91%, which falls slightly below the claim on usable capacity but well within the margin of error. As a result, Xiaomi should be praised for providing a figure of actual usable energy and actually meeting their claims.

most, powerful, portable, charger, ravpower, 16000mah

Voltage Results – Rail A

It is important to remember that these voltages were measured inclusive of voltage drop in a short segment (20cm) of USB 3.0 lead and the connectors, which means that some of the voltage drop under loading is due to resistive losses in the rig.

On the whole, the output voltages showed some signs of regulation “fuzziness”, but the voltages were very well regulated on the whole. Even under the ~2A loading, the voltage did not fall below 4.85v, which is ample margin from the 4.75v USB minimum voltage requirement.

Voltage Results – Rail B

Rail B showed slightly lower voltages compared to Rail A, with more stringent regulation resulting in mostly nice straight lines with one exception at the 2A loading where it was somewhat more “frantic”. It is important to keep the scale in mind, as the jagged variances being recorded here wouldn’t really even show on a cheap 3.5 digit multimeter.

On the whole, while the voltages are slightly lower, they still don’t violate the 4.75v USB minimum voltage requirement, and are perfectly adequate.

Ripple Results – Rail A

At 500mA, the ripple was 53.48mV peak to peak, which is just above the ATX 50mV “standard”, but still quite significantly below the 150mV value that most stock chargers put out. The rate of oscillation was 343kHz.

At 1A, the ripple measured an average of 22mV peak to peak, which is a record low for my testing. Not believing my eyes, I zoomed in …

… and close up at a small time base, the average was 18.34mV peak to peak with a frequency of 475khz. An exemplary result.

At 2A loading, the ripple averaged 55.57mV peak-to-peak, again slightly more than the ATX 50mV standard but much less than the 150mV from standard OEM phone chargers. The frequency of oscillation is 946.5khz. This is a excellent result overall on Rail A.

Ripple Results – Rail B

The ripple characteristics of Rail B are completely different from Rail A. For the most part, there is negligible to no ripple on the output, except for bursts of noise which occur periodically. At 500mA load, these bursts came at a 25.2Hz repetition frequency and resulted in an average peak to peak reading of 92.15mV, mainly due to the bursts. The ripple voltage would be better than Rail A if the bursts were not present, but even with the bursts, the maximum ripple is below 150mV that stock chargers can put out and is safe for usage.

The characteristics continue with 1A loading, with 91.72mV peak to peak average ripple, and 25.2Hz repetition rate.

At 2A loading, the ripple averages 91.15mV with 25.2Hz repetition rate. As a result, Rail B has a higher average ripple due to the spikes, with mostly quite low-ripple voltage in-between bursts. The ripple characteristics are largely independent of loading.

Conclusion

Xiaomi have delivered once again, by producing a product that performs well, looks good and is available at a very competitive price. The unit shares similarities with the previous Xiaomi power banks by employing LG cells and TI power converters.

Quality components have been used throughout, and the performance very closely meets the stated figures. Ripple figures are quite commendable as well. The capacity of the power bank is very adequate for even power-users, and its design seems to be intelligent with a safety FOCUS as well, which makes this unit hard to fault.

Interestingly, the two-rail design means that the performance of the two ports are slightly different, with different ripple signatures and slightly different efficiencies. On the whole, the differences are small and won’t worry most users, but it also means that it’s a bad idea to connect the output of the two ports together using a Y-cable.

Of course, it is important to note that such large capacity power banks can really stretch your patience, as the large capacity requires a long time to recharge (approximately 14 hours, subject to the capacity of your charger and the quality of your connection cable).

Those looking to purchase Xiaomi products should be aware of fake counterfeit products which don’t achieve the same quality or performance despite commanding similar prices. Look for the authenticity check scratch-off sticker and check the code to make sure you’re receiving a genuine product.

Gearbest are definitely worth considering, as they’re currently selling this unit on special, for AU34.13 which I can vouch as being genuine based on the item I have received.

Most Powerful Portable Charger: RAVPower 16000mAh External Battery Pack Power Bank with iSmart Technology – REVIEW

The huge capacity 16000mAh External Battery has 2 iSmart ports(Max 2.1A 2.4A) which means you can charge two devices not only simultaneously, but rapidly.(Package Include:- 1 RAVPower Power Bank (model: RP-PB19),- 2 USB to Micro-USB cables,- 1 Travel Pouch,- 1 User Guide)

Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.9 x 3.2 inches ; 11.4 ounces

Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces

Item model number: RP-PB19(B)

Batteries 1 Lithium ion batteries required.

Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here

Date first available at Amazon.com: August 14, 2014

Most Powerful Portable Charger. External Battery Pack Power Bank

©amazon.com

If you have any more informations about this product you can contact us.

Author: Rating Hardware Team

I’m technology journalist, blogger with passion for new technologies and hardware reviews. I enjoy my job as a writer and reviewer for various tech outlets. I’ve been writing about tech since 2008, and my reviews, analysis, buying advices, how-to’s, and other fun posts can be found across the web.

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Review: AmazonBasics 16,100mAh Portable Power Bank

As far as we know, this specific AmazonBasics Power Bank is now out of stock. Please take a look at the alternatives that we have linked to below.

If you’ve read our review on another Amazon Basics product such as the Amazon Basics 2-Port Car charger. then you know that it was a pretty big disappointment because it failed to meet modern standards and safety conditions.

We’re here to review the Amazon Basics 16,100mAh power bank. Amazon Basic products are supposed to deliver the basics, and since power banks are such a popular piece of charging electronic equipment, Amazon must get its portable charger correct in nearly all facets.

Let’s find out just how this Amazon power bank meets the basics and if it possibly goes beyond.

Alternative Power Banks:

Power Capacity:

This Amazon Basics power bank has a capacity of 16,100mAh and even with its energy loss during charging it holds up surprisingly well.

The charging capacity of this power bank is surprisingly good with a great conversion rate and as a result, it only loses about 1,500mAh, and since there are two charging ports we can assume that the other charging port will have the same energy loss during charging.

Overall, you’re going to lose approximately 1,500mAh if you’re only using the power bank to charge a single device.

However, if you’re using two of the charging ports then the charger’s capacity will be cut down by 3,000mAh.

Even so, it’s better than most high capacity power banks, and with the remaining output power capacity (The capacity that you use) of 14,600mAh or 13,100mAh; this portable charger is highly capable of charging smartphones and tablets a few times.

For smartphones, you can expect 4 charges and perhaps even more. Tablets can take 2.5 charges.

AmazonBasics Portable Power Bank. 16,100mAh (Real Capacity 14,600mAh)Phone CapacityAmazonBasics Portable Power Bank Left Over Power Capacity after One Charge

Output Charging:

Yeah, that’s all we can say about it. The power bank has two charging outputs and both of them are capable of charging at 5V/2.4A.

Well, it’s not as good as you’d think because only one charging port can charge at 5V/2.4A charging speed at any one time, while the other charging port is only capable of charging at 5V/1.0 charging speed.

Therefore the maximum output of this power bank is only 3.4 Amps only. We thought this power bank would be able to impress us with its speed but unfortunately, we were wrong. It’s great that either port can offer 2.4 Amps but there will always be a port that is meant to charge slowly.

So you’re going to play favorites on which device you want to charge fast and which to charge slower.

Many smartphones out today are capable of charging over 1 Amp speeds and by putting a tablet on the 2.4 Amp port, you’re limiting the smartphone to only 1 Amp speed.

We’d like to think that Amazon knew what they were doing while making this power bank, however, they didn’t know that both of the charging output ports are supposed to provide max charging speed to provide the best charging experience.

Input Charging:

The power bank uses a Micro-USB Input and can recharge at 5V/2.0A charging speed. We recommend using a USB wall charger that has an output speed of 5V/2.0A or higher.

This way, the power bank will charge at the 2 Amp charging speed and it’ll take about 7-8 hours to a full recharge it.

If you were to use a wall charger with an output of 5V/1.0A, then it’ll take an entire day to recharge. Overall, the recharge rate of this power bank is more up to you, than the actual charger. Take a look at Anker’s PowerPort 2 wall charger to recharge this power bank at its max speed.

Size and Weight:

For the capacity and what it has to offer, the Amazon Basics power bank does a good job with its size and overall dimensions.

A length of 5.9 inches, a width of 3.2 inches, and a thickness of 0.8 inches; the charger does a good job of being as compact as possible.

Although we haven’t started comparing products quite yet at Charger Harbor, we should disclose that there are equally as large capacity power banks that offer faster charge but are smaller than this power bank. Take for this example this Aukey 16,000mAh power bank.

Functional Components:

The functional portions of the charger are in the same general location.

The two charging outputs are on the side strip of the power bank and above them are two lightning symbols to indicate that they’re both able to charge at 2.4A, but alas only one of this is capable of charging at 2.4 Amps.

Then there’s the Micro-USB cable between the two charging outputs.

At the top of the power bank is where you’ll find the power button and LED power capacity indicators. There’s 4 LED light to show the capacity of the power bank in increments of 25%; Once the power bank is at 10% the last light begins flashing to let you know that all the power is nearly depleted.

The power button can be used to turn on the power and to check the capacity of the power bank.

We were a little disappointed that the Amazon Basics portable charger didn’t begin to charge automatically when a device was plugged in. After all, it’s beginning to become a standard feature with many power banks.

Structure and Material:

The casing of the power Amazon Basics power bank is made of plastic and two pieces of the power bank hold it together.

Structurally the power bank holds strong and there aren’t pieces that will come loose.

The power button is simply a beveled piece of the power bank and so the power button is the case. So it’s quite difficult to damage the power button.

Tech:

With that said, Amazon has only mentioned one feature concerning safety tech charging and that’s the power bank’s ability to have Overload protection.

This means that the power bank will not charge a smartphone beyond its Amp current. This kind of feature is good to have but Amazon really shouldn’t have to mention it, because smartphones, tablets, and any device that requires recharging is already built-in with a protocol and knows how much Amp Current to accept.

Speaking of heat, the power bank itself does heat up and it can become so overheated that the outer plastic on the power bank begins to peel off.

Although many power banks are known to heat up, and the peeling outer layer of the plastic casing is more on the design aspect of the power bank.

If there wasn’t a thin outer layer then there’d be nothing for the heat to peel off. Even so, it’s quite unnecessary and Amazon should consider removing the thin layer or fix the heat issue with the power bank.

Since heat can damage batteries, they should consider fixing the heat problem.

Reliability

Amazon Basic products are meant to be reliable and that’s what you’re able to get at the bottom line with this power bank. However, we said that you’re able to get this power bank at the bottom line.

There’s so much potential that power banks can deliver and this power bank is not capable of delivering all those capabilities that a power bank should.

Both of the ports should be able to deliver max charging, and capacities shouldn’t fall so low from their original capacity.

With all that said, the Amazon Basics power bank is still able to deliver in most areas by providing a power bank charging experience that can charge a device at a fast speed and a not so fast speed. Along with a capacity that can potentially last for days.

This power bank can be ideal for long road trips. It’s not meant for hand-holding purposes and many power banks within its class are meant to be held in the hand.

Instead, this power bank is most reliable when you use it at a location; You’re still free from a wall charger and have your devices close to you while they’re charging and highly accessible.

Summary

Power:

The power capacity does fall short and loses its potential of charging smartphones and tablets, even more, times;

Even so, the power bank still holds the ability to charge smartphones a lot of time and tablets a few times as well.

The output charging speed is a disappointment with only a single port being able to charge 5V/2.4A charging speed at any one time, while the other does 5V/1.0A.

The recharge rate is good at 5V/2.0A but you should use a wall charger with a 5V/2.0A charging output for its ports or higher to make sure the power bank recharges as fast as possible.

Design:

most, powerful, portable, charger, ravpower, 16000mah

The design of the wall charger is quite good but it’s important to know that there are higher-capacity power banks that are a similar size or smaller. The power bank does well with its size and shape; The functional aspects are generally in one area for easy access. Due to its size and weight, this power bank is best used when in a single location.

Build:

The build of this power bank is structurally sound even by being plastic.

However, the heat that’s generated by the power bank peels off the outer plastic layer casing on the power bank, not only that; the heat will also significantly damage the power bank’s battery in the long-run.

The only safety tech feature with this power bank is that it makes sure to not spend too much Amp current to the device that it’s charging.

Reliability:

This is a highly ordinary power bank to rely on. It does nothing special and maybe that’s what you could use it for. It has an “Okay” all around this going on and is prepared for most charging situations.

Specs of the AmazonBasics 16,100mAh Portable Power Bank:

Output 1- 5V/2.4A

Output 2- 5V/1.0A

Max Output: 3.4A

  • Input: 2.0A via Micro USB Input
  • LED Power Indicators: Four-LED status system
  • Size: 5.9 x 3.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Weight: 12.2 Ounces
  • Comes with a Micro-USB Cable

Conclusions:

Amazon Basics has somewhat delivered this time around.

The power bank does well with its power capacity, but not so much with the charging speed by only giving a single charging port the ability to charge at 2.4 Amps.

Its got all the right dimensions, size, and weight but it can do better; That’s the tone of this power bank, though. It can “Do Better”.

It doesn’t have to lose so much power, it doesn’t have to heat up so much, it doesn’t have to just have a single port doing 2.4A charging speed. However, this Amazon Basics power bank does do one thing…”It Does”.

Xiaomi 16,000mAh Mi Power Bank review: Get it if you need to charge 2 devices fast

Note: This article was first published on Dec 15, 2014.

16,000mAh or 10,400mAh, that’s the next question

Available in China since November, the 16,000mAh Xiaomi Mi Power Bank has also reached Malaysia and Singapore shores. specifically, in Singapore, sales will commence on the Mi Singapore online store tomorrow, December 16, at 12pm and 8pm. The price? S29.99.

In more ways than one, I’m beginning to sound like a broken record talking about Xiaomi’s power banks, especially after the 10,400mAh and 5,200mAh versions’ reviews and teardowns. From a design standpoint, the 16,000mAh Mi Power Bank bears a lot of similarities as its smaller siblings, including an anodized metal casing that’s CNC-machined from a single piece of aluminum; curved sides for ease of handling; an indented power button that minimizes accidental presses; and indicator lights, unmarked input and output ports all grouped on the same white plastic plane for a clean and refined look. Indeed, if not for the Mi logo, one would have thought that the Mi Power Banks are made by Apple.

To say Xiaomi didn’t improve the design isn’t exactly right either. Upon closer inspection, you’ll notice that the power bank sports slightly rounded edges at the top and bottom, which means they now aren’t as sharp at the edges like the two other power banks.

With a larger 16,000mAh battery (sourced from reputable brands like LG and Panasonic), this is also Xiaomi’s biggest power bank to date. At a height of 145mm, it’s 60% taller than its 10,400mAh sibling; but with a 60.4mm width and 22m depth, it also has a noticeably slimmer waist (vs. 77 x 21.6mm on the 10,400mAh). At 350g, it’s also quite a bit heavier than the 10,400mAh, which tips the scale at 250g.

Finally, dual USB outputs

High capacity aside, the 16,000mAh Mi Power Bank also comes with two USB charging outputs, thus answering the main complaint I’ve for the 10,400mAh version. Both ports support a 2.1A output current, but the combined rate is pegged at 3.6A (over 5.1V). What this means is that if you were to connect only one device to the power bank, either port is capable of 2.1A charging. However, when both ports are used, you don’t get a total output of 4.2A; instead, it’s limited to 3.6A.

Did the ports work as claimed? Yes; in my tests, when used independently, each port was well capable of 2.1A output current. In fact, they went above 2.1A (voltage will regulate accordingly) in many occasions. When both ports were used, I typically got a combined rate of around 3.7 to 3.8A. Even with a 4A load, it still worked, but I didn’t proceed any further in fear of stressing the ports too much. In essence, everything checked out fine.

Therefore, don’t be mistaken: I’m not knocking the 16,000mAh Mi Power Bank for not supporting a combined 4.2A output. As much as I’d love it to do so, I’m also mindful that it’s technically very, very difficult to do (long story short: heat). And remember, there are many more expensive dual-USB power banks out there which have hardwired 2.1A and 1A ports, and which can’t even promise a combined 3.1A rate. So a 3.6A/5.1V dual output spec is really very good, especially at S29.99.

A word on capacity

I’ve also noticed that Xiaomi has (for the first time?) listed a typical output capacity (over 5V/1A) for this power bank: 10,800mAh. This number is important because it’s a better representation of how many times the power bank is able to charge a device.

To digress a bit, know that the 16,000mAh is the capacity at 3.75V; hence, the power bank has a total energy of 60,000mWh (milliwatt-hour) or 60Wh (watt-hour). But then, the output is done over 5.1V. At this voltage, the capacity is actually about 11,765mAh. And after factoring in the 90 to 93% conversion efficiency that Xiaomi claims (this refers more to the internal circuit board), we get a range (10,588 to 10,941mAh) that’s close to this 10,800mAh number. Note too that this is possible under a 1A current. Both the total output capacity and circuit conversion efficiency will be lower during 2.1A fast charging, due to more energy lost.

The above is why Xiaomi says the power bank is able to charge the 3,100mAh Redmi Note 4G smartphone 3.5 times (3,100mAh x 3.5 = 10,850mAh), instead of 5 times, because it’s simply not a case of 16,000mAh divided by 3,100mAh. Not using the Redmi Note? Other numbers include the ability to fully recharge the iPhone 6 about 5 times, and the iPad Mini 2.5 times. Of course, these are under ideal circumstances. Your mileage is likely going to vary once you factor in other variables like your mobile device’s internal circuitry and the battery’s health.

And lest I forget, the 16,000mAh Mi Power Bank retains the 2A micro-USB input for recharging its own cells. Like the other power banks in the series, an AC adapter isn’t part of the package, so you’ve to source your own. With a 2A/5V adapter, topping the power bank’s charge would take about 9 hours; with a 1A/5V adapter, it’s 14.5 hours. For what it’s worth, I found that it was easier to hit the 2A with a Samsung 2A/5V charger than with an Apple 10W (2.1A/5.1V) or 12W (2.4A/5.2V) iPad charger. And no, it won’t charge any faster with a Quick Charge 2.0 charger like the Motorola Turbo Charger and HTC Rapid Charger 2.0, or a Samsung Adaptive Fast Charger.

“World-class chipset protection”

The 16,000mAh Mi Power Bank also boasts of “nine layers of circuit protection”. In a nutshell, it supports protection from over-voltage (input and output), over-current (input and output), short circuit, over-charge/discharge, and temperature spikes. In addition, it has a reset function and is able to stop charging when it detects that the charger is inserted incorrectly. To be honest, such safety mechanisms are common in power banks, but the reason why Xiaomi is highlighting it on the product page is because it uses control and charging chips from U.S.-based Texas Instruments, which is a major global semiconductor design and manufacturing company, instead of from an unknown OEM. And don’t forget, the quality of the charging/discharging IC plays an important role when it comes to the conversion efficiency I’ve talked about above.

So, is Xiaomi telling the truth with regards to the components used? Looking at the previous 10,400mAh and 5,200mAh Mi Power Bank teardowns, it should be. But I just couldn’t resist taking apart the 16,000mAh version to get a confirmation.

Teardown findings (a.k.a. skip to the bottom if you don’t like reading geeky stuff)

The unit that I’ve tested does indeed use LG battery cells; more specifically, five LGABE11865 cells, with each having a capacity of 3,200mAh (minimum 3,100mAh) at 3.75V.

The choice of charge and power path management IC continues to be the Texas Instruments BQ24195 in a 24-pin, 4 x 4mm-thin QFN package, the same one seen on the 10,400mAh model.

The other TI chip onboard is the TPS2513, a USB dedicated charging port (DCP) controller. In short, its job is to monitor the USB ports’ data line voltage, in order to identify the charging signals and provide the correct charge. This is the reason why the power bank is able to adjust its output level and work with a variety of smartphones and tablets. By the way, this controller is essentially the same as the TPS2514 seen on Xiaomi’s other power banks, just that this one supports dual USB ports.

The ZM (ABOV) 97F1204SMBN microcontroller makes a return too; it’s also present in the 10,400mAh and 5,200mAh Mi Power Banks.

What I didn’t expect to find however is this part labeled ‘VL4TB’, which according to this excellent teardown from a Chinese battery and charging equipment specialist site, is a Silergy SY7065A. Like the TI BQ24195, it features a highly efficient synchronous boost converter that supports 5.1V at 2.1A. Long story short, the 16,000mAh Mi Power Bank actually relies on the BQ24195 for one of the USB outputs, and this SY7065A for the other USB output.

All in all, it’s not a surprise that the 16,000mAh Mi Power Bank shares many similarities with its siblings, be it components used or PCBA (printed circuit board assembly) design. So then why does the 16,000mAh cost twice as much as the 10,400mAh model? I think it’s a simple case of more expensive chips and batteries. Remember, the LGABE11865 is new, and there are five in this power bank.

Conclusion: Great value nonetheless

Let’s cut to the chase. Should you get the 16,000mAh Mi Power Bank? If you’re looking for a performing power bank to charge two devices simultaneously, the answer is yes. It’s reasonably well designed, uses pretty good components, and offers fast charging (even when both ports are used) and recharging. Sure, with better components and technical design, a higher discharge efficiency than what it’s doing now is possible; but considering it costs only S29.99, I believe most users would be more than happy with its current performance.

That said, if you only carry one mobile device, then the answer becomes “it depends”. While the larger capacity means it’ll last longer than the 10,400mAh version, the added heft may be a deal-breaker for some. And even though having that extra USB port sounds attractive, one can’t help but wonder if it’s better to just buy two 10,400mAh power banks, which will give you a combined 20,800mAh capacity and two unrestricted 2.1A outputs, at a price that’s still S2 cheaper than one 16,000mAh power bank. The obvious downside to this is that you’ve to also live with the extra bulk and combined 0.5kg weight of the two 10,400mAh power banks when you’re out and about. So, convenience or more capacity/better savings? You decide.

Indeed, the biggest competitor to the 16,000mAh Mi Power Bank isn’t another brand’s two-port offering. Rather, it’s the exceptionally value-for-money 10,400mAh Mi Power Bank. Talk about sibling rivalry.

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